Menu toggle

National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer

4

Australia for the Australians, White Australia

2004.0063.0001

Australia for the Australians, White Australia

Object information

Physical description

Circular brass badge that has a small decorative scroll across the top, which contains a hole that the badge can be suspended from. On one side "AUSTRALIA FOR THE AUSTRALIANS" is cast in relief around the rim, and "WHITE / AUSTRALIA" is cast in relief on the silver-painted shape of Australia in the voided centre. The other side has "POPULATION PRODUCTION PROGRESS cast in relief around the rim, and "PROTECTION" cast in relief on Australia. There are no maker's marks on the badge.

Statement of significance

The White Australia Protection Badge collection comprises a badge featuring a map of the Australian continent crafted from white metal suspended inside a brass circle. On the obverse of the badge the words 'WHITE AUSTRALIA' are stamped on the map and the words 'AUSTRALIA FOR THE AUSTRALIANS' are stamped on the surrounding circle. On the reverse the word 'PROTECTION' is stamped on the map and the words 'POPULATION PRODUCTION PROGRESS' on the circle. The badge measures 28mm x 24mm x 1mm and is in excellent condition.

The White Australia Protection badge dates from the period following the Federation of Australian Colonies in 1901, during which time definitions of Australian national identity were at the forefront of public and political discourse. The badge illustrates how the rhetoric surrounding Australian nationhood and national identity often drew upon notions of race, with many Australians believing that true national unity and a successful society demanded a homogeneous white population-a White Australia. Notions of White Australia can be traced back to the 1850s and directly informed the development of the White Australia policy which governed Australian approaches to immigration from 1901 until the early 1970s.

Object information

Back to top