Skip to main content

Race, History, and the Australian Faith Missions


In 1901, the parliament of the new Commonwealth of Australia passed a series of laws designed, in the words of the Prime Minister Edmund Barton, “to make a legislative declaration of our racial identity”. An Act to expel the large Pacific Islander community in North Queensland was followed by a law restricting further immigration to applicants who could pass a literacy test in a European language. In 1902, under the Commonwealth Franchise Act, “all natives of Asia and Africa” as well as Aboriginal people were explicitly denied the right to vote in federal elections. The “White Australia policy”, enshrined in these laws, was almost universally supported by Australian politicians, with only two members of parliament speaking against the restriction of immigration on racial grounds.

Hide All

* Joanna Cruickshank lectures in Australian and Pacific history at Deakin University. She has published on the history of Methodism in eighteenth-century England and Aboriginal missions in nineteenth-century Australia. Her e-mail address is .

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 0165-1153
  • EISSN: 2041-2827
  • URL: /core/journals/itinerario
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 152 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 278 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 20th November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.