1. List: Research Project Proposal and Pilot Study - The Racial Hygiene Association of New South Wales
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    Research Question:

    Was the Racial Hygiene Association of New South Wales a eugenicist organisation, or a feminist social reform movement operating in the interwar climate of White Australia?

    Racial consciousness permeated interwar feminist ideology in Australia. The Racial Hygiene Association of New South Wales, which developed out of the Women’s Reform League, is indicative of the intimate relationship racial discourse and social reform shared in the immediate years prior to the Second World War. While retrospective examinations of the Racial Hygiene Association are vulnerable to listing the organisation as eugenicist and primarily concerned with racial anxieties, a critical inspection of sources, mainly found in Trove, suggests that the organisation ultimately existed as a means to pursue social reform in regards to sexual and public health. Despite susceptibility to influence from the racial and eugenicist ideologies and policies that defined early-twentieth century Australia, Sources 4 and 7 offers a wholesale examination of the activities of the RHA to suggest that the organisation rejected these philosophies. Through the aid of original RHA documents, in Sources 1, 8 and 9, the predominant aim of the organisation can be identified as the elevation of sexual health and education. As highlighted by Source 4, the omission of discussion regarding the so-called ‘Aboriginal problem’ in primary sources suggests that the RHA was more concerned with dispelling the toxins of disease and disability, rather than promoting the innate virtues of the white race. The Ruby Rich interview (Source 3) reiterates the focus on sex education, with discussion regarding the opening of Australia’s first birth control clinic revealing not only the significance, but the challenges, associated with this feminist reformist activity in interwar Australia. Furthermore, evidence of the public activities of the RHA through Sources 3, 5, 6 and 10 further suggests that the RHA was a social reform organisation, operating within the contextual realities of White Australia. Through the utilisation of this wide-range of primary and secondary sources, conceptions of the Racial Hygiene Association of New South Wales as a eugenics organisation can be deconstructed. Through the illumination of the contextual challenges that the RHA encountered in a society grounded by eugenic principles, as indicated in Source 2, an examination of the RHA’s objectives and aims can be revised. Critical evidence suggests that, while the RHA inherited ideas on the need to ensure the virility of the white race through the practicing of racial hygiene, sexual health and education emerged as the primary concerns for an organisation eager to promote feminist social reform.

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    created by: KateS123 on 2019-09-29 21:46:27.0
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  1. Sex in life : young women / by Violet D. Swaisland
    Swaisland, Violet D
    [ Book : 1930-1939 ]
    View online
    At 8 libraries
    Sex in life : young women / by Violet D. Swaisland
    Note

    2019-10-01 21:09:08.0

    A Racial Hygiene Association of New South Wales original publication, the 'Sex in Life: Young Women' booklet attempts to advise women on their responsibility and duty to maintain social and racial hygiene, as well as educating women on the moral, social and physical ‘evils’ of sex. While perpetuating concepts along eugenic lines, such as an appeal to women to enhance the purity of Australia through practising racial hygiene, the ultimate focus of the booklet is the documentation of the threat of venereal disease, and the treatments and symptoms associated.

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  2. Web page: Legislative Assembly Full Day Hansard Transcript - 13 March 1930
    https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/hansard/Pages/home.aspx?s=1
    Web page
    Note

    2019-10-01 18:10:39.0

    Evident of the contemporary debates regarding the importance of ensuring the maintenance of the ‘white race’, the Hansard papers of 13 March 1930 detail Minister for Public Health Richard Arthur’s attempt to pass the Mental Defectives Bill. Arguing along the lines of Social Darwinism, Arthur criticises society’s care for the ‘mentally unfit’ and instead promotes the need to combat the increasing mental degeneracy of the race through State Government action. Classing those he deemed as ‘mentally unfit’, including idiots, imbeciles and the feeble-minded, Arthur’s motion presents an understanding of the climate the Racial Hygiene Association of New South Wales operated in.

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  3. Ruby Rich interviewed by Hazel de Berg in the Hazel de Berg collection
    Rich, Ruby, 1888-1988
    [ Sound : 1975-1976 ]
    View online
    At National Library
    Ruby Rich interviewed by Hazel de Berg in the Hazel de Berg collection
    Note

    2019-10-01 20:58:07.0

    Hazel de Berg’s 1975 interview of Ruby Rich, the inaugural President of the Racial Hygiene Association of New South Wales, provides profound insight into the motivations, operations and objectives of the organisation from its formation in 1926. Most significantly, Rich details the Association’s focus on sex education to limit the threat of venereal diseases and unwanted pregnancies. Discussing the opening of Australia’s first birth control clinic in 1933, Rich demonstrates the progressive and social reformist nature of the organisation. While acting as a means to maintain the ‘purity’ of white Australia, these efforts were concentrated on the prevention of ‘white degeneracy’ in the white-majority nation, with no focus on obstructing the non-white population.

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  4. 'Not Only a White Race, but a Race of the Best Whites': The Women's Movement, White Australia and Eugenics between the Wars
    Carey, Jane
    Historicising Whiteness: Transnational Perspectives on the Construction of an Identity
    [ Article : 2007 ]
    Note

    2019-10-01 21:08:29.0

    Reorienting the discussion on the link between the Racial Hygiene Association of New South Wales and eugenic ideologies, Jane L. Carey’s journal article ‘Not only a White Race, but a Race of the Best Whites’: The Women’s Movement, White Australia and Eugenics Between the Wars' (2006) is a highly credible academic source. Published by the University of Melbourne, following a rigorous peer-review process and repeated use of citations, Carey frames the activities of the Racial Hygiene Association in the social and political context of interwar Australia. While not escaping commentary on the eugenic orientation of the organisation, Carey utilises primary and secondary sources to differentiate these eugenic activities, from the more prominent objectives of the Association, which was sex education in an attempt to prevent and eradicate venereal diseases.




    Carey, Jane L. ‘'Not Only a White Race, but a Race of the Best Whites': The Women's Movement, White Australia and Eugenics between the Wars’. Historicising Whiteness: Transnational Perspectives on the Construction of an Identity, (2006), pp. 162-170.

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  5. RACIAL HYGIENE.
    Illawarra Mercury (Wollongong, NSW : 1856 - 1950) Friday 1 November 1929 p 9 Article
    Abstract: All interesting lecture on "Racial Hygiene" was given in the Assembly Hall at the Wollongong High School, on Wednesday evening by Mrs. Goodisson, 292 words
    Digitised article icon
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    2019-10-01 20:55:26.0

    Reveals the primary objective of the Association was sex education in an attempt to eradicate venereal diseases. Comments on the limited exposure adolescents received in regards to ‘sexual hygiene’.

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  6. RACIAL HYGIENE. (Sydney Morning Herald.)
    Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld. : 1907 - 1954) Monday 19 October 1931 p 9 Article
    Abstract: Problems affecting the health of the race were discussed at a conference organised by the Racial Hygiene Association of New South Wales. 366 words
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    2019-10-01 20:56:03.0

    Outlines the requirement for sex education in interwar Australia, while also providing a discourse on the validity of sterilisation to combat problems affecting the white race.

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  7. Web page: ‘THE QUALITY AND NOT ONLY THE QUANTITY OF AUSTRALIA’S PEOPLE’ Ruby Rich and the Racial Hygiene Association of NSW
    https://eds-a-ebscohost-com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=2&sid=176bb9e0-3ef9-4eda-80d1-f51cc20c6b2c%40sessionmgr4008
    Web page
    Note

    2019-10-01 20:56:48.0

    Operating with a focus on RHA President Ruby Rich, this source highlights the complex relationship feminism, social reform and eugenics share in the interwar period in Australia.

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  8. RACIAL HYGIENE ASSOCIATION OF NEW SOUTH WALES. (1 January 1940)
    Racial Hygiene Association of New South Wales; ; Racial Hygiene Association of New South Wales
    Annual report
    [ Article : 1940 ]
    View online
    At Trove DigitalLibrary
    RACIAL HYGIENE ASSOCIATION OF NEW SOUTH WALES. (1 January 1940)
    Note

    2019-10-01 13:28:37.0

    Highlights the importance of the birth control clinics established by the Association, as well as documents criticism from alternative women organisations who object to these social reforms.

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  9. Memorandum and articles of association of the Racial Hygiene Association of New South Wales
    Racial Hygiene Association of New South Wales
    [ Book : 1901 ]
    View online
    At 2 libraries
    Memorandum and articles of association of the Racial Hygiene Association of New South Wales
    Note

    2019-10-01 12:25:39.0

    Published in 1932 by the Racial Hygiene Association, this document outlines the objectives, activities and intentions of the organisation, as well as providing insight into the processes of the meetings of the Association.

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  10. MATERNAL MORTALITY. TO THE EDITOR OF THE HERALD.
    The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) Monday 7 January 1935 p 4 Article
    Abstract: Sir,—As I am away on holidays, I have been unable to write you sooner about Dr. Watson Munro's letter on "Maternal Mortality." This organisation (the ... 384 words
    Digitised article icon
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    2019-10-01 17:45:55.0

    General secretary of the Association Lillie Goodisson’s letter to the editor of the Sydney Morning Herald detailing the importance of the organisation’s work to combat maternal mortality.

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