On 25 March, 6.30pm at the Museo Italiano (199 Faraday Street, Carlton 3053), Dr Eureka Henrich (University of Leicester) will give a talk on The ‘Problem’ of Migrant Health in Post-War Australia.
In the quarter-century following the Second World War Australia embarked upon an unprecedented immigration programme which encouraged 2.5 million people to move to the other side of the world. Assisted passage agreements were brokered with Britain, the Netherlands, Italy, West Germany, Austria, Greece, Turkey and Yugoslavia, as well as with the International Refugee Organisation, the latter facilitating the journeys of more than 170,000 refugees from Central and Eastern Europe. These migrants were intended to increase national security by bolstering the Australian population, and to provide the essential labour for an expanding economy. The Department of Information, together with the Department of Immigration orchestrated a publicity campaign to allay domestic concerns about the arrival of so many ‘Poms’ and ‘foreigners’. They emphasised the health and assimilability of these ‘New Australians’, portraying robust and friendly young workers keen to shake off their pasts and become fellow citizens. To attract migrants, an image of Australia as a ‘healthy haven’ was cultivated, with an emphasis on quality of life and an abundance of opportunities.