Skip to content

Beautiful Balts

by Jayne Persian

170,000 displaced persons arrived in Australia between 1947 and 1952. Australia’s first immigration minister, Arthur Calwell, scoured post-war Europe for refugees, displaced persons he characterised as ‘Beautiful Balts’. Amid the hierarchies of the White Australia Policy, the tensions of the Cold War and the national need for labour, these people would transform not only Australia’s immigration policy, but the country itself. Beautiful Balts tells the extraordinary story of these people. It traces their journey from the camps of Europe after the Second World War to a new life in a land of opportunity where prejudice, parochialism, and anti-communism were rife.


01 June, 2017

About Jayne Persian

Jayne Persian is a historian of modern Australia and has a PhD in history from the University of Sydney. Her research focuses on the political, cultural and social history of the 170,000 'Displaced Persons'—predominantly Central and Eastern Europeans—who arrived in Australia as International Refugee Organisation (IRO) sponsored refugees. She is currently a lecturer in history at the University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *