Subjects and Aliens 2017

Subjects and Aliens 2017  |  Program and abstracts  |  Transport

Subjects and Aliens: Histories of Nationality in Australia and New Zealand

Date: Tuesday, 28 November 2017
Time: 9.00 am to 4.00 pm
Location: Room 2001 and 2003, Level 2, Building 19, University of Wollongong
Cost: $30 for non-UOW attendees; free for speakers, UOW staff and UOW students (includes lunch and refreshments)

Until the middle of the twentieth century, residents of Australia and New Zealand were categorised by law as either ‘British subjects’ or ‘aliens’. Using these categories as a starting point, this one-day symposium will consider histories of nationality and citizenship in Australia and New Zealand over the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In particular, the symposium will explore the intersection of nationality with gender, race and ethnicity in a range of legal and social contexts.

Keynote speaker: Professor Kim Rubenstein, Australian National University

The constitutional foundation to exclusion: Understanding the impact of the scope of the ‘aliens and naturalization power’

This paper sets up the constitutional foundations to the other papers being presented throughout the day – in understanding how British subject status and alienage has shaped understandings of membership throughout Australia’s history. This continues to this very day, culminating in the recent arguments by the Solicitor-General of Australia in the matter before the High Court on section 44 (1) of the Constitution. The recent judgment in that case will be analysed to reflect on this thesis proposed.


    • Kate Bagnall – Chinese restriction, naturalisation and mobility in colonial and post-Federation Australia
    • Jane McCabe – ‘Could you please tell me what I am?’: Race, appearance and belonging in 1920s New Zealand
    • Sophie Couchman – ‘Not substantially of European origin or descent’: Race and military service from Australia’s federation to the end of World War I
    • Emma Bellino – Section 18A: Not quite a citizen
    • Angela Wanhalla – Race, marriage and nationality during the Pacific War
    • Peter Prince – Samuel Griffith and the ‘alien’ Islanders
    • Julia Martínez – Japanese residents as aliens in Australia, 1914–1924

This event is supported by the Colonial and Settler Studies Network and the Feminist Research Network at the University of Wollongong.

Transport: For information on getting to Wollongong and to the University of Wollongong, see our Transport page.

Venue: The symposium will be held in two rooms on Level 2 of Building 19 (Arts Building). Room 2001 is our break-out room and Room 2003 is our meeting room. The Research Hub (Room 2072), also on Level 2, is available if you need some quiet space away from the symposium. Lift access is available at the main (eastern) entry to Building 19. Disabled parking is available in the Main Car Park (P2).

View a floor plan of Building 19 (pdf).

Use these maps to help get around:

Twitter hashtag: #uowcass17

Symposium convenor: Dr Kate Bagnall
Symposium administrator: Lauren Samuelsson

Got a question? Please email Kate Bagnall at

Image – National Archives of Australia: A1, 1922/8707