Australian Studies, Volume 3, Series 2 (2011)

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'Not Celebrated for its Agriculture’: Emigrant Guides and Land Settlement in New South Wales, 1831-65

Edward Cavanagh


This article examines the processes of British settlement in New South Wales through the lens of emigrant guides that were produced to attract newcomers to the expanding colony. The author identifies two main types of guide: the compilation – a collection of written information on the colony – and the more popular personal account – essentially a rant written by a bona fide settler. Both types tended to offer the prospect that one could choose what sort of settler they would become. Emigrant guides, it is argued, had a key imperial function of turning ‘frontiers into assets’.

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