Treatment of Enemy Aliens in Queensland 1914-1920

Stories from the archives

This blog post is part of a series of essays commissioned by Queensland State Archives and written by historian Dr Murray Johnson.

Before the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, German migrants were held in high esteem for their industriousness and agricultural skills. Successive Queensland governments actively encouraged German immigrants, who came to dominate rural communities in the Logan River district, Lockyer Valley, Darling Downs, Binjour Plateau in the Burnett, and centres in the far north.[1] With the declaration of war, however, the strength of that admiration was soon to be tested, and as records at Queensland State Archives reveal, it was often found wanting.

Letter from the Senior Inspector of Police, Brisbane, to the Commissioner of Police, Brisbane, enclosing a weekly return of German and Austrian reservists in the District, September 1914 Letter from the Senior Inspector of Police, Brisbane, to the Commissioner of Police, Brisbane, enclosing a weekly return of German and Austrian reservists in the District, September 1914

The British Empire and its allies – including Australia – were faced by four…

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