Australia's Migration Scheme

 Wars, Policies and Promises - the Fabric of Nation Building
In the period between the Great Depression and World War Two Australia was struggling to attract new British migrants to its shores. This was a moment of racial antagonism featuring  the 'Immigration Restriction Act' and consequential 'White Australia Policy'. In accordance with 'keeping Australia white' and after its failure to attract large numbers of Brits,  Australia sought Northern Europeans such as the Dutch to be its new potential migrants.

 Discussions on possible emigration schemes between the Australian Government and the Netherlands began in 1938 but the mass implementation of these plans was thwarted by the onset of World War Two. As the war ended Australia feared that it must populate or perish, to defend its shores and fill its struggling labor market. The government recognised that more people were necessary to sustain demographic and economic growth.

The war also had a degenerative affect on the Netherlands, consequentially causing severe economic and social dislocation. The Netherlands was characterized by a very high population density within a relatively small land area and the highest birth rate in Europe manifesting in a severe housing crisis and rising unemployment.

Excerpt from The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926-1954, Wednesday 24 January 1951, page 4. (9)

The solution was an agreement signed in 1946 between the Australian Government and the 'Netherlands Immigration Foundation' at that time a private consultative body involved in assisting and arranging group migration. Further discussion lead to the Dutch government signing the 'Netherlands Australia Migration Agreement' in 1951.

1. Image adapted from Murdoch., P. (1974) by Dennis Adams.