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Would you have come to Australia in the 1800´s?

Updated: Apr 18

What was the longest trip you´ve ever taken abroad? And why did you take it? If the conditions of your trip were similar to those in the 1800s, would you still have taken that trip today? 🛳 


Imagine a cruise where you must drink water that not even the flavour of tea makes bearable, and where you sleep on straw-stuffed mattresses surrounded by farm animals. Your survival on this voyage, that last over three months, is not guaranteed. During the cruise that my ancestor took, 4% of the passengers passed away. Their ship passed through the ´The Roaring Forties´, the faster but rougher route to Queensland: “Then came the start of the sea-sickness, where hundreds of people lay about, having great dizziness and having to vomit” 🤒 


Could you board such a ship? I could not. It only leaves me wondering: "What motivated these citizens, from a culture which values stability so highly, to embark on the greatest risk of their life?" 🤔 


Were they the exception from the norm? Debatable. Most were farmers, escaping economic instability as industrialisation reduced the need for their labour. They were also escaping conscription into military service as Prussia sought to dominate all German regions.


Were the migrants misled by emigration agents who overrepresented the voyage to, and life in, Australia? Perhaps. Deceiving potential immigrants was barely penalised, and returning was impossible. To accumulate funds for a future in Australia, most had sold their property and possessions, and to emigrate, they had to terminate their citizenship 😯 


No. Rather, the main motive was linked to something integral to Australia´s identity. For them, like many other immigrants throughout the centuries, Australia was the opportunity to escape poverty and treatment as lower-class citizens. They were needed to cultivate Australia and with very little, they became one of the most influential groups in establishing Queensland. They were the "Aussie battlers", people in disadvantaged circumstances who diligently fight against forms of hardship 💯 


Australians love the "underdog" because many of us descend from them. Class structure negatively differentiated them from others. Correspondingly, we (generally) try to remove such hierarchy in our country. Instead, you can expect a "fair go" from most of us: equal opportunity to succeed, regardless of your personal circumstances and the right to make mistakes. If you break this rule, openly position yourself over others for example, then expect disapproval ⚠ 


To learn from our past is to learn of our present. Share your thoughts on how Australia´s history has influenced its culture today 😊

Australia in the 1800´s

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