Mashriq & Mahjar 3, no. 1 (2015)
ISSN 2169-435

Anne Monsour


Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the arrival in Australia of increasing numbers of immigrants from Syria/Lebanon coincided with a period of economic insecurity and burgeoning white, Christian nationalism. Consequently, although influenced by many factors, the settlement experience of these immigrants, who were identified as non-white, non-European and officially classified as Asian, was fundamentally shaped by racially exclusive government legislation and policies formed within the transnational context of the politics of whiteness. Rejecting their classification as Asian, the immigrants did not contest whiteness as the criterion for acceptability but argued they had erroneously been excluded from the “white race.” Using their physical appearance, Christian religion, and the presence of a significant proportion of women to support their case, Syrian/Lebanese and their advocates argued they were white, European, and Christian and hence possessed the necessary qualities to be good citizens.

journal icon


In 1893, a Sydney newspaper claimed, “that bad as the bulk of the Chinese are as colonists, the bulk of the Syrians . . . are infinitely worse.”1 Not only was their lifestyle “inconceivably disgusting,” Syrians were also “a most objectionable class to have in any community.”2 In the same year, the New South Wales Parliament noted that magistrates were refusing to grant hawker’s licenses to Syrians because they “were not a desirable class of colonists” and the colony would be better off without them.3 Similar sentiments were evident in a parliamentary notice of motion claiming:

. . . that the continued influx of aliens, such as Syrians, Afghans, and other Asiatics, was a menace and danger to the peace and welfare of the European and native-born population, and that immediate steps be taken to prevent further arrivals of these people, and that separate quarters be allocated to those already here.4

As these examples show, when Syrian/Lebanese began arriving in the Australian colonies in increasing numbers in the early 1890s, they were immediately described as non-white, identified as non-European, and characterized as undesirable immigrants.5 Yet, by the 1920s, Syrian/Lebanese had convinced the Australian Government their official categorization as Asian was essentially inappropriate and as a consequence were exempted from some of the restrictions non-Europeans faced. These concessions were gained not through the immigrants contesting whiteness as the criterion for acceptability but through their insistence they had erroneously been excluded from the “white race.” Using their physical appearance, Christian religion, and the presence of a significant proportion of women to support their case, Syrian/Lebanese and their advocates argued they were white, European, and Christian and hence possessed the necessary qualities to be good citizens.

Although grounded in the story of one nation and its reception of a particular group of immigrants, the experience of Syrian/Lebanese in Australia is part of “the global ascendancy of the politics of whiteness” and therefore also part of a transnational history.6 In Drawing the Global Ccolour Line, Marilyn Lake and Henry Reynolds “trace the transnational circulation of emotions and ideas, people and publications, racial knowledge and technologies that animated white men’s countries and their strategies of exclusion, deportation and segregation.”7 The settlement experience of Syrian/Lebanese in Australia in the period 1880 to 1947 reveals the interplay of several factors including the continent’s geography and style of development, the segregation of Syrian/Lebanese in petty commercial occupations, the class and gender of the early immigrants, and their obvious intention to settle permanently. However, because modern Australia, in common with other colonial settler societies, was conceived as a “white”, “civilized” nation, race and religion were the defining factors.8 This article examines how these ideals, actualized through discriminatory legislation, impacted the early Syrian/Lebanese immigrants and the resulting interaction between the immigrants and the “white” nation-state. It also considers how Syrian/Lebanese immigrants engaged with issues of race and identity. Their need and willingness to validate their “whiteness” resonates with Sarah Gualtieri’s findings in her study of early Syrian immigrants in the United States.9 Hence this discussion contributes to the comparative and transnational understanding of the ways Syrian/Lebanese immigrants engaged with racial formations.


As “the overwhelming majority of its current inhabitants are either immigrants or descendants of immigrants arriving in the past two centuries,” contemporary Australia is essentially “the product of immigration.”10 In the Australian context, government intervention significantly determined the nature and timing of immigrant intakes and, consequently, the composition of the Australian population.11 From 1788 until the end of the White Australia Policy in the 1970s, Australian immigration policy was based on two main objectives: to build a community based on predominately British immigrants and to exclude non-European settlers.12 The fundamental significance of race is not surprising considering modern Australia’s origins as a British colony, established through the dispossession and near destruction of its Indigenous population, intent on repopulating the continent with people of Anglo-Celtic, or at the least, European origin.13 So, in the period 1880 to 1947, identified as the first phase of Syrian/Lebanese migration to Australia, the immigrants entered a society characterized by a reluctance to accept European immigrants and a “deeply rooted fear of non-European immigration.”14 Australia’s restrictive immigration policies were so successful that in 1947, 99 percent of Australians were white, and 90 percent were of Anglo-Celtic origin.15

The arrival of increasing numbers of Syrian/Lebanese in Australia in the last two decades of the nineteenth century was part of a mass emigration from the Syria/Lebanon region. According to Samir Khalaf, there is “virtual consensus” that in the 1890s there was a “sharp and sudden” increase in emigration from Syria and Lebanon.16 Until the beginning of World War I, the number of people departing persistently increased, leaving entire regions underpopulated.17 In a sample of 472 Syrian/Lebanese located in Queensland in the period 1880 to 1949, three appear in the records in 1884.18 By 1890, there were thirty-one, including six women. More than six times as many, 194, arrived in the colony between 1890 and 1899. This significant increase mirrors the general pattern of emigration from Syria and Lebanon; the initially small number of emigrants in the 1870s increased significantly in the 1880s, and by the 1890s had become a major exodus. According to Mary Wilke, the height of emigration from Lebanon, Turkey, and Syria occurred between 1900 and 1914, with roughly 15,000 persons leaving each year.19 Yet, this increase is not reflected in the number of Syrian/Lebanese arriving in Australia. Between 1900 and 1909, the number of arrivals in Queensland, for example, actually dropped by more than 50 percent to eighty-seven.20 Then, between 1910 and 1919, even fewer (thirty-five) Syrian/Lebanese came to Queensland.21

The increase in Syrian/Lebanese arrivals in the 1890s coincided with a period of burgeoning nationalism and economic insecurity due to an economic decline, extreme drought and high unemployment.22 Throughout this decade, greatly influenced by transnational histories, knowledge and ideas, Australia’s political leaders worked to shape a constitution and to draft legislation intended to guarantee the emerging Commonwealth of Australia would be a “civilized,” white nation:

White men’s countries rested on the premise that multiracial democracy was an impossibility: this was the key history lesson learnt from the great tragedy of Radical Reconstruction in the United States, propounded by numerous writers including the British Liberal politician and historian, James Bryce, whose American Commonwealth was taken up as a ‘Bible’ by white nation-builders in Australia and South Africa.23

In these circumstances, non-Europeans were increasingly viewed as a threat and anti-Chinese legislation was extended to all Asian and colored persons.24 In 1901, Australia’s founding fathers immediately legislated to expel the Pacific Islanders brought to work in the tropical sugar cane fields and then to exclude non-whites from entry.25 As the figures in Table 1 indicate, between 1880 and 1947 Syrian/Lebanese immigration to Australia is most accurately divided into two periods: unrestricted and restricted. The dramatic increase in arrivals throughout the 1890s was effectively reversed by the implementation of the Immigration Restriction Act of 1901. After this year, the decision to come to Australia was no longer as simple as being able to afford the fare; for Syrian/Lebanese, entry was now dependent on either passing the dictation test, having an exemption permit approved by the minister, or being considered eligible for an exemption permit by being a former resident, or the wife or child of a man not deemed a “prohibited immigrant.”26 Therefore, regardless of the push factors in their homeland, after 1901, it was primarily the implementation of the Immigration Restriction Act that determined the character of Syrian/Lebanese immigration and the subsequent settlement pattern.

































Source: Government records 1870–1949

Due to the success of the Immigration Restriction Act, before the 1950s the number of people born in Syria/Lebanon and living in Australia was always relatively small (see Table 2). However, although the Act put an end to the unrestricted entry of Syrian/Lebanese, for reasons that will be discussed later, at the discretion of consecutive ministers limited numbers with well-established family or friends were allowed to enter the Commonwealth.27 Because only Syrian/Lebanese who already had family or friends living in Australia were accepted as immigrants, a pattern of clustered settlement based on family and village ties within geographic regions was entrenched.28 One or two members of a family, usually the original immigrants, settled in a particular place and then brought other siblings or relatives from Lebanon and settled them in the same district. This pattern was reinforced because immigrant settlement was left entirely to relatives or to voluntary agencies.29 So, not only did the new arrivals owe their entry into Australia to their sponsors, who were typically family members, they also depended on them to find employment and accommodation, to learn English, and to understand the customs of the new society. So, the chain migration pattern often identified as a characteristic of Syrian/Lebanese immigration was actually a direct result of the successful implementation of the 1901 Immigration Restriction Act.


State 1901





New South Wales 734





Victoria 359





Queensland 345





South Australia





Western Australia











Australian Capital Territory





Total 1,498





Source: Commonwealth Censuses 1911–194730


As well as restricting the entry of non-Europeans, the White Australia Policy sought to make life so uncomfortable for those already living in Australia they would leave. In the first part of the twentieth century, legislative discrimination increasingly segregated non-Europeans from the mainstream of Australian society.31 The determination of the Anglo-Celtic majority to deny equal rights to people of non-European origin is illustrated by the consistent bipartisan support for legislation excluding non-European settlers from basic rights and privileges. Institutionalized discrimination imposed on non-Europeans by state and commonwealth legislation was pervasive and included: exclusion from certain industries and occupations; denial of the right to vote or stand for parliament; exclusion from citizenship, restrictions on their ability to hold leases and own property, and disqualification from social services such as the invalid and old-age pensions.32 The existence of widespread legislative discrimination against non-Europeans in employment significantly restricted the available choices.33 Consequently, hawking and shop keeping were occupations Syrian/Lebanese were able to develop and sustain because they were marginal economic activities that did not directly threaten the employment prospects of white Australians.34

Although several factors influenced the distinct settlement pattern of Syrian/Lebanese in Australia from 1880 to 1947, race based immigration restriction and legislative discrimination in employment were evidently the most important. Australia is a vast area. It is also a country characterized by a high resource potential relative to its small population, and a pattern of economic development dependent on the export of primary products.35 The wide dispersion of resources resulted in a spread of economic activity and population, a persistent emphasis on rural development, and serious problems of distance and accessibility. Due to the success of the Immigration Restriction Act, the number of Syrian/Lebanese was always small. As a result of discrimination in employment most of the early immigrants were self-employed in commercial occupations and this common occupational pathway contributed to a widely dispersed settlement pattern.36 Although family members may have wanted to live close to each other, their pursuit of the same occupation often meant it was not economically viable to live in the same town. This meant family and friends from the same village often settled in separate towns within the same region.

Until 1947, the majority of Syrian/Lebanese in New South Wales lived in country towns and it was unusual “to find more than one or two Syrian families in each country town.”37 McKay linked this settlement pattern directly with the Syrian/Lebanese immigrants’ occupations because according to anecdotal evidence, “there was an unwritten economic law that a Syrian would not open business against another Syrian unless the town could clearly support two businesses.”38 The settlement pattern in Queensland mirrors that in New South Wales.39 Dispersed settlement inhibited the development of a significant concentration of Syrian/Lebanese except in Sydney and to a lesser extent, Melbourne. Conceivably, this meant Syrian/Lebanese were perceived as less threatening. However, while their isolation from other Syrian/Lebanese may have resulted in their presence being tolerated, it increased the already strong pressure to conform and limited the experience of being Syrian/Lebanese to contact with extended family.

While early Syrian/Lebanese migration is often characterized as predominately male, from its inception, Syrian/Lebanese immigration to Australia included a significant number of women. This is obvious from official records. Daher Aboud migrated in 1884 with his wife Karma and their six children.40 Mary Malouf arrived with her husband and two young sons in 1889.41 Having arrived in Queensland in 1894, Jacob Adymee was, in 1901, living in the town of Ilfracombe with his wife and five children.42 Katoora Dahur, a widow, arrived in Brisbane in 1895 with her four children to join her brother, Calile Malouf, who had arrived with his wife and young family a few years earlier.43 When Joseph Gabriel landed in Adelaide in 1896, he was accompanied by his wife and baby.44 In 1892, the Illustrated Sydney News portrayed the “typical Syrian hawker” as a woman with a child on her hip and a basket of goods on her arm, and claimed these women were a familiar sight in most Australian cities.45 Reports on the granting of hawker’s licenses by the Licensing Court at Redfern, Sydney confirm the involvement of Syrian/Lebanese women in hawking: in 1898, thirty-five of the ninety- three Syrian applicants were women; in 1899, of the ninety-one Syrians applying for a hawker’s license, forty were women; and in 1902, of the sixteen licenses granted to Syrians, eleven were for women.46

The presence of women and children was noted and was an important characteristic that favorably distinguished Syrians from other Asians. In January 1893, it was estimated “the Syrian contingent of hawkers” in Redfern, Sydney numbered “at least 1500 persons, including men, women and children.”47 Despite authorities prohibiting them from landing in Adelaide, twenty-three Syrians (nine men, six women, and eight children) were allowed to spend a day sightseeing in Melbourne en route to Sydney.48 In 1903, many of Melbourne’s Syrians were evidently living in families: “Exhibition street to-day is largely Syrian, and promises to be still more largely so in the near future, as brown, bandy-legged, fat little children scramble out of every other doorway in dozens.”49 The family character of Syrian/Lebanese migration meant they were perceived to be settlers rather than sojourners. Even in 1893, the Syrians who settled in the Redfern district of Sydney were perceived to “have come to stay.”50 Unlike the Indians and Chinese who were predominately male, Syrians had families to support, so it was not feared their earnings would be exported overseas.51 In an era when interracial marriage was feared, the presence of women from the initial migration meant Syrian/Lebanese men, unlike their Chinese and Indian counterparts, were not seen as a threat to white women or to the goal of racial purity.52

Although early Syrian/Lebanese emigrants are often described as poor, unskilled and illiterate peasants, it is quite evident some of the earliest immigrants who came to Australia were neither poor nor uneducated.53 Joseph George Malouf, described in 1909 as “one of Redfern’s leading and highly-esteemed citizens,” was educated at the American University in Beirut.54 As Malouf commenced business as a draper and merchant in Sydney soon after his arrival in 1888, he had obviously already accumulated the necessary capital.55 This was also the case for Stanton Melick who established the firm of Stanton Melick Warehousemen, Importers and Manufacturers in Sydney in 1888.56 Encouraged by his initial success, Melick sent for his brother, Aziz, a student at the American Protestant College in Beirut.57 Two of the earliest Syrian/Lebanese to settle in Queensland, the brothers, Joseph and Richard Arida were obviously well educated and well-traveled. According to the Postmaster in Charters Towers, Richard Arida was
“. . . well educated, has travelled extensively and speaks several languages, is on the committee of the School of Arts and other local institutions. In every respect he is regarded as a good citizen.”58 Similar observations were made about his brother, Joseph, who “. . . prior to coming to Australia was all over the world, and holds recommendations from the Governments of various American and European countries. He speaks 7 languages and was an honorary correspondence [sic] for some leading newspapers in America and Australia.”59 In 1886, the Arida brothers opened a store in the north Queensland town of Charters Towers. This was the first in a chain of stores, which they established in towns across north-western Queensland.

Newspaper reports also indicate the early immigrants were from various class backgrounds. In 1891, when Joseph Chehab was charged with the attempted murder of his business partner, Abraham Kahled, the victim and the accused were described as “men of some social standing and of no little education”:

Kahled in particular is a brilliant linguist, and Chebab was said by his countrymen to hold a rank equivalent to the European title of “Count.” They appear to have been educated together at the Catholic Mission schools at Beyrout, and after a term of business partnership in Syria, came to Victoria . . . and started the Lonsdale street business, which is now carried on at two separate branches . . . and is estimated to command a stock of over £4,000 in value. Both speak English with more or less fluency, and are altogether of superior class.60

The Syrians in Redfern in 1893 were observed to be “divided into two classes—the merchants or employers,” the “better class of Syrians,” and “the hawkers” who purchased goods from these merchants.61 A similar class division was identified in the Melbourne Syrian community, which also included watchmakers, carpenters, blacksmiths and even farmers.62 Despite only a “few” having been “properly educated in their own country,” purportedly, “the majority of the local residents” could “speak and write English with ease.”63 J.M. Faway, the “recognized head of the Syrian community in Melbourne” and a graduate of Beirut University was actively engaged “in the education and improvement of his countrymen,” particularly through the Syrian Young Men’s Club of Melbourne which he initiated.64 In 1908, advocates for the Syrian, Alec George James, who faced deportation as “a colored alien,” argued James was “not a low-caste ‘black,’ but as white as many Australians, and a fairly well-educated young man of the middle classes.”65 Furthermore, as he was not illiterate or “a pauper, who had come to be a burden to the State” but the son of “a fairly well-to-do shopkeeper and manufacturer of soft goods in Adelaide” who “sent for his son to assist him in his business. . . the cause for deportation is hard to conceive.”66

Comments in archival records and anecdotal evidence also confirm the immigrants’ varied class background. In 1903, a member of parliament described Mary Michael, a Syrian/Lebanese woman, as well educated and able to read, write, and speak three languages.67 Joseph Mansour, who arrived in Australia in 1897, was reported to have had a good education and to be “a most cultured and deserving man.”68 Similarly, in 1899, Daher Aboud was described as well-educated and as having brought a lot of money into the colony.69 In deliberations regarding the status of Syrian/Lebanese in Australia, the Secretary of the Department of External Affairs, Atlee Hunt, noted Syrians were “moderately educated but occasionally men are met who are highly trained and who speak several languages.”70 Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the Queensland colonial government












Public servant








Source: Marriage Certificates in Naturalization Records (1880 to 1947, QSA & NAA), in Family Histories or Produced as Part of an Oral History Interview.

required documentary proof of marriage if naturalization was to be approved. As the occupations of the bride and groom’s parents are noted on marriage certificates, these provide information about pre-migration, socio-economic status. As Table 3 shows, less than one third of this sample of early immigrants described their parents as farmers. In a few cases, the occupation of the immigrants prior to emigration was recorded. Although statistically insignificant, this information, listed in Table 4, illustrates a variety of occupational backgrounds. Arguably, the available evidence suggests it is too simplistic to characterize early Syrian/Lebanese immigrants as unskilled peasants.








Pottery Maker






Wool Spinner




English Teacher


Picture Frame Maker


Source: Naturalization Records 1880 to 1947, QSA & NAA.

Importantly, the immigrants who were educated, skilled in a trade, or from a wealthy background were able to advocate for the improved status of Syrian/Lebanese in Australia and they did so from the early days of migration. J.M. Faway who founded the Syrian Young Men’s Club of Melbourne also tirelessly worked to overcome “the Australian prejudice against the Syrian – founded on the mistaken belief that his people were an inferior and degraded race.”71 In 1893, in the midst of increasing opposition to the perceived “Syrian Invasion,” Abraham Khaled, Chancellor of the Turkish Consulate and Joseph Arida both wrote to the Sydney Morning Herald in defense of Syrians. If not confused with Afghans or Hindus, Khaled argued, Syrians would “be found clean, civil, energetic and economical.”72 According to Arida, Syrians were not colored, but Christian and European, and contrary to the complaints made about them, were generally industrious, hospitable, and honest.73 In 1896, a deputation representing Syrians in New South Wales met the premier to discuss concerns about the provisions of the proposed Coloured Races Restriction Bill.74 The deputation, which included “B. Shehadi (government interpreter), J.G. Malouf, Jacob Moses, Stanton Mellick, F.E. Zaccour, and A. Mellick,” argued Syrians were not colored but Caucasian and differed from other Asians because “[w]e don’t send money away to Asia. We live, work, and spend our money in the colony. We don’t want to go back to a country where despotism reigns supreme. We prefer a civilised and a Christian country, and I think that we should be welcomed.”75 While this lobbying had little immediate effect, many of the points put forward by these initial advocates were eventually accepted as valid and consequently, Syrian/Lebanese were treated more leniently than other non-Europeans. While the presence of women and children visibly differentiated Syrian/Lebanese from other Asians, and educated and wealthy individuals were able to lobby for equal rights, ultimately race and religion were the most important factors contributing to this change in attitude.


With the exception of a small number of Druze, the Syrian/Lebanese immigrants who came to Australia from the 1880s to 1947 were Maronite, Melkite, and Orthodox Christians.76 If any were actually Muslim, this is not evident in the archival or anecdotal sources. Early newspaper reports clearly identify Syrian/Lebanese as Christian.77 Politicians and bureaucrats also recognized the Syrians were mainly Christian. In 1909, Egerton Batchelor, the Minister for External Affairs observed that the religion of a Syrian was “very often the same as ours.”78 Similarly, in 1914, the Chief Clerk of the Department of External Affairs noted Syrians “all belong to the Christian faith.”79 According to Atlee Hunt, the Secretary of the Department of External Affairs, Syrians were “practically all Christians being adherents either of the Greek Church or of a Church affiliated with the Roman Catholic.”80 While some Ottoman immigrants to Australia were Muslim, in 1922 a government memorandum noted that: “The number of Turks of Ottoman characteristics in Australia is negligible. There are no prominent members of the race and the true representatives of the Crescent—Mohammedan in religion and Turkish in national viewpoints—probably number not more than the fingers of one hand.”81 The official statistics support this observation. In Victoria in 1922, the total number of people regarded as Turkish subjects was 160: 119 of these were Syrians, three were Armenians, thirty-five were Palestinian Jews, and only three were Ottoman Turks.82

Because Christianity is an important component of whiteness, the predominance of Christians in early Syrian/Lebanese migration added to an evident confusion about their racial identity and was a significant bargaining point in their bid for equal status. In government records, the immigrants and their advocates repeatedly highlight their Christian faith as a positive attribute. Joseph Abdullah who was refused citizenship in 1903 as he was a single, Asiatic male, disputed his categorization as Asian because like “the rest of the people of Australia,” he was a Christian.83 Similarly, when declared ineligible for citizenship on racial grounds, Joseph Morad argued that as a Christian, he was surely “eligible to become a subject of the King.”84 Advocating on behalf of a Syrian/Lebanese client they described as “a sober steady man,” solicitors also noted he was, like his father before him, a Roman Catholic.85 In 1919, a solicitor acting on behalf of Joseph Mansour, argued the Syrian people were not aboriginal natives of Asia: they were “a civilized Christian race” and “descendants of the Crusaders, from Europe.”86 Also making this point, Richard Saleeby noted his family name was literally the Arabic word for crusaders.87 Whether these claims were legitimate or not, the professed links with European crusaders were obviously intended to imply that Christian Syrian/Lebanese were more European than Asian.

Their historical link to the origins of Christianity was also used in advocacy. In 1896, writing on behalf of “the Syrian colonists,” a “Syrian Merchant” pleaded guilty to the “charge” of being Asian “for we belong to the same race as our Saviour, Jesus Christ.”88 In his decade long bid for naturalization, Michael Malouf consistently referred to his Christian faith and emphasized the depth and authenticity of his Christian heritage. His assertion that his parents fled from “Lebanon, Palestine,” when he was a “child in arms” was clearly intended to invoke biblical overtones.89 In the Naturalization Bill debate in 1903, objecting to an amendment that would exclude Syrians, as “aboriginal natives of Asia,” from naturalization, Senator Thomas Playford reminded the “honorable senators” Syrians “were of the same race as the great founder of Christianity.”90 However, advocacy seeking to distance Syrian/Lebanese from the disabilities imposed on Asians through discriminatory legislation did not rely solely on their Christian credentials but also on the assertion they were white and European.


In Asian Migration to Australia, Alexander Yarwood concluded Syrians were eventually accepted as immigrants and as citizens because they were perceived to be racially similar to the host population.91 This conferred with Jens Lyng’s claim, thirty-two years earlier, that Syrians were not treated by the Australian immigration authorities as “pure Asiatics” because, while the majority belonged to the “Semitic family,” there was “a large element of pure whites in Syria of the Mediterranean strain.”92 According to Lyng, it was “owing to this fact” that Syrians were able to “obtain permission to enter and settle in Australia.”93 These observations by Yarwood and Lyng, emphasize the significance of physical appearance, including skin color, in relation to the implementation of the White Australia Policy, and indicate an uncertainty about the racial identity of Syrian/Lebanese. Indeed, there is strong evidence of an ongoing ambivalence regarding the “race” of these immigrants which ultimately worked in their favor.

Although early newspaper reports identify Syrians as non-white, non-European aliens, they also reveal a lingering doubt about their racial classification. In 1892, the Illustrated Sydney News claimed Syrians in Sydney were sometimes incorrectly called “Assyrians” and to their detriment were also “frequently credited with the nationality of Afghans, Indians, Greeks, Italians, and other peoples.”94 According to Abraham Khaled many of the complaints about Syrians were due to them being confused with “Hindoos and Afghans.”95 While the often repeated claim “Indians, Afghans, and Arabians” were mistakenly identified as Syrians may have been true, it was also a strategy to distance Syrians from the extremely strong anti-Asian sentiments increasingly expressed through the 1890s.96 Newspaper reports also indicate doubts about whether Syrians were colored or white. Three Syrian men allowed to enter South Australia in controversial circumstances in 1898 were “hardly. . . recognised as men of colour, as their dress is quite European, and their complexion . . . is less dark than that of some people . . . in our own colony.”97 According to another report, some Syrians “may fairly reckon themselves as white men, but others are more or less tainted with black blood.”98 The Sydney Bulletin described Syrians as one of the three “non-fusible Asiatic races,” but noted that in contrast to the Chinese and Indians they were “less distinctive in personal appearance and unmarked by peculiar dress,” and hence less easily identified.99 They also differed from the Chinese and Indians because they were Christian, white, and had migrated in family groups thus indicating they were permanent settlers.100 Ironically, this staunchly nationalist newspaper inadvertently identified the distinguishing characteristics that eventually led to Syrians being officially treated more leniently than other Asians.101

Bureaucrats and politicians were also uncertain about the categorization and treatment of Syrian/Lebanese. In 1896, when Syrians in New South Wales sought clarification of their status under the proposed Coloured Races Restriction Bill, the premier noted an “ambiguity” as to whether Syrians were white or colored; although he acknowledged some were white, he refused to agree Syrians were a white race.102 As the Immigration Restriction Act (1901) did not exclude any nationalities or races by name, this left room for interpretation and proved to be an important advantage for Syrian/Lebanese. The question of how to deal with Syrians caused the department considerable difficulty because in contrast to the “unanimity respecting the black, brown and yellow races,” there was a “considerable divergence in decisions relating to the admission of Syrians.”103 During the Naturalization Bill debate in 1903, Senator Thomas Playford argued against a proposed amendment to disqualify aboriginal natives of Asia from citizenship as the term included “Syrians and others” whom he considered to be “as white as we are.”104 Although Playford agreed with the principle of excluding non-Europeans from naturalization, he disagreed with the inclusion of a disqualification based upon place of origin because of its inherent inflexibility: “It may be that men born in Asia and as white and as good as ourselves, would be desirable citizens; and it would be better to leave the granting of naturalization to the Governor-General, or, in other words to the Ministry.”105 At the time, Playford’s view that Syrians were white and deserved differential treatment was not shared; however, his doubts about the application of the geographic definition in the case of Syrian/Lebanese foreshadowed an opinion that would eventually become departmental policy.106

Demonstrating a transnational perspective, in 1914 during a review of the treatment of Syrians in relation to the Immigration Restriction Act, the chief clerk of the Department of External Affairs referred to the United States of America. He reported that cases taken to court by Syrians regarding their eligibility for naturalization were inconclusive as despite a ruling that Syrians were “Caucasians” and hence not debarred from naturalization, some Syrians were subsequently found to be ineligible.107 In a memorandum to the minister, the secretary of the department, Atlee Hunt, referred to advice that the experience regarding Syrians in the United States “where large numbers of them had gone, was on the whole satisfactory.”108 In relation to whether a Syrian was a “free white person” and hence eligible for US citizenship, Hunt referred the minister to the specific court cases, In re Najour (174 Fed. Rep.735), In re Mudarri (176 Fed. Rep. 465), In re Halladjian (174 Fed.Rep. 834), and in particular to the In ex parte Dow (211 Fed. Rep. 486) case “as the question of the race of Syrians is extensively discussed and attention is invited to that judgement.”109 Curiously, although three of the four cases decided in favor of eligibility, Hunt concluded that conflicting judgments meant it was not possible to ascertain “any marked preponderance of judicial opinion on one side or the other.”110 It is worth noting that some of the immigrants were also aware of these cases and referred to them when challenging their categorization as Asian:

It certainly seems strange that we should be looked upon as Asiatics; in fact, I was debarred owing to the reading of the Act stating “aboriginal natives of Asia.” I most strongly object to this term being applied in my case. In America, where our people took up the question, it was proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that we should not be classed as Asiatics.111

Police reports were integral to the naturalization process and included reference to whether the applicant was white or colored. Records show Syrian/Lebanese were not immediately recognized as colored. Generally police reported applicants were white or not colored, but some were judged to be colored (dark-skinned) or not entirely white. Boulus, for example, was not a colored man but was very dark complexioned and swarthy like most southern Europeans.112 In contrast, Lutoof was a colored man, probably of Syrian parentage, and George “a coloured man, but not a full-blooded foreigner.”113 The assessment of skin color was obviously quite arbitrary. When George applied for naturalization in 1908, he was described as being of very good character and not colored; however, six years later his brother was judged to be a colored man.114 Similarly, Slaman was reported to be “a coloured man” although his cousin, Eli, was not.115 Generally, bureaucrats also considered Syrians to be white rather than colored. According to the chief clerk of the Department of External affairs, “some” Syrian women “were as fair-skinned as any women to be met in our cities,” furthermore:

So far as Syrian men are concerned, they are dark, but not more so than the Italians, Spaniards and Greeks, and if it were not for the fact that the Syrians disclose their race on going on board ship enroute to Australia, they would easily pass muster with nationals of the countries just mentioned. They hold that they belong to the Caucasian stock and that therefore the fact that they have been born on Asiatic soil should not stamp them as "Asiatics" in the general acceptance to that term as understood in connection with the administration of the Act.116

In terms of race and color, the department’s head clearly considered Syrians to be more European than Asian:

They are of swarthy appearance with dark hair, and in most cases sallow complexions, but approximate far more closely to the European types than those of India or parts of Asia further East. So far as general appearance goes they can not be distinguished from the people of Southern Spain, Italy or Greece and in fact are considerably lighter in complexion than the Turks.117

Due partly to the presence of immigrants with education and wealth, by the early 1890s, Syrian/Lebanese were advocating for equal rights through letters to the editor, deputations to relevant parliamentarians, petitions, and getting lawyers, politicians and well-respected citizens to advocate on their behalf. In 1893, in response to a move to refuse Syrians hawker’s licenses, Joseph Arida maintained Syrians were not a colored race but Christian and European, and unlike the Chinese did not sent their earnings overseas.118 Similarly, a delegation of Syrians informed the New South Wales premier it would be unjust to include Syrians in the restrictions that would result from the proposed Coloured Races Restriction Bill because they were Caucasians who “by conquest” had “been absorbed into the European race” and who differed significantly from the colored races.119 A correspondent signing as “A Syrian Merchant” wrote several letters to the editor making similar points. Syrians were not colored but white, they were “not of the poorest class” but brought money into the colony, they were law-abiding, civilized, and Christian.120 All these qualities, he argued, made Syrians “desirable colonists.”121

In 1901, the first Federal parliament quickly passed the Pacific Island Labourers’ Act and the Immigration Restriction Act, both of which were designed to guarantee a “White” Australia.122 In the Australian nation, non-whites were not welcome and the disadvantages of being non-European increased.123 As permanent settlers, Syrian/Lebanese continued to agitate for equal status. According to the chief clerk of the Department of External Affairs, Syrians consistently objected to being considered Asian and to their treatment under the Immigration Restriction Act arguing they should not be included in the same category “as the Chinese, Japanese, Hindoos and other Eastern people.”124 In 1909, Syrians petitioned the government to allow the restricted admission of Syrians.125 Arguments put forward in the petition were echoed in letters written by Wadih Abourizk to the prime minister and the minister for external affairs.126 According to Abourizk, Syrians were Caucasians whose “looks, habits, customs, religions, blood, are those of Europeans” and “they should be treated like other white races.”127 Supporting his argument, Abourizk noted that an “attempt by Mr R Campbell of the immigration board to include them [Syrians] in the alien act in America has absolutely failed.”128 Agreeing with the exclusion of the “undesirable” and “low class of Syrians,” Abourizk advocated the use of a strict selection process which would allow young, well-educated Syrians with some capital, to immigrate to Australia.129 While the unrestricted admission of Syrians was out of the question, the government agreed to consider “on their merits applications for admission of Syrians of special qualifications or closely related to persons already in the Commonwealth.”130 So, Syrians were not absolutely excluded, but their admission was restricted and entirely at the discretion of the minister.

In their individual and collective communications with the government, Syrian/Lebanese strongly objected to being considered Asian, and were eventually successful in achieving a degree of sympathy with this position.131 By 1909, Egerton Batchelor, the minister for external affairs had decided Syrians should be accepted for naturalization.132 While Batchelor supported the white Australia policy, he differentiated between the policy of excluding people of Asiatic races from Australia and the question of how people of any race lawfully residing in the Commonwealth should be treated.133 It was, in his opinion, “a matter of regret” that the law, which prevented aboriginal natives of Asia from being able to apply for naturalization, meant Syrian residents were not eligible for citizenship. Furthermore, it was undemocratic “that there should be subordinate classes in a State” on whom are imposed “all the responsibilities and penalties of citizenship equally with the rest of the community” but who are denied “the privileges of naturalization, the political franchise and pension rights.”134 Specifically, he believed there was nothing to fear “from the inclusion in the ranks of citizens of the Commonwealth of Syrians—men of a race not far removed from our stock, and whose religion is very often the same as ours.”135

Batchelor’s government lost office and no change occurred; however, his views formed the basis of further deliberations regarding the status of Syrian/Lebanese in Australia.136 In February 1915 when changes to naturalization laws were being considered, it is quite obvious Syrians were the primary target of the proposed change: “The point has come up most conspicuously in the case of Syrians who are ineligible; though Turks born in Europe are eligible. Many Syrians who we have been obliged to refuse are people of high character and substantial property.”137 The First World War intervened and no changes were made. However, in 1920 when the government proposed dropping the exclusionary clause and granting the minister discretionary power to naturalize any persons considered “fit to become citizens of the Commonwealth,” it is obvious the change was intended to benefit Syrian/Lebanese:

Quite recently I have heard a number of complaints from people who come from Mount Lebanon, and who are placed at a great disadvantage under our Commonwealth laws.

. . . Under our laws there is no power to naturalize these people, and quite a number of them, with whom I have come in contact, are as good citizens as we have in the Commonwealth. If this measure becomes law, it will give the Minister the power to naturalize them.138

That Syrians alone would benefit is confirmed by a Home and Territories Department memorandum in 1922 stating that while, “. . . it is not the policy of the Government to issue certificates of naturalization to Aboriginal natives of Asia, a special exemption has been made in favour of Syrians.”139 The Nationality Act of 1920 changed naturalization laws so no persons of any race were explicitly disqualified; however, as Tom Clarke and Brian Galligan point out, while “aboriginal natives” such as “Turks, Syrians and Assyrians” managed to gain naturalization, the discretionary provisions meant this privilege continued to be denied to the “distinctly coloured races such as the Chinese and Japanese.”140


By the 1920s, in contrast to the earlier view of Syrian/Lebanese as undesirable immigrants, official references to Syrians were more positive and often emphasized their qualities as good citizens; however, although they had gained some concessions, their acceptance was limited and tenuous. Even though it was now easier to become naturalized, successful naturalization did not mean full citizenship. Naturalized Syrian/Lebanese were excluded from the franchise until 1925, and were only granted pension rights in 1941, thirty years after Batchelor, as minister for external affairs, had challenged both the wisdom and fairness of the practice of exclusion.141 Considered within the context of the evolution of Australian nationalism and the implementation of the white Australia policy, the significance of race in the lives of Syrian/Lebanese in Australia is predictable. Racial discrimination was the basis of Australian immigration policy and the emerging nation was determined to expand and protect its white population. What is unique about their experience is the advantage Syrian/Lebanese gained as a result of an uncertainty about their racial identity. Syrian/Lebanese did not contest whiteness as the criterion for acceptability but objected to the fact their classification as Asian effectively excluded them from the “white race.” That the concessions they gained were primarily due to their physical appearance, Christian religion, and the presence of a significant proportion of women, illustrates the exclusive nature of Australian nationalism and the racist and religiously bigoted intent of the white Australia policy.


  1. Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), 17 January 1893, 6.↩︎

  2. Ibid.↩︎

  3. Argus, 18 January 1893, 6.↩︎

  4. Ibid.↩︎

  5. Until the 1940s, immigrants from the region now known as Lebanon were called Syrians hence the term Syrian/Lebanese. At times it is more appropriate to simply use Syrian as it reflects the contemporary use.↩︎

  6. Marilyn Lake and Henry Reynolds, Drawing the Global Colour Line: White Men’s Countries and the Question of Racial Equality (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2008), 9.↩︎

  7. Ibid., 4.↩︎

  8. Marilyn Lake, “White Man’s Country: Trans-National History of a National Project,” Australian Historical Studies 122 (2003): 346­–63; Ghassan Hage, Against Paranoid Nationalism: Searching for Hope in a Shrinking Society (Annadale, NSW: Pluto Press Australia, 2003), 48–54.↩︎

  9. Sarah M.A. Gualtieri, Between Arab and White: Race and Ethnicity in the Early Syrian American Diaspora (Berkley: University of California Press), 2009.↩︎

  10. Stephen Castles, et al., Immigration and Australia: Myths and Realities (St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 1998), 1.↩︎

  11. James Jupp, “Waves of Migration to Australia,” in John Hardy, ed., Stories of Australian Migration (Kensington, NSW: New South Wales University Press, 1988), 9.↩︎

  12. Greg Tobin, “Australian Immigration Policy and Politics,” in Michael C. LeMay, ed., The Gatekeepers: Comparative Immigration Policy (New York: Praeger, 1989), 45.↩︎

  13. Raja Jayararaman, “Inclusion and Exclusion: An Analysis of the Australian Immigration History and Ethnic Relations,” Journal of Popular Culture 34, no: 1 (2000), 135–55.↩︎

  14. Ibid.↩︎

  15. Jupp, “Waves of Migration,” 26.↩︎

  16. Samir Khalaf, “The Background and Causes of Lebanese/Syrian Immigration,” in Eric J. Hooglund, ed., Crossing the Waters: Arabic Speaking Immigrants to the United States before 1940 (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1987), 18.↩︎

  17. Ibid., 19.↩︎

  18. Anne Monsour, Not Quite White: Lebanese and the White Australia Policy 1880 to 1947 (Brisbane: Post Pressed, 2010), 17–18. Queensland is one of the six Australian States all of which were self-governing colonies until federation in 1901.↩︎

  19. Mary Wilke, “The Lebanese in Montevideo, Uruguay: A Study of an Entrepreneurial Ethnic Minority” (PhD thesis, University of Wisconsin, 1972), 21.↩︎

  20. Monsour, Not Quite White, 17–18.↩︎

  21. Ibid.↩︎

  22. Francis G. Clarke, Australia: A Concise Political and Social History (Sydney: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1992), 158–68.↩︎

  23. Lake and Reynolds, Drawing the Global Colour Line, 6–7 and 137–43.↩︎

  24. C. Y. Choi, Chinese Migration and Settlement in Australia (Sydney: Sydney University Press, 1975), 27; Hage, Against Paranoid Nationalism, 48–54.↩︎

  25. Lake and Reynolds, Drawing the Global Colour Line, 137. Lake and Reynolds show how other histories, especially American history, influenced the swift adoption of these two acts as the best way to ensure a “white” Australia (137–43).↩︎

  26. Barry York, Studies in Australian Ethnic History, Number 1, 1992: Immigration Restriction, 1901–1957 (Canberra: Centre for Immigration & Multicultural Studies, 1992), 2.↩︎

  27. Alexander T. Yarwood, Asian Migration to Australia: the Background to Exclusion 1896–1923 (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1967), 149.↩︎

  28. Monsour, Not Quite White, 115–26.↩︎

  29. Jupp, “Immigration and Settlement Policy,” 62.↩︎

  30. Jim McKay and Trevor Batrouney, “Lebanese Immigration until the 1970’s,” in James Jupp, ed., The Australian People: An Encyclopedia of the Nation, Its People and Their Origins (North Ryde: Angus & Robertson, 1988), 668.↩︎

  31. Andrew Markus, Australian Race Relations 1788–1993 (St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 1994), 110–11.↩︎

  32. “Disabilities of Aliens and Coloured Persons within the Commonwealth and its Territories,” (1920), Prime Minister's Department, A1/1, 21/13034, National Archives of Australia (NAA), Australian Capital Territory (ACT); “List Showing Restrictions or Disabilities in Queensland Applicable to Aliens,” (1943), A/7513, 1234/43, Queensland State Archives, (QSA).↩︎

  33. Monsour, Not Quite White, 85–114.↩︎

  34. Ibid.; Jim McKay, Phoenician Farewell: Three Generations of Lebanese Christians in Australia (Melbourne: Ashwood House, 1989), 39; Janis Wilton, Immigrants in the Bush: Hawking to Haberdashery (Armidale: Multicultural Education Coordinating Committee, New South Wales & Armidale College of Advanced Education, 1897), 8 and 46–47.↩︎

  35. John H. Holmes, ed., Queensland: A Geographical Interpretation (Brisbane: Boolarong Publications, 1986), 2.↩︎

  36. Monsour, Not Quite White, 115–26.↩︎

  37. McKay, Phoenician Farewell, 41.↩︎

  38. Ibid.↩︎

  39. Monsour, Not Quite White, 115–26.↩︎

  40. Daher Aboud, Naturalization Application, 10 January 1899, Col/73(a), QSA.↩︎

  41. Jonas Malouf, Naturalization Application, 2 June 1902, Hom/A39, (QSA).↩︎

  42. Jacob Adymee, Naturalization Application, 1955/1903, 14 January 1903, Col/73(a), QSA.↩︎

  43. Nick Dyer, The Dyer Family: A Loving Tribute to Salem Dyer and Mintaha Trad (Brisbane: Author, 1991), 2; Calile Malouf, Letter to Fared Tooma, 2 October 1995.↩︎

  44. Joseph Gabriel, Naturalization Application, A1, 1921/12661, NAA (ACT).↩︎

  45. Illustrated Sydney News, 19 November 1892, 4.↩︎

  46. SMH, 5 January 1898, 7; SMH, 4 January 1899, 4; SMH, 3 January 1902, 3.↩︎

  47. Brisbane Courier, 20 January 1893, 7.↩︎

  48. SMH, 15 September 1898, 5.↩︎

  49. Argus, 3 January 1903, 11.↩︎

  50. SMH, 17 January 1893, 6.↩︎

  51. Yarwood, Asian Migration to Australia, 143–44.↩︎

  52. Ibid., 144.↩︎

  53. Najib E. Saliba, “Emigration from Syria,” in Sameer Y. Abraham and Nabeel Abraham, eds, Arabs in the New World: Studies on Arab-American Communities (Detroit: Wayne State University Center for Urban Studies, 1983), 39; Michael W. Suleiman, “Early Arab-Americans: The Search for Identity,” in Hooglund, ed., Crossing the Waters, 39; Wilke, “The Lebanese in Montevideo, Uruguay,” 24; Andrew Batrouney and Trevor Batrouney, The Lebanese in Australia (Melbourne: Australasian Educa Press, 1985), 20; McKay, Phoenician Farewell, 31.↩︎

  54. Souvenir to Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Incorporation of the Municipality of Redfern, 1859–1909 (Sydney: McBarron, Stewart & Co., 1909).↩︎

  55. Ibid.↩︎

  56. Ibid.↩︎

  57. Ibid.↩︎

  58. Postmaster, Charters Towers to Secretary, Commonwealth Department of External Affairs, 05/8109, 27 December 1905, A1/1, 05/8109, NAA (ACT).↩︎

  59. Director, Investigation Branch, Commonwealth Attorney General’s Department, to Secretary, Home and Territories Department, 15526, 5 September 1922, A1/1, 30/376, NAA (ACT).↩︎

  60. Argus, 8 January 1891, 6.↩︎

  61. SMH, 17 January 1893, 6.↩︎

  62. Argus, 3 January 1903, 11.↩︎

  63. Ibid.↩︎

  64. Ibid.↩︎

  65. Advertiser, 28 December 1908, 11.↩︎

  66. Ibid.↩︎

  67. George Story, MLA to Home Secretary, Brisbane, 12232, 12 October 1903, 12232/1903, Col/74(a), QSA.↩︎

  68. Under Secretary, Chief Secretary’s Office, Brisbane to Secretary, Department of External Affairs, 12/12576, 27 June 1912; Littleton E. Groom, Commonwealth Department of Trade and Customs, to Secretary, Department of External Affairs, 12868, 11 August 1913, A1/1, 13/12868, NAA(ACT).↩︎

  69. Daher Aboud, Naturalization Application.↩︎

  70. Atlee Hunt, Memorandum for the Minister, Department of External Affairs, 20363, 27 October 1914, A1/1, 14/20363, NAA (ACT).↩︎

  71. Argus, 3 January 1903, 11.↩︎

  72. SMH, 3 February 1893, 2.↩︎

  73. SMH, 27 February 1893, 8.↩︎

  74. SMH, 23 October 1896, 3.↩︎

  75. Ibid.↩︎

  76. Monsour, Not Quite White. In Kamal S. Salibi, The Modern History of Lebanon (Delmar, New York: Caravan Books, 1977), xviii, Salibi describes the Druze as the “followers of the Fatimid Caliph al Hakim (996–1021) who proclaimed his own divinity in the early eleventh century, deviating from traditional Ismaʿilite Shiʿism.”↩︎

  77. Illustrated Sydney News, 19 November 1892, 4; Advertiser, 16 September 1898, 5; Bulletin, 18 January 1906, 7.↩︎

  78. Egerton L. Batchelor to General Secretary, Australian Natives Association, Perth, 14/20363, 4 January 1911, A1/1, 14/20363, NAA (ACT).↩︎

  79. Chief Clerk, Department of External Affairs, Memorandum, 20363, 27 October 1914, A1/1, 14/20363, NAA (ACT).↩︎

  80. Atlee Hunt, Memorandum for the Minister, Department of External Affairs, 20363, 27 October 1914.↩︎

  81. Memorandum re Turkish Subjects in Australia, RSB/BD, Melbourne, 3 October 1922, A385, Box 1, NAA (ACT).↩︎

  82. Turkish Subjects in Victoria, RSB/BD, Melbourne, 3 October 1922, A385, Box 1, NAA (ACT).↩︎

  83. Joseph Abdullah to Home Secretary, 7760, 9 June 1903, Col/74(a), QSA.↩︎

  84. Joseph Morad to Department of External Affairs, A1/1, 07/4778, NAA (ACT).↩︎

  85. J. F. Fitzgerald & Power, Solicitors to Under Secretary, Department of External Affairs, 06/7156, 10 October 1906, A1/15, 06/8801, NAA (ACT).↩︎

  86. D.H. Hogan to Minister for Home and Territories, 19/7316, 2 June 1919, A1, 21/8418, NAA (ACT).↩︎

  87. Richard Saleeby to Department of External Affairs, 04/682, 5 May 1904, A1/1, 05/3040, NAA (ACT); D. H. Hogan to Department of Home & Territories, 19/7316, 2 June 1919, A1, 21/8418, NAA (ACT).↩︎

  88. SMH, 21 October 1896, 6.↩︎

  89. Michael Malouf to Commonwealth Attorney General’s Department, 8550, 11 July 1918, A1/1, 30/1083, NAA (ACT). E. Austin Bell to Major Saunders, Victoria Barracks, Brisbane, 13 January 1916, A1/1, 30/1083, NAA (ACT).↩︎

  90. Commonwealth Parliamentary Debates (CPD), vol. 14, 9 July 1903, 1936.↩︎

  91. Yarwood, Asian Migration to Australia, 150.↩︎

  92. Jens Lyng, Non-Britishers in Australia: Influence on Population and Progress (Melbourne: University of Melbourne, 1935), 186.↩︎

  93. Ibid.↩︎

  94. Illustrated Sydney News, 19 November 1892, 4.↩︎

  95. SMH, 3 February 1893, 2.↩︎

  96. SMH, 28 October 1896, 5; SMH, 14 January 1896, 3.↩︎

  97. SMH, 16 September 1898, 5.↩︎

  98. SMH, 9 June 1898, 5.↩︎

  99. Bulletin, 18 January 1906, 7.↩︎

  100. Ibid.↩︎

  101. Yarwood, Asian Migration to Australia, 141–50.↩︎

  102. SMH, 23 October 1896, 3.↩︎

  103. Atlee Hunt, Memorandum for the Minister, Department of External Affairs and Chief Clerk, Department of External Affairs, Memorandum, 20363, 27 October 1914.↩︎

  104. CPD, vol. 14, 9 July 1903, 1938.↩︎

  105. Ibid.↩︎

  106. CPD, vol. 14, 9 July 1903, 1938-1939.↩︎

  107. Chief Clerk of the Department of External Affairs, Memorandum, 20363, 27 October 1914.↩︎

  108. Atlee Hunt, Memorandum for the Minister, Department of External Affairs, 20363, 27 October 1914.↩︎

  109. Ibid. See Gualtieri, Between Arab and White for a detailed discussion of these cases.↩︎

  110. Ibid.↩︎

  111. Michael Malouf to Secretary of the Department of Home and Territories, 14803, 16 October 1919.↩︎

  112. Under Secretary, Chief Secretary’s Office, Brisbane to Secretary, Department of External Affairs, 14/15989, 20 October 1914, A1/1, 21/11220, NAA (ACT).↩︎

  113. Under Secretary, Chief Secretary’s Office, Brisbane to Secretary, Department of External Affairs, 9/6279, 10 June 1909, A1/1, 09/13029 & 15/665, 16 February 1915, A1/1, 15/665, NAA (ACT).↩︎

  114. Atlee Hunt to George Saleam, 08/7603, 25 July 1908, A1/1, 08/7603; Under Secretary, Chief Secretary’s Office, Brisbane to Secretary, Department of External Affairs, 08/5765, 6 June 1908; A1/1, Atlee Hunt to George Saleam, 8/7603, 12 October 1908, A1/1, 08/7603; Davis Saleam, Statutory Declaration, 15 June 1914, A1/1, 21/23734, NAA (ACT).↩︎

  115. Under Secretary, Chief Secretary’s Office, Brisbane to Secretary, Department of External Affairs, 12/17627, 8 November 1912, A1/1, 13/4284; Atlee Hunt, Memorandum for the Minister, Department of External Affairs, 13/2619, 20 February 1913, A1/1, 13/4284, NAA (ACT).↩︎

  116. Chief Clerk, Department of External Affairs, Memorandum, 20363, 27 October 1914.↩︎

  117. Atlee Hunt, Memorandum for the Minister, Department of External Affairs, 20363, 27 October 1914.↩︎

  118. SMH, 27 February 1893, 8.↩︎

  119. SMH, 23 October 1896, 3.↩︎

  120. SMH, 21 October 1896, 6; SMH, 28 October 1896, 5; SMH, 3 November 1896, 6.↩︎

  121. SMH, 21 October 1896, 6.↩︎

  122. Alexander T. Yarwood, “The White Australia Policy,” in Jupp, ed., The Australian People, 81.↩︎

  123. Laksiri Jayasuriya, “Immigration Policies and Ethnic Relations in Australia,” in Conference on Canada 2000: Race Relations and Public Policy (Carleton University Proceedings, 1989), 103–42.↩︎

  124. Chief Clerk, Department of External Affairs, Memorandum, 20363, 27 October 1914.↩︎

  125. Department of External Affairs, Memorandum, 10/1092, 16 March 1910, A1/1, 10/3915, NAA (ACT).↩︎

  126. Wadih Abourizk to Alfred Deakin, 09/5456, 10 January 1910 and Wadih Abourizk to Egerton Batchelor, 10/1092, 7 June 1910, A1/1, 10/3915, NAA (ACT).­­­­­↩︎

  127. Wadih Abourizk to Alfred Deakin, 09/5456, 10 January 1910.↩︎

  128. Wadih Abourizk to Egerton. Batchelor, 10/1092, 7 June 1910.↩︎

  129. Wadih Abourizk to Alfred Deakin, 09/5456, 10 January 1910.↩︎

  130. Secretary, Department of External Affairs to Wadih Abourizk, 10/1092, 13 June 1910, A1/1, 10/3915, NAA (ACT).↩︎

  131. Monsour, Not Quite White; Atlee Hunt, Memorandum for the Minister, Department of External Affairs, 20363, 27 October 1914 & Chief Clerk, Department of External Affairs, Memorandum, 20363, 27 October 1914.↩︎

  132. Chief Clerk, Department of External Affairs, Memorandum, 20363, 27 October 1914.↩︎

  133. Egerton L Batchelor to General Secretary, Australian Natives Association, 20363, 4 January 1911, A1/1, 14/20363, NAA (ACT).↩︎

  134. Ibid.↩︎

  135. Ibid.↩︎

  136. Department of External Affairs, Commonwealth Naturalization: Inclusion of Syrians, 03100, 10 February 1915, A6006/1, 3rd Fisher 14 September–15 October, NAA (ACT).↩︎

  137. Ibid.↩︎

  138. CPD, vol. 94, 26 October 1920, 5962.↩︎

  139. Yarwood, Asian Migration to Australia, 149; J.A.C., Home & Territories Department, Memorandum, 22/16655, 19 October 1922, A6006, Bruce—Page January–July 1924, 1924/05/01, NAA (ACT).↩︎

  140. Yarwood, Asian Migration to Australia, 149; Tom Clarke and Brian Galligan, “Protecting the Citizen Body: The Commonwealth’s Role in Shaping and Defending an ‘Australian’ Population,” Australian Journal of Political Science, 30 (1995): 452–68.↩︎

  141. Yarwood, Asian Migration to Australia, 149; Egerton L. Batchelor to General Secretary, Australian Natives Association, Perth, 20363, 4 January 1911.↩︎