At the height of the Victorian gold rush, between July 1852 and June 1853, hundreds of government-assisted migrants from Lancashire, England, made their way to Australia and disembarked in Victoria. They were part of a huge flood of such migrants who were poured into the new-born colony as the colonial administration scrabbled to cope with the gold rush.
The scheme was an unprecedented achievement in government-organised migration. Yet most historians have tended to dismiss these assisted migrants as the unskilled poorest-of-the-poor, and not of the same calibre as the working-class and middle-class unassisted migrants also arriving at the colony in great numbers.
Made in Lancashire is a collective biography that explores in detail who the Lancashire assisted migrants were, their origins, why they migrated, where they went on arrival in Victoria, and what they made of their lives. Far from being the dross of England, these migrants were intelligent, highly motivated risktakers, many of whom went on to experience success as gold diggers, selectors, tradespeople and entrepreneurs.
Richard Turner graduated as Doctor of Philosophy in History at La Trobe University in September 2019. He was also awarded the Nancy Millis Medal for producing a thesis of exceptional merit. Turner previously had a significant career as a filmmaker, with 21 credits to his name as a director, producer and writer. In the 1980s he was also an important contributor to the gay publications industry in Australia as a journalist, editor and publisher, for Campaign Magazine, Sydney Star, Star Observer and Outrage, and as a director of the Gay Publications Cooperative. He also contributed regularly to Sydney Morning Herald, SBS TV, TVNZ, Network Ten and ABC TV.