Racist furniture and White Australia: “The Factories Act of 1904”
Did you know that every piece of furniture once had to declare if it had been touched by ‘Asiatic’ hands? Or that Boans used to proudly advertise that all its furniture from its factory in East Perth was made with 100% White Labour? Starting with a small kitchen table in Belmont’s museum, Eddie Marcus will explore the background to the 1904 Act which divided furniture into two castes, and reveal what this meant for Western Australian workers to be grouped racially. It will turn out that concepts of White and Asian were very slippery indeed and the more people tried to categorise, the muddier these notions became. Immigration, race and cultural identity are hot topics in 2016, so it is very timely to look back more than a century and see if the past offers any guidance for our multicultural future.
About the Speaker
After completing his degree at Cambridge University, Eddie did a number of jobs (as well as becoming a perpetual student) before marrying a West Australian and moving here twelve years ago. After a stint with the State Heritage Office, he struck out on his own as a consultant historian with a speciality in the built heritage of this State. This has involved travelling all over Western Australia and exploring every aspect of our fascinating past. In addition, Eddie has also written a number of books, including a guide to Perth’s oldest pubs and the history of Guildford Grammar School chapel.
Tuesday 9th August 2016, Reid Library 2nd Floor Conference Room
Doors open 7:00pm – Talk commences 7:30pm
Cost: $5 donation (Free for Friends of the Library Members)