Embroidered cushion gifted to Arthur Calwell
From thankful Ukrainians.
Ukrainian refugees presented this colourful cushion to Immigration Minister Arthur Calwell at the Bathurst Reception Centre on 19 September 1948.
Stitched on the reverse with ‘GIFT, from thankful Ukrainians’, it is evidence of both a community grateful at finding safe haven and a substantial change in immigration policy.
A substantial change in immigration policy.
Australia’s immigration program grew dramatically after the Second World War. Its aim was to create a strong economy through full employment. For the first time since Federation, Australia began accepting large numbers of people from across Europe in addition to those from Britain. The Chifley government’s slogan ‘Populate or perish’ promoted the policy as a way to safeguard Australia from future defence and economic threats.
Thousands of Europeans displaced by the war and fleeing the advance of communism were resettled. For many, Australia offered an opportunity for a fresh start. In turn, their arrival helped fuel social, political and industrial development, transforming Australia into a modern, multicultural nation.