Memory and the migrant story: a comparison of two studies of British migrants arriving in Western Australia in the 1960s

Hilda June Caunt

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

Is the term 'Whingeing Pom' justified as a description of British migrants? This thesis examines the narratives of British migrants who arrived in Western Australia between 1959 and 1966 to determine if this stereotype is valid or if there were real difficulties when they tried to adapt their new way of life. Labelled whingers when they spoke of their disillusion and disappointment, this thesis compares and contrasts their migration stories revealing why they left Britain, their experiences on settlement and why some left Australia permanently. It is acknowledged that the early 1960s was a time of economic downturn in Australia and that this may have affected the respondent's experience. It should be noted that the reports to Appleyard's 1966 study did indicate an improvement in employment opportunities. The story of post-war immigration to Australia has been told by eminent scholars who consider the migration experience to be the same across Australia. This thesis focuses on the situation for British migrants who came to Western Australia. It analyses the historical background and changes to immigration and foreign policies that took place in both Australia and Britain in the 1960s which may have affected the acceptance of Britons. Possible reasons for the negative attitude towards British migrants, which led to them later being called 'Whingeing Poms' are reviewed and the push/pull factors which attracted the migrants to Australia are examined. This thesis offers a unique insight into life for British migrants in Western Australia in the 1960s by comparing a contemporary study with one taken some forty years later. The experiences of twenty-five migrants in R.T. Appleyard's contemporary longitudinal study (1959-1966) who came to Western Australia are compared with the remembrances of the sixty-five respondents who arrived in Western Australia between 1959 and 1966 in H.J. Caunt's study (2005-2007).
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2013

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