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Monday, 27 October 2008

Emigration: Australia & New Zealand 1

Settlement in Australia didn't begin until the late eighteenth century. The British government decided to use Australia as the new penal colony (after losing America) and the first fleet arrived on 26 January 1788 (the date now celebrated as Australia Day). The fleet contained 1,500 new settlers, half being convicts. They landed in Sydney Cove and on 7 February 1788 the British colony of New South Wales was formally declared. Large scale migration to Australia began at this time and the numbers arriving increased rapidly after 1815, when government policy actively encouraged settlement by ensuring free settlers could arrive and purchase land at minimal costs.

The discovery of gold in the 1850's was another important factor behind the decision to move to Australia. Convicts continued to be sent to Australia until the system was abolished in 1868, by which time over 150,000 had been sent to Australia and Tasmania (around 30 percent of whom were Irish). The numbers of free settlers leaving Britain and Ireland were much larger, however, and continued into the 20th century.

British emigration to New Zealand also began in the nineteenth century, after the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840. Initially, emigration to New Zealand was less popular than to other parts of the world and the New Zealand Company had to actively encourage migrants to the Islands in rural England and Scotland by promoting New Zealand and offering free passage to some skilled workers. Economic assistance to encourage mibration was also provided by the teritorial governments of New Zealnd from the 1850's onwards, resulting in a large increase in settlers arriving from this period onwards, although the numbers arriving were in the tens of thousnands not hundreds of thousands. The numbers dropped dramatically towards the end of the nineteenth century due to an economic depression in New Zealand, but they recovered at the beginning of the twentieth century when further groups of British and Irish immigrants arrived with the assistance of the British government.

It may be possible to trace a migrant, depending on where they left and where they chose to go, through many British archives and the archives of the destination countries and this is something I will be covering in the next few posts of this series on emigration.

CONTD HERE

3 comments:

archiearchive said...

Goodness gracious me - a real life genie who also blogs - - -

Buff and I began the "Reverse Marriages" for Western Australia (1906-1920).

rarestone said...

I think l will alway be on your blog. Its realy interesting .More please....

sharon said...

I think l will alway be on your blog. Its realy interesting .More please....