The ‘Southern question’ in Australia: the 1925 Royal Commission’s Racialisation of Southern Italians

Dewhirst, Catherine (2014) The ‘Southern question’ in Australia: the 1925 Royal Commission’s Racialisation of Southern Italians. Queensland History Journal, 22 (4). pp. 316-332. ISSN 1836-5477


Thomas Arthur Ferry (1877-1963) conducted several Royal Commissions in his role as under-secretary for Queensland’s Premier and Chief Secretary’s Department. His now frequently cited first Report remains the most controversial. While racialising Southern Italians, he articulated the ‘Southern Question’, but this Royal Commission was also symptomatic of systemic racism in Australia. Drawing from Eduardo Bonilla-Silva’s theory of ‘racialized social systems’ and Thomas Guglielmo’s application of this framework in his analysis of Italian-Americans in Chicago, this article focuses on the racialist origins, continuities and implications of the Ferry Report which crystallised the racist attitudes of the day.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Arts and Communication
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2014 02:47
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2019 04:07
Uncontrolled Keywords: Southern question; Royal Commission; racialisation; Southern Italians
Fields of Research : 21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australia's Past

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