University Of Tasmania
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Among friends : middle-class Tasmanians who moved to New Zealand, 1855-1875

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posted on 2023-05-27, 11:26 authored by Paterson, J
This thesis examines the movement of middle-class Tasmanians to New Zealand during the mid-nineteenth century. This group of people consisted primarily of entrepreneurs who were already crossing the Tasman Sea during the 1850s, and young professional men who left Tasmania in the wake of the Otago gold rush of the early 1860s. Neither ex-convicts nor gold seekers (nor whalers, soldiers, et al) are included in this research group ‚Äö- precisely those people who are currently found at the forefront of any discussion about the wider Australian movement into New Zealand during this period. This thesis takes a qualitative approach; it is the motivations and actions of the individuals concerned that are explored and analysed. Wherever possible first-hand accounts are utilised and it is from these that the thesis is generated. To this end a group of New Zealand-related letters was sourced from the Weston Collection at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston. The Tasmanians referred to in these letters formed the core sample group for this research. An extended 'family history' was prepared for these people which included their interconnections with one another and their experiences both in Tasmania and in New Zealand. The experiences of this group of Tasmanians were then used to test the late nineteenth century Australia-New Zealand migration hypotheses of Rollo Arnold. Arnold's framework for defining the movements of Australians to New Zealand (and vice versa) included the concepts 'among friends', 'invisibility' and the 'perennial interchange', as well as the belief that a high proportion of Australians travelling to New Zealand during the nineteenth century were attempting to escape from their past. The stories of these middle-class Tasmanians provide a new lens through which to question perceptions of nineteenth century Australian people movement to New Zealand. The 'family history' approach followed during this research, with its accent on studying individual behaviour, has allowed this thesis to extend the discussion of Tasmanian movement to include return migration and multiple migration ‚Äö- a new approach within the Australia-New Zealand lexicon. While Arnold's concepts remain valid, future discussion must also now include the hitherto unrecognised predominance of native-born colonials, at least among middle-class migrants, as well as the important role played by their unmarried sisters.


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Copyright 2015 the author

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