Not Quite White

Lebanese and the White Australia Policy

Anne Monsour,

Not Quite White: Lebanese and the White Australia Policy
 
 

Not Quite White focuses on early Lebanese immigration to Australia, a group of immigrants and their descendants, who, with a few exceptions, have been largely ignored in the recording of Australian history.

While this book considers the experience of one immigrant group within the context of a particular locality and time, it is also about Australia as a ‘new' nation seeking to privilege a white, Christian majority. The Lebanese Australian story contributes a new understanding of the implementation of the White Australia Policy because although Lebanese do not feature predominately in historical studies of the White Australia Policy, in fact, when it came to its administration, they presented a significant challenge.

The structure of the book is outlined below:

Chapter one considers basic questions such as: who were the immigrants; where did they come from; how many came; when and why did they come to Australia and, in particular, to Queensland?

Chapters two, three and four are primarily based on archival research and consider the impact of exclusionary legislation such as the Queensland Aliens Act, and the Immigration Restriction Act.

In chapter five, the generally accepted portrayal of Lebanese immigrants throughout the world as indefatigable traders is scrutinised in the Australian context; and chapter six examines the mainstream response to the involvement of the early Lebanese immigrants in commercial enterprises such as hawking and shopkeeping.

The final two chapters focus on the settlement experience of Lebanese using Queensland as a case study. Through the use of interviews and questionnaires, these chapters give ‘voice' is to the immigrants and their descendants.



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