The Greek Civil War and Child Refugees to Australia: The Cold War and Australian Internationalism in the 1940s

When:6 May 2014, 12:30pm - 1:45pm
Venue:Morven Brown 310 (map ref C20)
Who:Professor Joy Damousi, University of Melbourne
Joy Damousi

History Seminar Series

Abstract: This paper explores the history of child removal to Australia during the Greek Civil War—the paidomazoma—by developing two distinctive perspectives. First, it focuses the discussion of this issue beyond the debates and disputes between nations at forums such as the United Nations, and instead concentrates on efforts at the national level to arrange for children to be reunited with their parents. It analyses the migration of children to Australia for the first time, which is an important but under-researched aspect of the history of the paidomazoma. Second, it argues that there is a need to recognize the efforts and tactics of the Australian Council of International Social Service and its director, Aileen Fitzpatrick, in the successful migration of children to Australia. Fitzpatrick played a pivotal role in moving debates about the fate of these children beyond Cold War politics and in so doing, she and her agency promoted internationalism and a global community united by humanitarian efforts and transnational exchange. Her crusade to unite children with their families is positioned within an alternative history of the 1950s, which privileges transnational organizations that upheld international co-operation rather than those that promoted Cold War tensions. This paper will explore the nature of Australian internationalism during the 1940s through this case.

View Past Events