Populating Australasia with Sound Minds

  • Jennifer S. Kain
Part of the Mental Health in Historical Perspective book series (MHHP)


This chapter shows the early to mid-nineteenth century systematic emigration schemes as the first method through which the mental suitability of migrants was policed. In the commercial and ideological drive to ‘populate’—in Eurocentric terms—the temperate regions of Australia, the requirements of sound mind and good character entered the lexicon of migrant suitability. The provisions set down by the Colonial Land and Emigration Committee and the British Passengers Act could not however prevent shipboard insanity. The limited colonial welfare systems struggled to deal with migrants who proved to be the anathema of these ‘Better Britains’. In turn, colonial authorities considered how best to prevent the migration of the insane.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer S. Kain
    • 1
  1. 1.School of History, Classics and ArchaeologyNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK

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