1961 - the Impact of Post-War Immigration
Assisted passage immigrants arrive in Australia,
Source - Unknown
In 1961 the population of Victoria was 1,474,395. Its profile had changed
dramatically with post-war immigration. While the English-born community was
still the largest, with 150,621 people, the next largest were the Italy-born
and German-born communities. Smaller but significant numbers from southern and
eastern Europe were also making their mark. Over 200,000 refugees had settled
in Australia since the end of World War II.
The suburbs of Melbourne were rapidly expanding in 1961 to cope with the
increasing population. Chadstone shopping centre had just opened, and car
ownership was rising. Monash University had its first intake of students, and
uniform divorce laws were introduced across Australia. Computers were beginning
to play a more significant role in the management of large-scale information,
and were used for first time by the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and
Statistics. Liberal Prime Minister Robert Menzies had held office for 12 years,
the longest term by an Australian Prime Minister.
Internationally, the Cold War was reaching its height, the Berlin Wall was being
constructed and Australian soldiers were sent to quell communism at the end of
the 'Malayan Emergency'.
The 1958 Migration Act finally removed references to race, opening the door to
non-discriminatory policy. However, non-European immigration to Australia
remained limited until the passage of the Racial Discrimination Act in 1975.
Nearly three million immigrants arrived in Australia between 1945 and 1970, of
whom a large proportion settled in Victoria. Australia's immigration program
became the second largest in the world, relative to its population (the largest
Almost every second immigrant came from Britain. Immigrants were also welcomed
from throughout Europe in a drive to increase national security and post-war
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