Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Humanities and Social Inquiry


This thesis examines the political activism of Croatians in Australia between 1947 and 1989. It is clear that the history of opprobrium that this political activism has attracted – sometimes seen as extremist and violent – is unfounded. To understand this activism, this thesis argues that there are three aspects which mediate the relationship between Australia and its migrant ‘Other’ and thus determine Australian responses to Croatian political activism.

First, push and pull factors act as catalysts for migration, and determine the composition and characteristics of the community that develops in Australia. Without understanding these push and pull factors, the migrant ‘Other’ in Australia cannot be contextualised, explained, nor understood.

Second, the concept of the Good Australian Migrant - a highly constructed identity, imbued with a set of expectations and provisions, determine how the migrant ‘Other’ is perceived, understood, and ultimately judged. It embodies what I call the ‘expectations of oughts’ – of what Australia ought to be, of how Australians ought to behave, and of who migrants ought to be and how they ought to behave.

Third, domestic, transnational, and international contexts arbitrate the first two aspects, establishing the paradigms within which they are created and understood. These paradigms shape the responses of legal, political, and media authorities to particular migrant groups, who occupy varying spaces and levels of the ‘Other’.

In the case of Australian responses to Croatian activism in the post-war period, there are three distinct paradigm shifts around which responses can be grouped, 1949-1971, 1972-1979, and 1980-1989. Despite the differences across periods, Australian responses can be distilled to a single but flawed belief – that Croatians were a problematic community. This ‘problem’ was attributable to their radical, and in the eyes of some Australians, irrational political agenda.

FoR codes (2008)

1606 POLITICAL SCIENCE, 2103 HISTORICAL STUDIES, 210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History), 210307 European History (excl. British, Classical Greek and Roman)



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.