Behind the rigid ramparts of the White Australia policy, the hope of creating a white nation in which no man would disdain any kind of work offered fulfilment. The understandable fear of a white nation set in ‘coloured seas’ and surrounded by foreign faiths would have, in my view, fuelled this hope. A few coloured immigrants incidentally or accidentally within Australia did not appear to have been seen as a threat to this policy.
The Australian Aborigines, who had unknowingly tarnished the imagined terra nullius in the southern ocean, were not expected to be a problem: they would be bred out through ready access to the necessary wombs, and the resulting whitish children removed and placed within white families. Together with able-bodied men, they would all provide free labour wherever they were. ‘Blackbirding’ (a.k.a. slavery) from Pacific Islands added to the workforce where needed.
It was indeed a great achievement for the diverse Anglo-Celt tribes from the British Isles to eventually becoming transformed into an Australian people. Despite a prolonged and somewhat bitter sectarian religious divide, which was not completely dissipated until the arrival of much-needed able-bodied European immigrants, Australian men volunteered to protect Britain in two World Wars.
The cement which bonded the diverse British tribes in Australia was obviously based upon a shared culture (a way of life), a common language, and (presumably) a keen awareness of ‘them’ (coloured people) and ‘us.’
Then, most admirably, there developed the fabled ‘fair-go’ ethos – a very rare feeling for the welfare of fellowmen within any nation. This ethos underpins much of Australia’s socio-economic policies.
The massive immigration program introduced in the late 1940s, which brought in European labour (with some initial preference for Roman Catholics), did not erode this unified culture. The wonderful initiative of the Good Neighbour Councils, followed by a massive official program of settlement assistance (of which I was once part) sought to ensure the successful integration of massive waves of immigrants into Australia’s cultural ethos.
No ’ghettos’ were formed. Any embers of imported tribal prejudice were speedily and quietly extinguished. It was only in the late 1970s and 1980s that a faulty multiculturalism policy arose.