Post War Memoirs

Post war memoirs
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  Sunny Australia?Sunny Australia? Beginning with the arrival of Australia’s Indigenouspeoples over 40,000 years ago, successive waves of new arrivals have shaped modern Australia andbuilt a prosperous, multicultural, democraticsociety. After World War II, immigration increaseddramatically. Many people were keen to settle in Australia, and the Australian Governmentencouraged immigrants. Post-war prosperityincreased as Australia’s population grew, butimmigration also sparked tensions, fears anddebates. Many immigrants experienced hostilityand discrimination. In this unit of work you will investigate the reasons for the post-warimmigration boom, the impact of governmentpolicies and the diverse experiences of migrants inAustralian society. Links will be made with today’sglobal refugee crisis and its impact on Australia. Resources Books Healey, Justin (ed) 2002, Australia’s Immigration Debate  , Spinney Press, Rozelle.Lewis, Robert & Gurry, Tim 2001, Australia 2030: Investigating the Facts of Immigration  ,Ryebuck Media, Malvern, Victoria.Loh, M 1980, With Courage in their Cases: The Experiences of Thirty-five Italian Immigrant Workers and Their Families in Australia  ,FILEF, Melbourne.Loh, M & Lowenstein, W 1997, The Immigrants  ,Penguin, Sydney.Trist, Stuart 1998, Refugees  , McGraw-Hill Australia,Roseville, NSW.Victory, Michael 1995, Crossing Borders: The Refugee Experience in Australia  , CardiganStreet Publishers, Carlton. Film and video Tales from a Suitcase: Stories from the Migrant Experience 1949–1959  2000, SBS Independent–see for details. Our Century – Episode 20: Through New Eyes  1996, Film Australia. The Australian Experience – Episode 2: Populate or Perish  1995, Film Australia. Immigration – the Waves that Shaped Australia  1988, Film Australia. Green Tea and Cherry Ripe  1989, Ronin Films. Destination Australia  2001, ScreenSoundAustralia. Mike and Stefani  2002, ScreenSound Australia. 25 Sunny Australia? Kno wledge, skills and  values  By t he co nclusio n o f t his u nit you  will  be a ble to:ãe x plai n  w hat t he  O’ Kee fe Story s ho ws a bout Australia’s  past attitudes to  Asia n i m migratio nãuse  pri mary a nd seco ndary sources to ide nti fydi f fere nt  factors causi ng  post- war i m migratio nto  Australiaãuse  migra nt  narratives a nd ot her sources toide nti fy a nd e x plai n t he ra nge o f  Australia nattitudes to  Euro pea n a nd  no n- Euro pea n migratio nãco m pare t he i m migratio n  policies o f  Australiaa nd t he  U nited States.  Websites Images from the Immigration Museum Melbourneat these links: Discovery andResearch>Images on this site)Department of Immigration, Fact Sheet 4: Over Fifty Years of Post-war Migration  and Fact Sheet 8: Abolition of the ‘White Australia’ Policy  at (Follow these links:Information Resources>Fact Sheets)History Trust of South Australia at (Follow this link: Migration Museum)A valuable collection of links from the MigrationHeritage Centre of NSW at these links: Resources and Tools>Facts about Migrants and Migration)The International Organization for Migration,dedicated to the humane and orderlymovement of people around the world at site of the United Nations HighCommissioner for Refugees at International: human rights issuesaffecting refugees in Australia at Glossary assimilation policy policy that encouragesimmigrants to adopt thelanguage, values and customsof their new country ofresidence integration policy policy that encouragesimmigrants to respect thelaws of their new country ofresidence and to adjust to thedominant social and culturalpractices, but also to retainand celebrate some elementsof the culture from whichthey come Red slang term for communist.Red was the main colour onthe flags of many communistcountries, symbolising theblood shed by workers indefending themselves againsttheir oppressors. refugee person who flees from dangerand seeks safety (refuge) inanother country, or in anotherpart of their own country UNHCR office of the United NationsHigh Commissioner forRefugees –established on 14 December 1951 tosafeguard the rights and well-being of refugees USSR Union of Soviet SocialistRepublics –a federation ofcommunist states that wasformed by Russia after theRussian Revolution of 1917 26 Making History – Middle Secondary Units Investigating People and Issues in Australia after World War II  Sunny Australia? 27 John O’Keefe, Annie O’Keefe and five children This photograph shows members of the O’Keefefamily –John O’Keefe, Annie O’Keefe and fivechildren. These people were key characters in avery dramatic episode in the history of Australianimmigration.Annie was born in Indonesia. Her firsthusband, Samuel Jacob, was also Indonesian. Earlyin World War II, he helped the Australian militaryforces when they were fighting against Japaneseforces in Indonesia. In September 1942, becauseof great danger, the family was evacuated toAustralia. They moved into a house owned byJohn O’Keefe, a single Australian. Just after theJacobs’eighth child was born, Annie’s husbandwent back to Indonesia on another militarymission. He asked John O’Keefe to look afterAnnie and the children if anything should happento him. In September 1944, returning from theisland of Ambon, he was killed in a plane crash.Annie Jacob became a widow, caring for herchildren in a strange land.During World War II, many Asian peoplefleeing from the Japanese invaders found safety inAustralia. The Australian Government made it clearthat when hostilities ended, these Asian peopleshould return to their homelands. At that time,the Australian Government had a longstandingpolicy to prevent the migration of Asian people toAustralia. Thus, according to government policy,Annie and her children were destined to return toIndonesia once the Japanese forces were defeated.After Annie’s husband was killed, she becamecloser to John O’Keefe. Three years later, on 4 June 1947, they married. However, in January 1949the Australian Government insisted that Annie andher children had to leave the country and returnto Indonesia. The war had ended in 1945, theJapanese had been defeated and the AustralianGovernment claimed that there was no longer any reason for Annie to stay in Australia. Some Australians disagreed with the decisionof the Australian Government. They includedsome powerful people, particularly ArchbishopMannix, leader of the Catholic Church inMelbourne. There was much publicity about thecase. Citizens in the Melbourne suburb where theO’Keefe family lived began raising money for alegal challenge to the government decision.Lawyers for the O’Keefe family issued a writagainst the Immigration Minister, Arthur Calwell,and one of his departmental officers. On 18 March1949, four of the six High Court judges ruled thatAnnie O’Keefe and her children could stay inAustralia. When the news was broadcast on theradio, a nun (Sister Paula) announced it to allclasses at St Joseph’s School, which six of theeight O’Keefe children attended. According to areport in the Herald  newspaper the next day,students ‘clapped and cheered’. At home, Annieand her daughter Tineke heard the news andAnnie celebrated by dancing a jig.Outside the court, John O’Keefe said that hewould have left Australia with Annie and thechildren if they had lost the court case. He added:‘But now we can remain to complete the task ofeducating all the children. I am sure that there will be no cause for regret that Australia hasobtained in my Indonesian-born wife and herchildren some very good citizens’( Herald  ,Melbourne, 18 March 1949, p 1). The Annie O’Keefe story A ustralianstory   ©  T  h e  F a  i r  f a x  P  h o  t o  L  i  b r a r y  28 Making History – Middle Secondary Units Investigating People and Issues in Australia after World War II The Australian Government –a Labor Partygovernment led by Prime Minister Ben Chifley –was very disappointed by the court decision. TheMinister for Immigration, Arthur Calwell, announcedthat he would introduce new legislation into thefederal parliament. If passed, the legislation wouldallow the Department of Immigration to sendAnnie and her children back to Indonesia. But Annie and the children were spared thataction. In 1949, the Labor government lost thefederal election, and the new Liberal governmentled by Prime Minister Robert Menzies decided thatAnnie and her children could stay in Australia. Thenew Minister for Immigration, Harold Holt, saidthat wartime refugees such as Annie O’Keefemerited ‘special consideration’( TheArgus  , 11January 1950). When Holt made that statement,John and Annie O’Keefe were expecting the birthof their child within two months. 1Look again at the photo of the O’Keefe family. Imagine that it is to be published in an Australian newspaper in the late1940s. Write two captions for the photo – one that could have appeared if the photo were published before the HighCourt decision, and one that could have appeared if the photo were published after the High Court decision.2Create some thought bubbles for three of the people in the photo – Annie, John and one of the children. In eachbubble, write what each of them might have been thinking about Australia as the photo was taken. You can choosewhether to date the photo before or after the High Court decision. Examining a visual source 1Why were Annie and the rest of her family sent to Australia?2What was Australian government policy towards Asian people who had sought protectionin Australia during World War II?3Why do you think some Australians supported the right of Annie and her children tostay in Australia after the War?4Why do you think the Labor government was so keen to make sure that Annie and herchildren did not stay in Australia? Comprehending and interpreting text
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