Who Were Australia’s Government-Assisted Emigrants?

  • Robin F. Haines


Did nineteenth-century emigration from the United Kingdom act as a safety valve for its expanding work force? Charlotte Erickson’s evidence for 1831 and 1841, based on an extensive analysis of America-bound shipping lists for those years, convinced her that ‘there are reasons for doubting that direct emigration to the USA acted as a safety valve for the rural or urban poor of the British Isles during the decades before the Irish famine’.1 In concert with historians of late nineteenth- and twentieth-century emigration from Britain to Australia, Erickson concluded that it was those who were fearful of encroaching poverty, or loss of status, who were motivated to emigrate, rather than the most poverty-stricken, who lacked even the means to reach the port of embarkation.2


Clay Migration Corn Depression Shipping 


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  1. 1.
    Charlotte Erickson, ‘Emigration from the British Isles to the U.S.A. in 1841, Part I’, Population Studies, 43 (1989) p. 349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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Copyright information

© Robin F. Haines 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robin F. Haines
    • 1
  1. 1.Flinders University of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia

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