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Photograph of CHANGTE at Kobe, Japan, December 1953

Date: 12 December 1953
Dimensions:
Overall: 85 × 135 mm
Medium: Photographic print
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from June Hammond
Classification:Photographs
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: 00054435
Related Place:Kobe,

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    Description
    This photograph shows CHANGTE leaving the port of Kobe, Japan, in December 1953. Japanese war bride Sadako Morris remembers, 'waving to my family from the deck rail, I was flooded with all sorts of different emotions. It seemed to take forever to pull away from the wharf and while we could see our families slowly disappear, it was like a kind of torture'.
    SignificanceThis photograph relates to a highly significant period in Australia’s immigration history, when Immigration Minister Harold Holt overturned the ban on entry for wives of Australian servicemen in 1952, thereby permitting the first group of non-European immigrants under the White Australia policy.
    HistoryMore than 600 Japanese women migrated to Australia as war brides after World War II. Their husbands had served with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) after the surrender of Japan in 1945. At first marriage between Australian soldiers and Japanese women was prohibited. But many men fell in love and lobbied the Australian Government for change.

    When Sadako Kikuchi’s family discovered that she was secretly seeing Australian Army officer John Morris, they threatened to disown her. Strong-willed, Sadako chose to leave, moving into an apartment with John.

    Sadako met John when she was a seamstress in a Kure department store. There was still much bitterness between ex-enemies. ‘Morrisan’ and Sadako had to keep their meetings secret, using Sadako’s brother Yasuo as a go-between.

    In 1952, after intense lobbying, the Australian Government eventually gave permission for soldiers to marry Japanese nationals. Sadako and John had a church wedding in 1952. Most of Sadako’s family attended, despite their earlier opposition. Finally, in December 1953, Sadako and her two baby daughters boarded Changte bound for Adelaide. They were among the first group of non-Europeans officially permitted under the White Australia policy. While many immigrants experienced displacement, culture shock and homesickness, Japanese brides also had to endure bigotry in both Japan and Australia.

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