Empire and Race: The Maltese in Australia, 1881-1949

Empire and Race: The Maltese in Australia, 1881-1949

Empire and Race: The Maltese in Australia, 1881-1949

Empire and Race: The Maltese in Australia, 1881-1949

Synopsis

A thorough examination of the reasons for and conditions of the substantial migration of Maltese to Australia in the late 19th century and first half of 20th century. The treatment and settlement of Maltese migrants in Australia is viewed against the background of Britain's imperial policies and Australia's official immigration policies. Includes a detailed bibliography and an index.

Excerpt

This book has two objectives which are new to the study of Australia's immigration history. Firstly, it seeks to outline the nature of the migration process of the inhabitants of the tiny central Mediterranean Maltese archipelago to Australia in the period 1881 to 1949. The time-frame denotes a distinct era in Maltese migration. In the early 1880s, the first attempt at an organised system of subsidised group migration to Australia occurred; in 1949 an Assisted Passage Agreement between Malta and Australia was officially implemented.

Secondly, an argument will be offered concerning the factors which gave rise to Maltese immigration into Australia. It is argued that Maltese migration arose principally from the Maltese people's lack of long-term security on an island whose fortunes and sufferings rose and fell according to the whims and dictates of British imperialism. Furthermore, in charting the development of Australian immigration policy in respect of the Maltese, the Australian policy was shaped by an interplay of three key factors: the British Colonial Office, which sought to relieve Malta of its surplus population, basically for imperial strategic reasons; the Maltese Emigrationists, whose pro-British loyalties led them to push for an organised, government-administered system of emigration to replace the old haphazard, individual-based 'non-system'; and the Australians, whose governments identified with British desires to populate the 'vacant portions of empire', such as northern Australia, but imposed restrictions . . .

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