Effective Border Machinery, Ineffective Mental Equipment, Australia 1920–1930

  • Jennifer S. Kain
Part of the Mental Health in Historical Perspective book series (MHHP)


This chapter shows how key Australian officials drove the implementation of a more vigorous medical assessment process in the post-war empire settlement schemes. National border controls were again tightened. A new provision allowed the deportation of migrants years after their arrival, and those perceived ‘mentally infirm’ at the borders were targetted through increasingly elastic prohibited clauses. When Sir Neville Howse reviewed these operations he concluded that Australia’s ‘border machinery’ was mainly effective. His view that some people did not have the mental equipment to succeed as migrants translated to the deportation of those deemed ‘temperamentally unsuitable’.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer S. Kain
    • 1
  1. 1.School of History, Classics and ArchaeologyNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK

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