A little fair play


Quairading School. Image shamelessly lifted from State Heritage Office site.

Depressing news that the heritage-listed Quairading School burnt down last night. As a piece of architecture it was completely average, but this was a key battleground in ensuring Aboriginal children received the same right to education as white kids.

For those who’ve seen the movie Rabbit Proof Fence, you will know the head of the Aborigines Department, A. O. Neville, was demonised in the film. But he turns out to be the good guy here, fighting the Education Department for the admission of Aboriginal kids to Quairading School when they had been excluded on racist grounds.

If you want the full story on the school check out this link.

But the real hero was John Kickett who simply wanted his offspring educated, and kept moving his family in the 1910s, struggling to find someone who would teach them. In a heart-breaking letter he sent to his local MP, John set out the reasons why Aboriginal children deserved better.

We have left the original spelling in the small excerpt below to show that John was barely literate, and writing a lengthy letter with all the formalities required in his day must have been a real effort. But his passion for ensuring the next generation did better shines through.

I wont a little Fair Play if you will Be so Kind Enough to see on my Beharfe since reciving the Letter from the Department Dated 30th April 1918 that My Children Cannot attend school at Quairading.

I see that the Education Department as let Johnny Fitzgeralds Children enter the State School north west of Quairading. They are attending the school four months just now this is not Fair at all. They were turned out of the Quairading State School for some reason and let them enter another. What I here is that Baxter made it right for them Because one of them is at the Front Fighting.

Well Sir I have Five of my People in France Fighting. Since you were up here in your Election one as Been Killed which leave four. Cannot my Children have the same Privelige as Johnny Fitzgerald…

Would you Be so Kind Sir see if they can goe to Dangin or the same school north of Quairading if I send them their? Sir I Cannot see why my Children could not attend here at Quairading.

My People are Fighting for Our King and Country Sir. I think they should have the liberty of going to any of the State.

I had Fifteen Parents of whos Children are attending the State School have signed the Petition knows my Children well so they could goe to School here But was refused By the Department.

My Childrens Uncles are Fighting. Could you do some thing for the little ones.

The Inglewood Nazis


Looking so, so sexy in their fascist outfits

Some people have mixed emotions about Reclaim Australia and the United Patriots Front who are protesting the ‘Islamification’ of WA. But Dodgy Perth salutes them. It takes a special kind of bravery to stand up in public and let everyone see what kind of knob end you really are.

So to celebrate the rise of Neo Nazis in Perth, we present a time when there was no ‘Neo’: the 1930s. Welcome to the Nazi Party of Western Australia. Yep. Actual, honest-to-god Nazis.


Busselton was not as nice to Uncle Adolph as Inglewood

Being a stylish bunch of fascists they did not want the brown or black shirts associated with tasteless European evil, so they went for an attractive shade of blue. When matched with a peaked cap it made them both quite fascistic and, to be perfectly honest, a little like a 1970s gay clone.

The local branch of Nazis was headed by W. G. Tracey, a man so awful The Racial Purity Guild of Australia was embarrassed to be connected with him.

And Tracey must have been humiliated when his main opponents, the Communist Party, decided they couldn’t be bothered protesting his miniature Nuremberg Rally at Riley’s Hall in Inglewood, on Beaufort Street.

“After careful investigation of the so-called National Socialist Party,” said a Commie spokesman, “we have come to the conclusion that the organisation and its leader can be ignored.”


If you want to make a pilgrimage to the site of WA’s first Nazi rally, the building is now an excellent Himalayan-Nepalese restaurant, which Dodgy Perth can recommend from personal experience.


When religious terrorists terrified Perth

Photographs were only in pen and ink in 1868. Evidently.

Photographs were only in pen and ink in 1868. Evidently.

After an immigrant committed an act of terrorism in New South Wales, there was the expected panic across the country. In Perth, demands were made for moderate members of the terrorist’s religion to distance themselves from the act, or risk all of them being tainted with the accusation of sympathiser.

Regular Dodgy Perth readers will not be surprised to discover the religion was Roman Catholicism. And the year was 1868.

The Duke of Edinburgh, second son of Queen Vic, was on an overseas jolly when he attended a picnic at Clontarf, now an upmarket Sydney suburb, but then a popular picnicking spot. While the Duke was enjoying the picnic, an Irishman with a history of mental illness, Henry O’Farrell, fired his pistol at close range. The bullet struck the Prince’s back, glanced off his ribs, finally inflicting only a slight wound. O’Farrell was nearly lynched by the crowd, and only saved by being arrested. He didn’t have long for this world, though, and despite his evident mental illness, he was hanged at Darlinghurst Gaol.

Even before this event, the 1860s had not been a good time for Catholic-Protestant relationships in the various Australian colonies. From newspapers, every non-Catholic knew all Irishmen were Fenians, thus making every Irishman a potential terrorist. Anti-Irish sentiment became rampant. New South Wales passed a law making it an offence to refuse to drink to the Queen’s health.

Following the failed assassination, large public meetings were held around the country including at the Court House in Perth. The fear was palpable. A number of convicts in Western Australia had been transported for being Fenians, and everyone was terrified at the terrorists we were now harbouring.

The British Government promised two military companies from Tasmania in the event of terrorism happening in Perth, and the State Government promised to use violent force to stamp out any local signs of Fenian activism.

Martin Griver, the Catholic bishop of Perth, had to stand up on behalf of ‘moderate’ Catholics to pledge loyalty to Queen Vic and plead that local residents would not see all Catholics as Irish, and not all Irish as Fenians.

The meeting ended with approving a letter to be sent to the Monarch expressing how very very British all Australians were really. And being good Brits they did not like shooting members of her family.

What is good, though, is that it would be impossible for the citizens of Perth in 2015 to treat one violent person in Sydney as a representative of his religion and call for immigration restrictions. This could never happen today.

Racists lodge a complaint

Looking good for white visitors

Looking good for white visitors

When the Aboriginal gaol on Rottnest was turned into a luxury hostel for holidaymakers, it is understandable that it caused outrage. But not for the reasons you think. Oh dear no.

Some of the cells had their adjoining walls knocked down to make them suitable for married couples. You see, one white married couple occupies the same sleeping space as forty Aboriginal men. But that was not the reason for the outrage.

It wasn’t even controversial that a prison would be made into holiday homes at all. No one complained about the possibility of ghosts, or of disrespecting the heritage values of the place. That was not the reason for the outrage.

In 1911 as the hostel was being prepared for its first Christmas opening it was rumoured that the furniture had been made by ‘Asian’ labourers, and not just white folk. The Sunday Times, always quick to smell a racist opportunity, rushed a reporter over to the island and he confirmed the worst. There were the labels showing the fittings had been touched by non-white hands. (For those unfamiliar with just how racist furniture can be, click here.)

Naturally the Minister for Public Works was horrified (to have been found out). He ordered all the furniture returned to Perth and suspended the civil servant he held responsible for this barbaric crime.

The poor bureaucrat protested he had no instructions to buy only from white firms, and the Asian-made furniture was much, much cheaper. In fact, 90% of all furniture used in Western Australia was made by ‘Asiatics’. Much to the disgust of the (white) union movement.

So the cheaper items were replaced with more expensive, racially pure furniture and everyone was happy.

Except for those who cared about the horrendous history of the gaol. But it would be many decades before the media bothered telling that side of the story.

(Racially) pure football

AFL Rd 14 - Sydney v Port Adelaide

Why is there a controversy over West Coast fans booing an Aboriginal player at Subiaco Oval? We know it wasn’t racist, because that kind of thing doesn’t go on anymore in Western Australia.

So let’s look back to a time when football was an even kinder, gentler, more tolerant sport. In this case, in the South West in 1910.

Jack Johnson had just defeated Jim Jefferies in one of the most important boxing matches in history, making Johnson the first black heavyweight champion of the world. The victor, by the way, was vilified in his native America from coast to coast for the impudence of beating a white man.

When news of this momentous triumph reached Western Australia, every pub was alive with debates about which was really the best sporting race: black or white.

Footballers living around Busselton did not wish to experiment with this debate on the field, so as a consequence announced that no local teams could include Aborigines, nor would they play a team which did.

A handful of brave footballers, probably mindful that some of the Aborigines were among their best players, refused to play until the race bar was lifted. As it happens, one of the best players in the area was Coolbung, who also worked alongside the white players in the bush.

And so it was that the Busselton team took to the field in August 1910 minus two or three of their best men, determined that racial purity should triumph over merely winning a game.

It’s easy to see we have moved on from then. Except, it seems, at Subiaco Oval.

When blacking up was controversial

Young Australia League under construction, 1924

Young Australia League under construction, 1924

Above is the Young Australia League building on Murray Street. The Dodgy Perth team remembers it as a place to drinking absinthe cocktails during Goth nights there some years back. Not that we remember much after the fourth such beverage.

Founded in 1905 by ‘Boss’ Simons, the YAL was intended to promote patriotism, health and education among young Western Australians. So far, so good.

Before we continue, Dodgy Perth warns readers that the following contains racially charged language. Still here? Then we’ll continue.

For several decades, to raise money for the League, the boys would tour WA with a ‘nigger minstrel show’. In other words, they would do blackface and perform humorous sketches and songs. In other words, they mocked African Americans. To use their words, they did ‘clever coon impersonations’.

In the 1910s, these tours were immensely popular on the Goldfields and, for some strange reason, in Bunbury. They formed a major source of income for the League.

Unsurprisingly, they were also extremely controversial. But not for the reason you think.

Mr C. James of Cottesloe was outraged about such blackface. He noted the YAL’s motto was ‘Australia First’ and that they preached White Australia to their members.

So why were they doing an American form of entertainment? Why were good white Australian boys using burnt cork to pretending to be Negroes, complete with plantation songs and ‘nigger jabber’? Surely representing African Americans as a source of fun was contrary to the nationalistic ideals of the YAL.

But Mr James’ criticism was mild compared to that of Mr N. F. G. Wilson of South Fremantle.

He was sickened by seeing forty or fifty youngsters imitating a class of humanity that should be erased from the face of the Earth, if we were to remain true to our White Australia principals.

How can young Aussie lads, with their impressionable minds, honour their race when they are encouraged to dress up as “sons of Ham”? Boss Simons should realise that kids can never grow up to love their country and everything Australian if they are blacking up for fun.

And that, dear reader, is why the Young Australia League was controversial. Un-freaking-believable.

On racist cows and racist folk

Halal, is it meat you're looking for?

Halal, is it meat you’re looking for?

The suave, sophisticated types of Reclaim Australia have taken to the streets to deliver their message of peace, love and understanding this weekend. Dodgy Perth would like to offer the following contribution to their brave stance for intercultural harmony.

As far back as 1887 it was realised that Western Australia’s future would depend on our neighbours, and not just England. In particular, this meant doing business with Singapore.

Western Australian beef and lamb was much desired there, and live exports could begin immediately. Bizarrely, however, there was resistance from some Singaporean butchers to dealing with Aussie bullocks. They claimed our cattle were racist and would attack non-Europeans.

We suggest there is more to this than meats the eye (see what we did there?). Perhaps the local butchers did not want to disrupt their existing relationships with suppliers.

The main ship to conduct the trade was the newly constructed Australind. The owners considered having a built-in freezer for frozen meat, but abandoned the idea because it was too high a cost to run refrigerated receiving depots at both Singapore and Java.

In any case, since most of the consumers were Muslim, the frozen meat trade was hampered by the need for it to be halal. One enterprising steamer running between Java and Queensland had already invested in having a Muslim priest and butcher on board who did the slaughtering with all the necessary rites.

It took Western Australia a long, long time to catch up with Queensland’s halal certification scheme. This was a shame, since other states, including South Australia, were eyeing up the market, and a lack of action would cause a loss of jobs.

Other WA exports were less successful. Singaporeans were quite snobby about their horses, and they considered West Australian horses pathetic. Too weedy and not of sufficiently good breed, it was said.

Also, in the late 1880s a previous successful product, sandalwood, was becoming less and less desired. The major purchasers were the Chinese community in Singapore, who needed the wood for incense burners. However, the young Chinese preferred smoking cigars, drinking champagne and riding fast horses, to worshipping at a temple. So the market for sandalwood had collapsed.

So, exporters have known for more than 128 years that the market drives the product. If Southeast Asia want halal meat, then halal meat is what we must provide for them. Also, we need better horses. And more devout Chinese people.

The last one is a little tricky, but we’ll see what we can do.