Look at the history

1 April, 2011 at 12:49 pm 4 comments

I’ve written a new course on Australian Immigration (free settlers) for the National Institute for Genealogical Studies and have been reminded again about how much is explained by looking at background history.

People refer to the ‘push-pull’ of immigration. The Irish potato famine of the 1840s ‘pushed’ a large number of emigrants. In addition to 1 million dead, another 1 million people migrated from Ireland, causing the country’s population to fall by nearly 25%.

Likewise the pull of immigration: in the 7 years from the start of the Victorian gold rushes in 1851, the population of Victoria increased from 70,000 to nearly 500,000, overtaking the population of New South Wales. Ships arriving in Port Phillip were deserted as passengers and crew rushed off to the gold fields (often before immigration officials had time to record who had arrived).

Not all the numbers are so dramatic but looking at the numbers and considering the history helps understanding.

In 50 years from 1803, 75,000 convicts were sent to Tasmania (then known as Van Diemen’s Land). With convict labour and also emancipated convicts, there was no shortage of labour and indeed the problem was to ensure no unemployment, especially for assigned convicts.

The need was for wealthy settlers to develop employment – and single women. The gender balance was so unequal that for a while the government subsidised the migration of single women. But there was little need for more labourers. By 1860 about 80% of free immigrants to Tasmania had paid their own fares. The total number of free immigrants to that date was similar to the total number of transported convicts.

It was a different story in Queensland. Because of labour shortages, Queensland was a colony founded on assisted immigration (subsidised passages). In the 40 years leading up to Federation (1901), more assisted migrants arrived in Queensland than any other colony and few records remain in Queensland of the arrival of those who paid their own way.

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Entry filed under: Australian history, Immigration. Tags: , , , , .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Geniaus  |  1 April, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Thanks for the reminder, Kerry.
    I always enjoy your thoughtful posts.

    Reply
  • 2. Judy Webster  |  2 April, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Kerry, I have nominated you for the ‘One Lovely Blog Award’. Rules for accepting the award are: (1)Accept the award and post it on your blog with the name of the person who granted the award and their blog link. (2)Pass the award on to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered. (3)Contact those bloggers to let them know they’ve been chosen for this award. Please visit UK/Australia Genealogy to collect the ‘One Lovely Blog Award’ badge, which you can use on your blog when you list your 15 nominees.

    Reply
  • 3. Lenore  |  10 April, 2011 at 8:31 am

    Dear Kerry

    Congratulation on your blog! I have nominated you for the “One Lovely Blog Award”! If you wish to follow up go to http://empirecall.blogspot.com/2011/04/one-lovely-blog-award.html

    Excellent blogging!

    Lenore

    Reply
  • 4. Your Story Coach  |  22 April, 2011 at 3:26 am

    Thanks for all the great information on your blog. It’s so important to preserve memories and share stories!!! http://yourstorycoach.blogspot.com

    Reply

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