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FIRST WAVE: British Subjects

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FIRST WAVE: Emigrant Ships to Port Phillip 1839-1845

Chapter Three: British Subjects

As he had done the previous year, the Chairman of the New South Wales Committee on Immigration signed his 1842 Report with an ecclesiastical flourish --"W.G. Australia". The Anglican Bishop of Australia's signature was not the only item of replication. The argument of his concluding paragraphs in the 1841 Report was also repeated in the latest document. It was, after all, a theme close to his sectarian heart.

William Grant Broughton was the leading Protestant clergyman in the Colony and he had strong views on Catholic immigration. He was confident in his convictions and forthright in stating them when presenting his second report to the Governor-in-Council. "He must say for himself", it was minuted, "he dreaded the genius, the policy, and the ascendancy of the Church of Rome". 

His Grace therefore had no difficulty in admitting that it was he who was the real author of th…

FIRST WAVE: The Reputable Poor

FIRST WAVE: Emigrant Ships to Port Phillip 1839-1845

Chapter 2: The Reputable Poor

In the European summer of 1839, John Marshal of London published a "circular" to be distributed throughout the United Kingdom. Written in Marshall's capacity as an "Australian Emigration Agent", it was essentially a detailed recruiting pamphlet, advising that he had five ships to sail from Gravesend and Plymouth in the coming months.(1)

Marshall was an experienced consignor of assisted migrants to the Colony of New South Wales. He knew the standards of shipping required by the regulations of the Colonial Land and Emigration Commission. He was also aware, from his previous employment with the Commission's predecessor, of the moral dimension of Colonial Office policy. For example, in 1835 he had formally declined one expression of interest from a parish workhouse on no other grounds. His letter on that occasion stated, "The great object which the [Emigration] Committee are ap…

FIRST WAVE: A Distant Mirror

FIRST WAVE: Emigrant ships to Port Phillip 1839-1845

Chapter One: Distant Mirror

During the years from 1839 to 1845, some 70 sailing ships transported a total of 13,092 'bounty emigrants' from Great Britain to the Port Phillip District of the Colony of New South Wales.(1) Port Phillip was to become the Colony of Victoria after 1851, but at the time the first shiploads of assisted immigrants were arriving in 1839, the settlement was barely established. In October 1838 the New South Wales governor Sir George Gipps reported to Lord Glenelg in London -- "The number of inhabitants of all descriptions is supposed now to exceed 3,000, of whom, however, a considerable number are convicts..."(2) The 'first wave' of subsidised migration in the following years therefore represented a significant addition to the European population, both in numerical and social terms.

The Port Phillip District has known several significant waves of migration since then. After 'Separatio…