Educational Resources: History - Australia


Immigration between 1900-1945 shaped Australian society to an immense degree.

A poster of the Sydney Harbour Bridge stating "Still building AUSTRALIA"Immigration has always been a vital feature of Australia’s history and identity, however during the period of 1900-1945, never was it so important in shaping Australian society. The nation today is composed not only of its own indigenous people, but also a wide variety of ethnic and cultural groups, conditions which could never have been achieved if it wasn’t for immigration during such period. Before the year of 1900, immigration to Australia was generally uncontrolled and increasing wildly, especially with the discovery of gold and exploitation of cheap labour from Asia. However, it would be the fear of such immigration and other races that would ultimately bring together the continent of Australia in Federation in 1901, leading to almost half a century of the country’s most restricted state of immigration ever, brought about by the notorious Immigration Act legislated the same year. Nonetheless, during such time immigration continued governed by the strict ethnic conditions of such Act, aiding significantly in shaping the country socially, politically and economically. Politically, immigration not only brought about the unification of a nation, even if it was under such negative circumstances, it also caused the public to become critical of the government’s actions and legislation after the racist features of the Immigration Act and “white Australia policy” became clear and unjustified. Socially, immigration brought about racism and hostility towards various ethnic groups, only to transform into a strong urge for multiculturalism and the aiding in the defining of Australia’s own identity; not to mention the creation of a multi-religion society. Immigration did wonders for Australia’s economy too, the increase in population giving it an overall boost, particularly with assisted settlement schemes bolstering the continent’s agricultural industry. Overall, the effects of all of these elements are clear in the prosperous, multicultural society we have today, and thus it is clear that immigration between 1900-1945 shaped Australian society to an immense degree. Read more...

Discovery of Gold in Western Australia

A critical analysis of its impact.

Gold rush in Western AustraliaThe discovery of Gold in the 1880’s had an enormous impact on Western Australia. A major change in the states fortunes occurred allowing Western Australia to be shifted to the forefront of Australian economics into a society that could now manage itself independently from other states or nations. A gigantic rush occurred and W.A was transformed as a result. The most significant changes in this transformation could include the economical effects of a massive population increase, the effects of the influx of new nationalities, the massive development of Perth/Fremantle, the advancements in technology, old age political ideas being challenged and disasters resulting from the over-demand of produce. All of these changes played a key role in shaping Western Australia into what we know it as today, and without the discovery of gold the state could still be in the same situation as it was towards the end of convictism – sustainable but struggling. Read more...

The introduction of Convicts in 1850 evoked great change throughout Western Australia

...allowing the once struggling colony to prosper.

An Ordinance to provide for the due custody and discipline of Offenders transported to Western Australia.The first 20 years were indeed some of the toughest for the Swan River colony, with the whole project almost on the verge of collapse. However, the future of this establishment would certainly be brighter from the introduction of convicts in 1850; encouraging great change throughout WA and allowing the once struggling colony to prosper. The face of Western Australia was transformed as a result, with the convicts evoking change socially, economically and politically. The changes which saw the greatest impact on the colonies development were almost all economical, with a large population growth increasing demand for goods and services, the injection of capital by the British Government and of course the use of these convicts for labour. However such positive changes were not seen amongst the everyday population, with a strengthened class divide and society developing into one of fear, not to mention to the further degradation of the Aboriginal population. Politics, too, saw its ups and downs, with the Catholic Church strengthening its influence and the criticized Governor Hampton taking power. But nonetheless, whether substantially positive or negative, through the use of both primary and secondary sources, it is possible to identify that all of these changes in fact allowed the colony to better in some way. Read more...


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