Immigration Restriction Act

Immigration Restriction Act

Immigration Restriction Act

Title: Immigration Restriction Act 1901

Date: 23/12/1901

Dimensions: 400mm x 320mm

Material: Ink on parchment, wax, fabric

Provenance: House of Representatives

Image courtesy of the
National Archives of Australia

Description: This Act consists of several pages bound by a blue ribbon, on which is a red wax seal, it was created to restrict 'undesirable' non-European migration to Australia. The Act describes its use of the Dictation Test by the Department of External Affairs which determined entry into Australia. The Act was in use from 1901 to 1958 when it was replaced by the Migration Act, still in use today. Notable amendments to the Migration act include cessation of the Dictation Test and migrant detention. 

Significance: The language used is indicative of privilege and superiority, some deciding who enters the new country of Australia and those which need be removed. It provides evidence of the control which the new Federal government exercised on the composition of Australia, to remain 'white'.

Related links:

Archive record: Migration Act 2014:

Text Transcript: An Act. To place certain restrictions on Immigration and to provide for the removal from the Commonwealth of prohibited Immigrants. Be it enacted by the King's Most Excellent Majesty the Senate and the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Australia as follows:--

 This Act may be cited as the Immigration Restriction Act 1901

 In this Act, unless the contrary intention appears,-- "Officer" means any officer appointed under this Act or any Officer of Customs: "The Minister" mean the Minister of External Affairs.

The Immigration into the Commonwealth of the person described in any of the following paragraphs of this section (herein- after called "prohibited immigrants") is prohibited namely:-- (a) Any person who when asked to do so by an officer fails to write out at dictation and sign in the presence of the officer passage of fifty words in length in a European language directed by the officer:....

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