The measures taken against German-Australians in South Australia
During the build up to and first World War, German settlers in South Australia and Australia became known as ‘the enemy within’ and extreme measures were put in place to deal with the threat felt by the predominately-British population.
The names of places that had been named by Germans were changed and German settlers were interned or deported and taken to work camps on Torrens Island. Torrens Island detention camp was set up and held 400 german men during the First World War. German established schools were closed, the German language was no longer taught in schools and German’s lost the right to vote. Because of this German families began to change their name as a means of avoiding persecution and to prove their commitment to their new home.
If you were a German-born resident of Australia you had to register at your local police station, and most German-descendents were treated in similar ways. German residents of Australia were inflicted with hostile attitudes even if they were naturalised and had sons and brothers fighting for the Australian Infantry Force.
Australian authoritities would target German residents with unjustified searches, survelliance and arrest. During the war 4500 Germans in Australia were interned- 700 were naturalised and 70 Australian born.