Operation Babylift 1975

The Australian arm of Operation Babylift, which involved an audacious international rescue of Vietnamese orphans right before Saigon fell to the advancing communists on 30 April 1975, saw its use of North Head Quarantine Station as a place of temporary respite for these “Asiatics”. By that time, however, the public opinion and mood regarding immigration of non-Europeans had changed dramatically from the core tenet of the racially exclusive Federation, and the Whitlam government used the opportunity of Operation Babylift to practically dismantle the White Australia Policy, which had become a historical burden on Australia when it came to a closer engagement with its Asia-Pacific neighbours, which included the Vietnam War.

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