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Revealing Perth's Multicultural Past

Revealing Perth's Multicultural Past

The National Archives of Australia has recently digitised almost 5000 identity documents from 1900 to 1955. Non-British residents needed these certificates of exemption so they could return to Australia without sitting a near-impossible dictation test. The documents – many of which contain photographs and handprints – are an incredible record of Asian communities in Western Australia during the era of the White Australia Policy. They show how these migrants helped shape early 20th century Perth – as entrepreneurs, market gardeners, hawkers and even sportspeople. 

Join us for a free talk to hear some of their stories and find out how National Archives is preserving these valuable records. View original certificates of exemption and see the faces of Perth captured in stunning photographs. Pose for your own period-style portrait in our photo booth, and try to pass the infamous dictation test used to keep unwanted migrants from entering Australia in the early 20th Century.


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    Event Showings

    Sat 20 Apr

    Exhibition: 10:30am - 1pm
    Talk: 11am - 12pm

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    Free event

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    National Archives of Australia (WA)

    Ground Floor, William Square, 45 Francis Street

    Northbridge WA 6003

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    Accessible toilets

    ACROD Parking

    Wheelchair access