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Memento : Issue 26
local people, who were outraged when Saburo, the youngest son, was asked to leave Australia after his extension of stay expired in 1921. Saburo’s file contains a petition from Cossack’s most prominent citizens to the Commonwealth govern- ment requesting his exemption from the provisions of the White Australia Policy. Another common belief is that merchants who entered Australia for business purposes during the White Australia years stayed for only a few months at most. Our records show that some families stayed in Australia for decades. There were generations of families who lived in Sydney from the 1890s until World War II, when most were either repatriated or interned. The photo on the cover of the guide (above left), taken in 1939, shows some of Sydney’s most prominent Japanese merchants. They are celebrating the annual New Year’s Day event at the Japanese Consul General’s residence in Vaucluse, Sydney. While our pre-1941 records primarily document Japanese immigration to Australia, the postwar records in our collection focus more on government- to -government contact. Most of these records relate to trade, and even include the 1952 Peace Treaty and the 1957 trade agreement, impor tant steps towards the resumption of relations between Japan and Australia after the Second World War. Although Australia’s role in the Pacific War is well known, less well known is Australia’s involvement in the reconstruction of Japan after 1945. The postwar records provide fascinating insights into this relationship including Australian reports on the effects of the atom bomb on Hiroshima, reports from the Australian Scientific Mission to Japan on its growing industrial strength, and ABC and Radio Australia reports documenting social change in the reconstruction years. One record which establishes the now familiar tone of the postwar relationship is the visit of the Aki Maru, the Japanese floating trade fair. In December 1960, when John McEwen opened the fair, Australians marvelled at Japan’s progress. Just as Australians had been fascinated by Japan early in the century, so after the painful years of war, a mutual interest that centred on trade and student exchange resumed. The guide is a testimony to that relationship. Allies, Enemies and Trading Partners is a valuable resource for family historians and those with an interest in Australia–Japan relations. It is available from our offices and our website at www.naa.gov.au. ... trade was the major drawcard for Japanese to Australia before and after Federation. May 2004 MEMENTO 17