The celebration of Australia Day in the major gold mining centres of Kalgoorlie and Boulder in 1934 ended with the largest racial riots on the continent during the last century. The mob attacked Southern European settlers destroying their commercial and private property. Three persons were killed, including a young Croatian miner from Dalmatia, Josip Katich; while over ninety were arrested, and gold mines were closed for a week. The damage was estimated at around £100,000. As a consequence, a significant number of migrants left the Goldfields for the more secure coastal area. The riots were international news and were reported by the Croatian regional press as well. The event left a deep scar that took decades to heal and was a major cause of insecurity that undermined the social fabric of this important mining area made up of diverse communities. ‘Foreigners’ were marginalised and discriminated against in this settlement, established only several decades earlier. They did not have equal access to work as their ‘British’ neighbours did. However with the maturing of the society and corresponding social and economic changes, the public image of the Eastern Goldfields is significantly different now. This presentation aims to tell the story of this tragic event with the intent to draw it out of obscurity and to re-position it on the historical map. It will indicate social and economic factors that over several decades germinated this dark moment in Australian history, including immigration policy and prevalent attitudes to the marginalised Southern European migrants.
|Title of host publication||Croatians|
|Subtitle of host publication||history, language and migration : abstracts of the international conference honouring 30 years of croatian studies at Macquarie university|
|Place of Publication||Sydney|
|Publisher||Macquarie University : Croatian Studies Foundation|
|Number of pages||1|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|
|Event||International Conference Honouring 30 years of Croatian Studies - Sydney|
Duration: 5 Feb 2014 → 7 Feb 2014
|Conference||International Conference Honouring 30 years of Croatian Studies|
|Period||5/02/14 → 7/02/14|
Lalić, W. F. (2014). Kalgoorlie racial riots 1934: destruction and death at the Goldfields. In L. Budak (Ed.), Croatians: history, language and migration : abstracts of the international conference honouring 30 years of croatian studies at Macquarie university (pp. 35-35). Sydney: Macquarie University : Croatian Studies Foundation.