Promoting emigration to South Australia from Britain 1829 – c1850: The importance of newspapers and other literature to the South Australian Colonisation Project

Author: Marilyn Arnold

  • Thesis download: available for open access on 8 Jan 2022.

Arnold, Marilyn, 2019 Promoting emigration to South Australia from Britain 1829 – c1850: The importance of newspapers and other literature to the South Australian Colonisation Project, Flinders University, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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South Australia was envisioned as an experiment in colonisation. That it was a unique venture in colonial empire building is undeniable. Edward Gibbon Wakefield’s (1796-1862) place in its history is also recognised. His colonisation principles inspired the hopes and dreams of collaborators, colonists and labouring emigrants. Far from a haphazard aggregation of Britain’s indigent or unwanted people however, South Australia’s supporters and colonisers encouraged capitalist investors and labourers of moral character with the aptitude to succeed.

In the first instance, the untried plan for systematic colonisation required extensive promotion. Once government sanction was forthcoming, in the absence of convict labour and in competition with the existing Australian colonies, further publicity was critical for its success. However, a comprehensive analysis of the specific types of publicity and literature that promoted the colony and of the people who published it and their motivations are lacking in historical treatise. This thesis advances original knowledge in the fields of British imperial expansion, colonial settlement, migration and advertising by identifying and analysing the various ways that South Australia was publicised in print to encourage support and inform potential


The period covered in this thesis was called the ‘age of newspapers’. It was an era when the written word surpassed traditional word-of-mouth communication as the predominant method for spreading news and information. Newspapers were available to more people than previously. South Australia was proposed during an optimum era to take advantage of the emerging print industry. This study identifies who advertised the colony and examines the specific methods that were utilised to encourage both

capitalist land purchasers and migrant labourers. It investigates how influential newspapers were for promoting South Australia.

Keywords: Britain, Nineteenth Century, South Australia, Advertising, Newspapers

Subject: History thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2019
School: College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Supervisor: Andrekos Varnava