British India, White Australia: Overseas Indians, intercolonial relations and the Empire by Kama Maclean

Reviewed by
August 2020, no. 423
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Chris Wallace reviews 'British India, White Australia: Overseas Indians, intercolonial relations and the Empire' by Kama Maclean

British India, White Australia: Overseas Indians, intercolonial relations and the Empire

by Kama Maclean

UNSW Press, $39.99 pb, 332 pp

Buy this book

British India, White Australia: Overseas Indians, intercolonial relations and the Empire by Kama Maclean

Reviewed by
August 2020, no. 423

Australian Sikhs delivering free meals to fellow citizens in need has been a heart-warming news story against a backdrop of doom and gloom this year as bushfires then the coronavirus laid waste to life as we know it. Public housing tenants in lockdown, international students stranded without support, and bush-dwellers who lost everything in the fires are among those who benefited from their kindness and competence.

If only the Indian – often Sikh – hawkers who merchandised essential goods by horse and cart to isolated settlers in late colonial and early-Federation Australia could have lived to see the day. The federal ‘White Australia’ policy (1901–73), along with a further layer of discriminatory state laws, variously denied them and their compatriots the right to citizenship and the vote, to family reunion, and to work in all but a narrow range of jobs.

Chris Wallace reviews 'British India, White Australia: Overseas Indians, intercolonial relations and the Empire' by Kama Maclean

British India, White Australia: Overseas Indians, intercolonial relations and the Empire

by Kama Maclean

UNSW Press, $39.99 pb, 332 pp

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