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A history of Australia-Japan trade: A Western Australian perspective

Dawes, Walter J. C. (1997) A history of Australia-Japan trade: A Western Australian perspective. Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

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This thesis is an intellectual and personal journey, written not so much to prove a particular point about the relationship between Australia and Japan, but so that I might understand changes which have taken place in my lifetime.

As a schoolboy voluntary worker at a military hospital, my earliest impressions of Japan were coloured by meeting victims of the Japanese invasions of Indonesia and New Guinea and the bombing of Darwin. My heroes included members of Sparrow Force, which fought on behind the Japanese lines in Timor, and Julius Tahija, winner of the Orange Cross for a valiant rearguard action in which hundreds of Japanese were killed. By the time I graduated from university my hatred of Japan, like that of most of my generation, had softened as memories of the war faded and Australia entered a period of full employment and rapid growth. Then, while working with a trading house in Indonesia in the late 1950s, I started to relate to Japanese as fellow human beings, as business competitors - and as members of the same golf club. It was not until the 1960s, working in a variety of industries as a management consultant, that I became aware of how much Japan could influence Australia's future: on the one hand as the dominant customer for our wool; and on the other as the maker of such things as synthetic rope which would put Australian rope and twine makers out of business. Upon joining the mining industry, the profitability of my company and my own income were inextricably linked with the success of Japanese industry.

And yet my colleagues and I knew little about the country and the people upon whom we were so dependent. The desire to learn more about the strange symbiotic relationship between Japan and Australia was the genesis of this thesis. Its objective is very simple: to trace the history of Australia's relationship with Japan and to identify the role played by governments, the bureaucracy and private individuals as Australia responded to changes in the Japanese economy. It will show that the complementary relationship is dynamic, calling for constant change and adaptation…

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Division of Social Sciences, Humanities and Education
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Krishnan, Radha
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