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Reduced to a Symbolical ScaleThe Evacuation of British Women and Children from Hong Kong to Australia in 1940$
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Tony Banham

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9789888390878

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888390878.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HONG KONG SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hongkong.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hong Kong University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HKSO for personal use (for details see www.hongkong.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 18 December 2018

1945: War and Peace—Britain, Hong Kong, or Stay?

1945: War and Peace—Britain, Hong Kong, or Stay?

(p.139) 6 1945: War and Peace—Britain, Hong Kong, or Stay?
Reduced to a Symbolical Scale

Tony Banham

Hong Kong University Press

Chapter Six argues that the five years elapsed time from arrival in Australia till war’s end transformed the evacuation, for approximately half of those involved, into a permanent though initially involuntary migration. For some women their newly forced independence opened fresh horizons and catapulted them into better lives, often continuing without those husbands (either due to war deaths or post-war separations, the latter typically sparked by husbands’ and wives’ different experiences in those years). Children growing up in Australia also found new opportunities which return to post-war British austerity could not match. When families reunited at war’s end, many stayed in Australia, others fragmented, and some returned to Hong Kong or the UK - but many of these later decided to return to Australia. Essentially – for all its grandiose claims of facilitating the defence of the Colony, and actual aims of preventing loss of civilian life - the only long-term effect of the evacuation had been the accidental and unplanned establishment of a unique ‘lost tribe’; a significant segment of today’s Australian population being descended from the garrison and business community of 1940 Hong Kong.

Keywords:   Nationality, Repatriation, Immigration, Liberation, Separation

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