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Travel Permit - Commonwealth of Australia, Issued to Mr Ah Him, 21 Nov 1941 Document Reg. No: HT 21767

Travel Permit issued by the Commonwealth of Australia to Mr Ah Him dated 21 November 1941. The permit allows him to leave Melbourne and board the SS Tinda. It is valid from the 21 November 1941 to the 22 November 1941 and provides an exemption from having to report a temporary change of residence.

Aliens (non-citizen residents) were closely monitored and were required to report changes of address and travel (both within Australia and overseas). These restrictions were even harsher for non-Europeans and Asian residents who were unable to apply for naturalisation, until 1957. During World War Two Aliens were monitored by State Police under the Commonwealth of Australia National Security (Aliens Control) Regulations.

Mr Ah Him was born on 12 October 1871 in Canton China. He is believed to have arrived in Australia in 1895 on the SS Eastern from Hong Kong, leaving his wife in China. He appears to have travelled back and forth between China on several occasions, most likely to visit his wife, who would have been unable to join him in Australia under immigration laws introduced in 1903. The National Archives of Australia have documents relating to requests by Mr Ah Him for exemption from the dictation test on his return to Australia from China. The dictation test was used by immigration officers as a means of restricting entry into Australia and enforcing the White Australia Policy.

Ah Him recorded as living in Northcote in 1940 and moved to Little Bourke Street towards the end of 1941, this change is recorded on this certificate. Mr Him was employed as a laundry man, which was a common occupation among Asian immigrants in the early 1900s. Employment in Victoria's laundries peaked in 1913 when 31 percent of laundry workers were Chinese.
Half foolscap size paper entitled 'Travel Permit' with masthead 'Commonwealth of Australia. National Security (Aliens Control) Regulations'. Form completed (typed) with details regarding applicant's name, nationality, Alien Certificate Number and place of issue. Outlines permit conditions being the period, purpose and other details of intended travel. Reverse of this document has chinese character writing lower right corner.
Statement Of Significance:
These documents are a significant addition to the Museum's immigration documents collection. They are amongst the few documents in the collection to represent Chinese immigration and settlement experiences and illustrate Australia's immigration laws regarding residents categorized as 'aliens'. The collection is also of interest for the insight it offers into the involvement of the police in the administration of these laws. During the 1940s the state police branches administered and monitored 'alien' residents under the Commonwealth of Australia National Security (Aliens Control) Regulations (as well as the wartime enemy alien tracking) - this was prior to the formation of the Dept of Immigration in 1945. Finally, the documents are visually powerful, some including a photograph and fingerprints of one of the residents.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Robert Larkins, 2005
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 170 mm (Height), 209 mm (Width)

More information

Tagged with: chinese communities, chinese immigration, immigration, immigration policies, immigration selection, white australia policy, identifications, government policies
Themes this item is part of: Migration Collection
Primary Classification: MIGRATION
Secondary Classification: Naturalisation & Citizenship
Tertiary Classification: identification
Inscriptions: Text, printed: COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA/Defence (Natinal Security-Aliens control) Regulations/TRAVEL PERMIT.
Issued By: Commonwealth of Australia, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 21 Nov 1941
Issued To: Mr Ah Him, Northcote, Victoria, Australia, 21 Nov 1941
References: Short biography of Robert Larkins supplied by Victorian Police Museum

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