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Australian Refugee History - Asylum and Resettlement Policy


Histories of Immigration and Refuge: A Panel Discussion, 1947-1970s

Join historians Dr Alexandra Dellios, Dr Jayne Persian and Dr Claire Higgins for a discussion of the hidden stories and behind-the-scenes decisions in Australian refugee history, chaired by Professor Frank Bongiorno, ANU.

Spanning the resettlement of the Displaced Persons who built post-war Australia, to the arrival of Vietnamese asylum seekers by boat and the introduction of mandatory detention, the panel will show how historical research is essential to understanding Australia’s treatment of refugees today.

Tickets: $12
Includes a complimentary glass of wine or soft drink and post-event nibbles (and more wine)


This event is being organised by the Centre for Heritage and Museum Studies, School of Archaeology and Anthropology, ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences, The Australian National University


Dr Alexandra Dellios is the author of Histories of Controversies: Bonegilla Migrant Centre (MUP, 2017), revealing an alternative picture of the migrant centre's role as a place of containment, control, deprivation and political discontent. This book tells a more complex tale than a harmonious making of modern Australia to include stories of migrant resistance and their demands on a society and its systems. Alexandra is a cultural historian and a lecturer at the Centre for Heritage and Museum Studies at the Australian National University.



Dr Jayne Persian is the author of Beautiful Balts: From Displaced Persons to New Australians (NewSouth, 2017). The book recounts the extraordinary story of Australia’s first large-scale settlement of non-Anglo-Celtic migrants, who transformed not only Australia’s immigration policy but the country itself. Jayne is a historian of twentieth century Australian and international history at the University of Southern Queensland, and Co-Chief Investigator on a 2016-19 ARC Discovery Project: Displacement and Resettlement: Russian and Russian-speaking Jewish displaced persons arriving in Australia via the ‘China’ route in the wake of the Second World War.


Dr Claire Higgins is the author of Asylum by Boat: origins of Australia’s refugee policy (NewSouth, 2017). The book traces how the Fraser government handled the arrival of Vietnamese asylum seekers by boat, and reveals how turn-backs and detention were proposed - and rejected. The Sydney Morning Herald has called Asylum by Boat ‘rigorous and scrupulously balanced’.  Claire is a Senior Research Associate at the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW.

Earlier Event: November 19
Krissy Kneen - An Uncertain Grace
Later Event: November 26
Griffith Review - Storied Lives