Sunday, 4 March 2012

STORY BACKGROUND


Australia was a new country and maintained a ‘White Australia Policy’.  This policy, amongst others, effectively allowed for the preference of British migrants over all others through the first decades of the 20th century.

After the attack and threat of invasion by the Japanese, and a new awareness of Australia’s vulnerability, the Australian government began the ‘Populate or Perish’ policy.  Under this assisted migration scheme, citizens from all Commonwealth countries were recruited to immigrate to Australia.  This was known colloquially as the ‘Ten Pound Pom’ scheme.

Later, the scheme was extended to immigrants from northern European countries with the belief that they would more easily assimilate with the Australian community.  After World War Two, Australia also welcomed refugees from war-torn Europe who were known as ‘Displaced Persons’.

The second wave of post-war immigration arrived in the 1950s and 1960s.  These included migrants from Italy, Greece, Malta, Croatia and Turkey.

Unfortunately many of the British settlers saw the newcomers as foreigners.  The term ‘wogs’ amongst others, was used frequently.

The native peoples or aboriginals who had been treated harshly and imprisoned in the early years of settlement, had more hardship placed upon them.  ‘Half-caste’ Aboriginal children - those of mixed breeding -were forcibly removed from their parents and institutionalised.  The problems associated with these actions are still prevalent in today’s society.  These persons are known as the ‘Stolen Generation’.

Child migration schemes for underprivileged British children in Canada, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and Australia promised a better life, and parents were persuaded to sign over legal guardianship of their children.  These children as well as orphans and indigenous children were badly treated and abused, and are known as the ‘Forgotten Australians.’

In my first two novels, I have used this history as a backdrop for my stories.  Growing up in ‘white’ Australia as children/young people of immigrant parents, my characters struggle to find their place and acceptance in a highly prejudiced society.  In an era of so-called progress, being torn between two cultures was both unsettling and problematic.

‘Heart’s Promise’ begins in the mid 1970’s and ‘Where The Heart Is’ continues to the early 1980’s.  They are two individual stories of emotional struggle, loss, acceptance and love.  

Set in my hometown, I have added a little local history to help the reader get the feel of small town life.

Once a quiet rural area, the town is on the verge of change.  The arrival of a large American mining company is the beginning of the region’s transformation.  But that’s another story…




2 comments:

  1. Thanks for a really interesting post on Australian history. Concise and eye-opening!

    ReplyDelete

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