Money for immigration, health and Anglo-Chinese travels

Media release: Wednesday, 5 December 2012

The National Archives of Australia has announced the winners of its annual research grants, this year worth a total of $40,000. Each year the National Archives awards three grants, one for established scholars, one for talented emerging scholars and one for archivists and other professionals.

The winning topics for the 2012 grants include a history of the Commonwealth Department of Immigration, an exploration of the longstanding debate about the roles of federal and state governments in Australia's health system, and an investigation of the overseas travels of Australians of Anglo-Chinese descent, from the turn of the twentieth century to the outbreak of World War II.

'It is very heartening to see such talented researchers using the vast resources of the National Archives to extend our knowledge of Australia's history,' said Director-General David Fricker. 'We are proud to be associated with their research projects and to support them with these grants.'

The $15,000 Frederick Watson Fellowship for established scholars was awarded to Dr Gwenda Tavan from La Trobe University for her project Gods, Guides and Gatekeepers: A Political History of the Commonwealth Department of Immigration 1945-1949.

Dr Anne-marie Boxall, from the Deeble Institute, Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association received the Margaret George Award for emerging scholars. Her project Australian hospitals, federal governments and some enduring policy dilemmas received grant funding of $9,968.

The Ian Maclean Award for archivists and other professionals went to historian Dr Kate Bagnall whose project Paper trails: Travels with Anglo-Chinese Australians, 1900-1939 will demonstrate the possibilities for using new technologies to access and understand archival records and show how archives can reveal the history of marginalised communities from Australia's past. Dr Bagnall received grant funding of $14,825.

Details on how to apply for the 2013 awards are on the National Archives website

Contact information

  • Elizabeth Masters (Media Officer)
    t (02) 6212 3957 m 0427 853 664 e elizabeth.masters@naa.gov.au
  • Shaun Rohrlach (Director, Communications and Programs)
    t (02) 6212 3990 m 0434 664 621 e shaun.rohrlach@naa.gov.au

NATIONAL ARCHIVES’ RESEARCH GRANTS

Supporting archival research

One of the National Archives' key roles is to promote archival research in Australia and to encourage scholarly use of our collection. We offer three research grants for advanced research and professional development:

The awards and fellowships are designed to help scholars complete an innovative research project that:
  • is significant to Australian audiences
  • makes substantial use of the National Archives collection
  • produces articles, a book, website, exhibition, film or event to promote the National Archives collection.

The Archives also participates in collaborative research with universities and other cultural institutions through the Australian Research Council grants scheme.

Frederick Watson Fellowship

The Frederick Watson Fellowship for established scholars was awarded to Dr Gwenda Tavan from La Trobe University for her project Gods, Guides and Gatekeepers: A Political History of the Commonwealth Department of Immigration 1945-1949.

Dr Tavan’s project will result in a history of the establishment of the Commonwealth Department of Immigration. She will trace the development of the organisational culture of the Department of Immigration in the fledgling years of 1945-1949, with an emphasis on how policy-makers and government leaders established and maintained political and administrative control over the immigration program.

Her project will provide an insight into the founding of one of the most important and controversial government departments of the twentieth century.  She will also examine the role of Immigration Minister Arthur Calwell in the operations of the department and prepare a guide on National Archives resources

Margaret George Award

Dr Anne-marie Boxall, from the Health Policy Research Institute, Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association received the Margaret George Award for emerging scholars. Her project Australian hospitals, federal governments and some enduring policy dilemmas received grant funds of $9,968.

Dr Boxall says there has been a longstanding debate in Australia’s health system about the roles of federal and state governments and the public and private sectors. Her project will explore the recent history of these debates by examining a particularly tumultuous period in Australian health policy, the 1970s and 1980s. During this period, the Whitlam Government implemented a universal health system Medibank, the Fraser Government modified it, and the Hawke Government reinstated it as Medicare.

The project aims to identify the enduring policy challenges facing governments when trying to balance federalism and the public and private hospitals sectors.

Ian Maclean Award

The Ian Maclean Award for archivists and other professionals went to historian Dr Kate Bagnall whose project Paper trails: Travels with Anglo-Chinese Australians, 1900-1939 will demonstrate the possibilities for using new technologies to access and understand archival records.

In the early twentieth century, Anglo-Chinese Australians travelled overseas, primarily to Hong Kong and China, on holidays, for education, business and to visit family. Like other ‘non-white’ Australians, they were subject to the regulations of the Immigration Restriction Act 1901 (later the Immigration Act), under which they did not have an automatic right of return to Australia, even though they were Australian-born British subjects who, ethnically, were half-European.

The project will involve the creation of an online database about 150 Anglo-Chinese Australians, featuring biographical information and details of overseas travel sourced from National Archives records and with links to those records. This database will form the centre of a website which will also include introductory essays, maps and visualisations, case studies, a gallery of archival material and a guide to understanding the records.

The project will document their travel experiences and their negotiation of bureaucratic processes under the Immigration Restriction Act, as well as highlighting the rich and detailed records about ‘non-white’ Australians held in the National Archives collection.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2017