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Launch of MV Asturias, 1925, Belfast [Source: NY Public Library Collection]
'TEN POUND POMS" - Australia's Invisible Migrants
by A James Hammerton and Alistair Thomson

More than a million Britons emigrated to Australia between the 1940s and 1970s. They were the famous ‘ten pound Poms’ and this is their story. Illuminated by the fascinating testimony of migrant life histories, this is the first substantial history of their experience.

The authors draw upon a rich life history archive of letters, diaries, personal photographs and hundreds of oral history interviews with former migrants, including those who settled in Australia and those who returned to Britain. They offer original interpretations of key historical themes, including: motivations for emigration; gender relations and the family dynamics of migration; the ‘very familiar and awfully strange’ confrontation with the new world; the anguish of homesickness and return; and the personal and national identities of both settlers and returnees, fifty years on.
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'LIKELY LADS AND LASSES' - Youth Migration to Australia
by Alan Gill

In the early years of the last century concerned patriotic citizens, seeing threats to the nation through lack of population growth, decided to “prod” the federal and state governments by forming immigration movements geared specifically to young people. The concept was simple and somewhat bold. To turn British school leavers – average age 15 – into learner farmers in rural Australia.

The Dreadnought Scheme, started in 1911 with money originally intended to buy a battleship, was followed in 1920s by the Big Brother Movement, which operated on the basis of a settled, adult Australia taking on a guardian role for unaccompanied migrant youths.

Though spared the indignities of institutional life, youth migrants – particularly in the early years – suffered a degree of trauma. Loneliness was acute. Many were sent to work on remote rural properties, deprived of proper accommodation and even of food by taskmasters who considered them cheap labour.
'AND THE CREW WENT TOO' - The Ten Pound Assisted Passage
by Geoff Lunn

The end of the Second World War heralded one of the largest mass migrations ever seen from Europe. Millions left their homelands for new horizons, and Britain was no exception. Australia, like New Zealand and Canada, needed many thousands of new workers so that it could grow and prosper.

British and Australian governments collaborated to offer 'assisted passages', effectively subsidising the fare so that emigrants would pay a maximum of £10.

Ships such as the 'Asturias', 'Georgie', 'Canberra', 'Oriana', and 'Britannia' and a whole fleet of vessels were employed to take people to their new homes on the other side of the world.

Companies such as Chandris and P&O made small fortunes on these voyages which peaked in the 1960s but continued into the 1970s. Australia benefited by taking skilled workers from the Old World and sometimes even the crew jumped ship to take advantages of opportunities in the New World. Geoff Lunn tells the fascinating history of these mass emigrations, using interviews with emigrants to bring the story to life.
'AUSTRALIAN MIGRANT SHIPS 1946-1977'
By Peter Plowman

Peter Plowman's book Emigrant Ships to Luxury Liners was published in 1992, and sold steadily until 2004, when supplies were exhausted. Rather than reprint that book, he decided to produce a new book that concentrated solely on the migrant ships that served Australia from 1946 to 1977, as they are still a source of great interest to many people, especially those who travelled on them, and their families. This new book contains many new pictures as well as updated information.
When World War 2 ended, the Australian Government was hoping for an influx of 70,000 migrants a year from Britain. In March 1946, an agreement was signed with the British Government, under which the Ministry of Transport would supply a number of older passenger liners to transport Britons wishing to migrate to Australia. It was only when an insufficient number of Britons applied to migrate that the Australian Government began seeking people from Greece and Italy, and then suitable refugees who thronged the displaced persons camps in Europe. On 21 July 1947, the Australian Government signed an agreement with the International Refugee Organisation in Geneva to accept 12,000 displaced persons per year, though this number would greatly increase over subsequent years.
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