Foreign Bodies: Immigration, International Hygiene and White Australia

  • Alison Bashford


In this chapter, I look again at the borders of the geo-body of the new nation of Australia and examine how the quarantine line was also a racialised immigration restriction line. The maritime quarantine line secured the (insecure) geo-body and civic body of white Australia as part of the racialised defence response to an ‘invasion narrative’ which governed much law, literature, culture, and policy of the early twentieth century.1 This was the moment when the health of the Australian nation — national purity — was being realised as racialised aspiration. It was a moment when a racial politics was institutionalised and legitimated, that is, rendered into law: the Immigration Restriction Act and the Pacific Island Labourers Act, both passed in the first year of national government, 1901, formed the basis of what became known popularly as the white Australia policy. Here, I draw the relations between white Australia and international hygiene


Foreign Body Venereal Disease White Skin Interwar Period Immigration Regulation 
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Copyright information

© Alison Bashford 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alison Bashford
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HistoryUniversity of SydneyAustralia

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