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Type: Journal article
Title: Shadow Letters and the 'Karnana' Letter: Indians Negotiate the White Australia Policy, 1901-21
Author: Allen, M.
Citation: Life Writing, 2011; 8(2 Sp Iss):187-202
Publisher: Australian Public Intellectual Network
Issue Date: 2011
ISSN: 1448-4528
Statement of
Margaret Allen
Abstract: The Immigration Restriction Act of 1901 established the White Australia policy. It was intended to establish Australia as a white nation and to exclude people described, as 'aboriginal natives of Asia, Africa and the Pacific'. There were however around 50,000 of these people, now deemed as undesirable, in the country. Many of these were sojourners, who would return to their home countries, generally China and India from time to time. This paper will consider a series of letters from former residents who had been denied re-entry to Australia in the first years of the policy and who subsequently sought to claim re-entry. Many of these men were illiterate in English and sometimes in their own languages. Their letters show them seeking to legitimate their claims by developing semi-official letter forms—which I term 'the Karnana letter'.
Keywords: letters; white Australia policy; Indians; migration agents
Rights: © 2011 Taylor & Francis
RMID: 0020115955
DOI: 10.1080/14484528.2011.559735
Appears in Collections:Gender Studies and Social Analysis publications

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