The Anglo-Italian Treaty: Australia’s imperial obligations to Italian migrants, 1883-1940

Dewhirst, Catherine (2014) The Anglo-Italian Treaty: Australia’s imperial obligations to Italian migrants, 1883-1940. In: Italy and Australia: an asymmetrical relationship. Connor Court Publishing, Ballarat, Australia, pp. 81-113. ISBN 9781925138023


Australia’s diplomatic relations with Italy date back to the 1883 Treaty of Commerce and Navigation between Britain and the Italian Kingdom. This ‘Anglo-Italian Treaty’ was made in the spirit of liberal trade relations and in the context of economic imperialism. It encompassed Great Britain’s colonies and dominions, and was particularly relevant for the white settler societies of Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Although a commercial treaty, its recognition of most-favoured nation status meant that Italians could hold equal status to that of British subjects in terms of reciprocal travel, residency and land-ownership rights. The history of the Treaty in Australia – in effect until Italy entered the Second World War in 1940 and only made defunct in 1947 – presents a series of diplomatic negotiations for withdrawal from and political scuffles over interpretations of the Treaty. More than a means towards independence from Britain, analysis of archival records shows that these dealings reflect Australia’s changing perceptions of Italian migrants, particularly in relation to Italian migrant workers in North Queensland. This chapter engages with the developments that punctuate the Treaty’s history with a focus on imperial ties with Great Britain and frictions between the Commonwealth and the state of Queensland.

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Item Type: Book Chapter (Commonwealth Reporting Category B)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Arts and Communication
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2014 00:17
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2019 04:08
Uncontrolled Keywords: Anglo-Italian Treaty of 1883 (Australia); imperialism; international diplomacy; Italian migrants; North Queensland
Fields of Research : 21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210305 British History
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 94 Law, Politics and Community Services > 9401 Community Service (excl. Work) > 940116 Social Class and Inequalities

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