Thinking Dangerous Thoughts: Post-primary Education and Eugenics in Australia: 1905–1939
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By the beginning of the twentieth century, secondary education had been extended to all children in Britain and its colonies. Debates concerning the suitability of the lower classes for such education coincided with the growing importance of eugenic thinking. In Victoria, Australia, medical and educational eugenists designed new schools along eugenic lines with significant restrictions on the ability of working class children to access academic education and university. Members of the group were frequent travellers to Britain from which they derived eugenic ideas. They believed that they had produced the best system in the Empire. That such a system could be introduced into a British colony raises important questions about the to and fro passage of ideas between the centre and the periphery of Empire.