Recalling the Indies: Colonial Culture and Postcolonial Identities.

This is an article written by Dr Joost Coté, Monash University (Australia) and published in June 2010 in the “Tijdschrift voor Sociale en Economische Geschiedenis”


This article considers how the Indisch Dutch related to post-war Australia. After establishing the definitional and statistical identity of Australia’s Indisch Dutch, the discussion draws attention to the geographical proximity of what were once two European colonial settler communities inhabiting the southeast corner of the Asian hemisphere. Although a mere hours flying from their former pre-war locations, almost all Indisch Dutch who migrated to Australia came via the Netherlands. Despite the geographical proximity of their past and present lives, they are in fact separated by a dramatic history. This paper considers what if anything the histories of two European communities had in common and what this may have meant to both Indisch migrants and their Australian hosts in the 1950s and 1960s

Read the full article here.

Recalling the Indies

Recalling the Indies reflects on a ‘migrant story’, the stories of the journeys of the Indisch Dutch from the days of their childhood in the Dutch East Indies, through their grim experiences of war-time imprisonment and the Indonesian revolution, to their eventual settlement in Australia.

Almost half a million people of Dutch and Dutch-Indonesian descent were forced to leave their homeland when Indonesia claimed its independence from the Netherlands. Where would they go? To the Netherlands, whose language they spoke but from whose culture and climate they had become alienated? This was their first landing but here they were met with hostility. On to Australia? But there ‘people of colour’ were confronted by the infamous White Australia Policy.

Eventually approximately 10,000 Indisch Dutch people settled in Australia; many more settled in North America, others in New Zealand. In this volume Joost Coté and Loes Westerbeek have brought together a broad range of contributors to tell the story of the Australian Indisch Dutch for the first time. Contributions range from the personal stories of the migrants themselves, to essays by Dutch and Australian scholars working in the field. See: Google books.

Profile Dr Joost Coté