The Egyptian ship SS Misr arrived in Melbourne in April 1947 with 624 men, women and children on board. One of the first postwar migrant ships to dock in Australia carrying many non-British migrants, its arrival was met with unprecedented controversy, both for the terrible conditions on board and for the reported “animal-like” behaviour of the passengers. The arrival of SS Misr was a national news story, exposing the deep-seated fears of Australians at the time, threatened by the settlement of so many Jewish refugees and migrants from southern Europe. To help allay public fears and uphold the Immigration Restriction Act 1901, the Immigration Department was adamant that no more than 25% of those on board would be Jewish, and that as many berths as possible be allocated to British subjects.

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