Racist tables and bigoted Boans

Nice to know, isn't it?

Nice to know, isn’t it?

There was a time when every piece of furniture in Western Australia had a racist stamp on it. Every. Single. Piece. From 1900 to the 1960s all furniture had to declare whether it had been made purely by good honest white workers, or had been sullied by being touched by people from South East Asia.

Seriously. It was either stamped ‘European labour only’ or ‘Asiatic labour’.

Chinese craftsmen were well-known for producing quality pieces at lower prices than the white-only factories could. So the unions objected and—thank you, White Australia policy—the government passed laws to make sure buyers knew which race had produced them.

Some union leaders went further and demanded furniture factories should have glass fronts so customers could check the place wasn’t secretly employing people from South East Asia.

Looking just like Gestapo headquarters

Looking just like Gestapo headquarters

One of the worst local retailers who cashed in on the racism of their customers was Boans. They regularly advertised that they would only make and sell furniture without Asian employees. Which, in Boans’ opinion, meant their chairs and tables were superior.

It has always been the policy of Boans to employ European labour only in their factory, which means that the highest possible workmanship is put into every piece of furniture produced.

Unfortunately for bigoted retailers and manufacturers, some members of the public weirdly preferred the same items but at less cost. There’s no accounting for some people’s lack of racial pride.

If you want to see a piece of racist furniture in action, visit Belmont Museum and ask to have a look under their kitchen table. It’s shocking, but definitely worth a look.

Halal, is it meat you’re looking for?


Halal certification is the new burqa.

Organising boycotts of Aussie companies trying to export their goods is the new opposing a local mosque for ‘parking reasons’.

Few things make our blood boil at Dodgy Perth HQ, but racists pretending not to be racist because “Islam is a religion, not a race” is definitely one of them.

So with all the current fuss over halal certification, you might be forgiven for thinking this is something brand new. Something that Australian exporters have only started doing in the last few years. While they also enjoy funding terrorism. Apparently.

Well, no to all of the above.

WA’s ‘Afghan’ camel drivers must have had sources of approved foods. But it appears they often turned butcher themselves when meat was required.

The first halal certification scheme in Australia seems to have been in Queensland in 1905. Four Muslim butchers were brought over to certify the meat was prepared appropriately, so that exports could begin big time.

You will never guess what happened next.

Protests. And outrage. So much outrage.

Not because halal meat is cruel. Or that we were funding ISIS.

Just because the butchers weren’t white. Oh yes, it was White Australia time.

So, when a canning plant was planned for Wyndham, here in Western Australia, it didn’t take long for the exporters to start drooling at the thought of the tens of millions of Muslims in Malaysia, India, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

All they would need was halal certification and East Kimberley would boom.

In 1909, this was exactly what was proposed.

A Pilbara resident, H. Musa Khan, said that bringing over a couple of ‘educated and religious’ Mohammedans to supervise at Wyndham’s slaughter yards would enable all the canned meat (except pork, obviously) to be sold anywhere in the world.

Mr Khan was keen to stress that only a couple of Muslims would be needed, so White Australia would still be white. And this was not a job which could be filled by a white local anyway.

No one listened. Jobs and exports were not as important as racial purity.

Instead, by the 1920s live exports were thought to be the way to go. (And mainly, still are!)

After the Depression, some bright spark suggested again that perhaps a single Muslim might be brought over to WA. That way, halal certification could start and we could climb out of poverty and misery.

We suppose you can guess that no one listened.

White Australia 1. Beef producers 0.