Australian Immigration Timeline

By msfyffe
  • Aboriginal Resistence to Colonisation

    Aboriginal Resistence to Colonisation
    Pemulway (1750-1802) is considered the first Aboriginal resistence leader.
  • Assisted Migration Begins

    Assisted Migration Begins
  • Immigrants Flee Religious Persecution

    Immigrants Flee Religious Persecution
    German Lutherans opposed to church taxes begin arriving in Australia in search of religious freedom and new economic opportunities.
  • Ant-Chinese Lambing Flats riots

    Ant-Chinese Lambing Flats riots
    The worst of a series of riots erupts on the Burrangong goldfields between Chinese and European miners over gold sites and resources. On 30 June at Lambing Flat, a mob of 3000 Europeans drives the Chinese off the goldfield. Two weeks later, miners attack a police camp in retaliation for the police’s handling of the riot, leaving one person dead and many injured.
  • The Chinese Question in Australia

    The Chinese Question in Australia
    Lowe Kong Meng, Cheok Hong Cheong and Louis Ah Mouy publish the booklet The Chinese Question in Australia in response to the Seamen's Strike against the employment of Chinese labour on ships. It begins with 'In the present grave emergency, we appeal, as natives of China and as citizens of Victoria, to the reason, the justice, the right feeling, and the calm good sense of the British population of Australia, not to sanction an outrage upon the law of nations and not to violate the treaty engageme
  • White Australia Policy Begins

    White Australia Policy Begins
    Amongst the first laws to be passed by the new federal parliament are the Pacific Islands Labourers Act 1901 to provide for deportation of Pacific Islanders by 1906, and the Immigration Restriction Act 1901. The Immigration Restriction Act introduces a dictation test (similar to tests used in North America and South Africa) to prevent all 'non-whites' from entering Australia as immigrants, and effectively formalises colonial immigration policies prior to Federation. These new laws create the leg
  • Compulsory Registration of All Aliens

    Compulsory Registration of All Aliens
    The government introduces compulsory registration of ‘aliens’ during in World War I with the War Precautions (Alien Registration) Regulations 1916, forcing ‘aliens’ to register with customs officials or the local police. The government subsequently introduces an internment policy, requiring those born in countries at war with Australia and classed as ‘enemy aliens’ to be relocated to camps. This is expanded to include people from enemy nations who are naturalised British subjects, Australian-bor
  • Populate or Perish

    Populate or Perish
    In 1945, as Australia embarks on an ambitious post-war reconstruction program, the federal government establishes the Department of Immigration and introduces a migration scheme aimed at increasing Australia’s population by 1 per cent per annum. In 1947, permanent residency is granted to non-European immigrants seeking entry for business reasons and to those who have lived in Australia continuously for 15 years.
  • Jewish Refugees Flee German Occupation

    Jewish Refugees Flee German Occupation
    The Australian Government announces that it will accept 15,000 Jewish refugees over a three-year period. Each immigrant is required to have ‘landing money’ and be nominated by someone in Australia. Approximately one-third of the number actually land in Australia because of the outbreak of World War II.
  • Registering 'Aliens'

    Registering 'Aliens'
    The Commonwealth Parliament passes the Aliens Act 1947, making it compulsory for all ‘aliens’, or non-British residents 16 years or older, to register with local authorities and to notify them of any change of name, address or occupation.
  • Displaced Persons Resettled

    Displaced Persons Resettled
    Australia signs an agreement with the International Refugees Organization to settle 12,000 displaced persons per year. The scheme is dismantled in 1952
  • Non-Europena Immigration Begins

    Non-Europena Immigration Begins
    Immigration Minister Harold Holt makes a historic decision to allow 800 non-European war refugees to remain in Australia. Australia progressively enters into assisted migration schemes with various countries, including the Netherlands and Italy (1951), West Germany, Austria, Belgium, Greece and Spain (1952), and the United States, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland (1954).
  • Refugees and Japanese War Brides Accepted

    Refugees and Japanese War Brides Accepted
    The first Japanese war bride, Mrs Cherry Parker, arrives in Australia in June. By the time the Australian presence in Japan ends in November 1956, about 650 women have migrated to Australia as wives and fiancées of Australian soldiers, having previously been refused entry.
  • Non-European Immigration Relaxed

    Non-European Immigration Relaxed
    Australia modifies conditions for easier entry and stay for migrants of non-European descent. In the same year, 14,000 refugees arrive from Hungary after an uprising. Conditions of entry for people of mixed descent are further relaxed in 1964.
  • Bring out a Brit

    Bring out a Brit
    This campaign is launched to encourage more British migration, and the community is encouraged to take responsibility for sponsoring particular British families and to assist them to settle.
  • Dictation Test Abolished

    Dictation Test Abolished
    The Revised Migration Act 1958 introduces a simpler system of entry permits and abolishes the controversial Dictation Test introduced at Federation in 1901.
  • White Australia Policy - beginning of the end

    White Australia Policy - beginning of the end
    Hubert Opperman, Minister for Immigration in the Holt government, effectively spells out the end of the White Australia Policy by announcing that applications from prospective settlers will be considered on their suitability as settlers, their ability to integrate readily and whether they have qualifications useful to Australia. Opperman downplays the effects of the changes, reassuring Australians that the government’s ‘primary aim in immigration is a generally integrated and predominantly homog
  • Racial Discrimination Act Passed

    Racial Discrimination Act Passed
    The Racial Discrimination Act 1975 makes racial discrimination illegal. It aims to ensure everyone is treated equally, regardless of race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin. By the end of the 20th century more than 10,500 complaints are received, including 3500 from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and 4000 from people from non-English speaking backgrounds.
  • Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Law

    Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Law
    The Commonwealth Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986 deals with breaches of human rights as defined in Australia’s international treaties, as well as complaints about equal opportunity on the grounds of race, colour, religion, sex, political opinion, national extradition, social origin, age, medical record, criminal record, sexual preference, trade union activity, marital status, nationality, disability and impairment.
  • Racial Hatred Act

    Racial Hatred Act
    A law against offensive behaviour based on racial hatred is added to the Racial Discrimination Act 1975. This law is called the Racial Hatred Act 1995.
  • Citizenship Test Introduced

    Citizenship Test Introduced
    The federal government introduces a test for people applying for Australian citizenship by naturalisation. The aim is to test an applicant’s knowledge of the English language and comprehension of Australian moral principles, history, and national and Indigenous symbols. The exam is available in English only, and applicants need to score 60 per cent or more to pass, including three compulsory questions about rights and responsibilities. In 2008 the government announces a review of the test, as al