Kimberley Plan

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The Kimberley Plan, or Kimberley Scheme, was a failed plan by the Freeland League to resettle Jewish refugees from Europe before and during the Holocaust.

The League, led by Isaac Nachman Steinberg, selected the Kimberley region in Australia in hope to buy an area of 7 million acres (28,000 km²) of agricultural land for 75,000 Jews fleeing Europe.[1] Under the plan, an initial 500-600 pioneers would arrive to construct basic necessities for the settlement such as homes, irrigation works, and a power station, followed by the arrival of the main body of immigrants. Steinberg based his campaign on the officially declared need to populate northern Australia. On 23 May 1939 he arrived in Perth and by early 1940 gained substantial public support, but also encountered opposition. A 1944 opinion poll found that 47% of Australians opposed the scheme. Opposition was primarily due to fears that the settlers would inevitably drift away from Kimberley and begin migrating to the cities in large numbers.[2]

On 15 July 1944 the Prime Minister of Australia John Curtin informed Steinberg that the Australian government would not "depart from the long-established policy in regard to alien settlement in Australia" and could not "entertain the proposal for a group settlement of the exclusive type contemplated by the Freeland League".[1]

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  1. ^ a b Steinberg, Isaac Nachman (1888 - 1957) by Beverley Hooper, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 16, Melbourne University Press, 2002, pp 298-299. Online Ed. published by Australian National University
  2. ^ The Kimberley Scheme