In a small waiting-room at Blank Hospital a girl was walking up and down, with quick, impatient steps. Every few minutes she stopped to listen; then, hearing no sound, she resumed her walk, with hands clasped and lips set firmly together. She was evidently in a state of high nervous excitement, for the pupils of her eyes were so dilated that they flashed black as night instead of gray; and a bright red spot burned in either cheek. In the corner, in an attitude of anxious dejection, sat a small dog.
The story of Australia's post-war immigration program is well known, but little has been written about migration to Australia between the wars. This 1995 book is a systematic study of assisted emigration from Britain to Australia during the inter-war years. It looks at the British and Australian politicians and bureaucrats involved in the program and the half-million migrants who uprooted themselves. While their imperial ties were significant, the book shows that British and Australian governments acted in their own interests, using migration to meet their different needs, with little regard for the migrants themselves. Michael Roe shows that the Anglo-Australian relationship was rife with contradictions and these often came to a head in the debates over migration. Not only is the book an important study of imperial relations in the 1920s and 1930s, it describes an important and overlooked aspect of Australian political and social history.
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