The strategic fears of the ruling class: the construction of Queensland's Chinese Immigrants Regulation Act of 1877

Griffiths, Phil (2012) The strategic fears of the ruling class: the construction of Queensland's Chinese Immigrants Regulation Act of 1877. Australian Journal of Politics and History, 58 (1). pp. 1-19. ISSN 0004-9522


In early 1877, there were no immigration restrictions in any of the Australian colonies. Queensland's Chinese Immigrants Regulation Act of 1877 was the first of many laws that restricted Chinese immigration, in a movement that ultimately led to the White Australia legislation of 1901-2. This article finds that, contrary to the hegemonic understanding of White Australia, there was no significant working class or popular pressure behind the passage of the Act. Instead, it reflected the agendas of Queensland's elite, and in particular their concern that a large influx of Chinese people to the Palmer River goldfield could threaten their strategic control of Far North Queensland. In support of anti-Chinese laws, Queensland's conservative newspapers whipped up fears of a Chinese 'invasion', a theme that would continue for nearly a century.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2011 The University of Queensland and Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd. Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Business and Law - School of Accounting, Economics and Finance
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2012 07:34
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2015 03:26
Uncontrolled Keywords: White Australia; Queensland; Chinese immigration; ruling class strategy; colonial; settler state
Fields of Research : 16 Studies in Human Society > 1606 Political Science > 160601 Australian Government and Politics
21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
16 Studies in Human Society > 1608 Sociology > 160803 Race and Ethnic Relations
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 94 Law, Politics and Community Services > 9402 Government and Politics > 940299 Government and Politics not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8497.2012.01620.x

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