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Title: Passengers, emigrants and modern men : a social history of the 1852 voyage of ss Great Britain from Liverpool to Melbourne
Author: Connor, Claire
ISNI:       0000 0004 5923 0409
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2015
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This research studies one particular cohort of nineteenth-century emigrants at a precise moment in British-Australian migration history in order to challenge generalisations within many previous emigration studies which have denied such emigrants a sense of individual identity or agency. It examines the lives of 300 of the 630 passengers on the 1852 voyage of 55 Great Britain from Liverpool to Melbourne who travelled in response to the Victorian goldrush, and places their emigration decision in context, both within their own lives and within the increased sense of global mobility that steam-technology represented. It identifies who these predominantly male passengers were, and how their sense of self as modern Victorians was influenced by the realities of long-distance steam-travel. Using passenger writings and other sources it reconstructs the significant events of the voyage; the class anxieties of the 'middling sort' of passengers; the manifestations of male violence; and the changing attitudes towards the Captain's authority. This thesis argues that the peculiarity of the unworldly location of a ship at sea produced an atmosphere of confusion between public and private worlds, thereby allowing behaviour inconsistent with the accepted understanding of the conduct of the Victorian middle-class. The group biographical research explores the complexities of individual emigration decision making, and reveals unexpected networks amongst the passengers, within their lives both before the voyage and once in Australia. It demonstrates that previous assumptions about goldrush emigrant destinations are incorrect in that the majority of the passengers did not go to the goldfields but instead pursued commercial, mercantile or professional lives in Melbourne and other urban centres. Finally, evidence of the high rate of return migration by these passengers provides new insight into the attitudes of modern thinking Victorians towards global travel and questions contemporary perceptions of long-distance mobility in this era.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available