Identity, community and place
: the post-World War II Eurasian Exodus from Malaysia and Singapore to Australia

  • Ione Maria Jolly

    Student thesis: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - CDU


    The post-World War II Eurasian Exodus from Malaysia and Singapore to Australia was part of a global migration of communities of mixed-descent peoples, displaced by the slow death of colonialism in their respective countries. Despite the existence of extensive literature on the migration of the Anglo-Indian, Sri Lankan Burgher and Dutch Indo communities, little has been written about the migration of the Eurasian community.

    Seeking to define the Eurasian Exodus, this study also sets out to determine its extent and the rationale behind it. Analysis of migration case files from the Australian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur (1967-1985) contained in National Archives of Australia series number A8096 illustrates the impact the changing nature of Australia’s mixed descent immigration policy had on the migration of Eurasians from Malaysia and Singapore to Australia. Qualitative interviews with Eurasian migrants provide insight into their migration rationale and the challenges they faced once they arrived in Australia.

    This thesis asserts that the extent of the Eurasian Exodus was more significant than previously thought. While many migrated, it is open to debate whether life was ‘better’ for Eurasians in Australia or in Malaysia or Singapore. For many it was, and still is, a matter of perspective. The manner in which migrants chose which elements of their Eurasian culture to maintain has had a lasting impact on whether their children and grandchildren identify as Eurasian or not.

    Filling a void in the existing scholarship on mixed-descent migration to Australia under the White Australia Policy, this study provides a greater understanding of the Eurasian Exodus and the impact on that Exodus of the Australian government’s changing policy on mixed-descent migration. It also raises awareness in readers of the sacrifices made, challenges faced and obstacles overcome by Eurasian immigrants to Australia in the post-World War II period.
    Date of AwardAug 2017
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorSteven Farram (Supervisor)

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