Ten Pound Poms
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Ten Pound Poms (also called Ten Pound Tourists) is a colloquial term used in Australia to describe British subjects who migrated to Australia after the Second World War under an assisted passage scheme established and operated by the Government of Australia.
Created in 1945 during the government of Ben Chifley as part of the "Populate or Perish" policy by the first Minister for Immigration, Arthur Calwell, the scheme was designed to substantially increase the population of Australia and to supply workers for the country's booming industries. In return for subsidising the cost of travelling to Australia — adult migrants were charged only ten pound sterling for the fare (hence the name), and children were allowed to travel for free — the Government promised employment prospects, housing and a generally more optimistic lifestyle. However, on arrival, migrants were placed in basic hostels and the expected job opportunities were not always readily available. It was a follow-on to the unofficial Big Brother Movement and attracted over one million migrants from the British Isles between 1945 and 1972, representing the last substantial scheme for preferential migration from the British Isles to Australia. In 1957, more migrants were encouraged to travel following a campaign called 'Bring out a Briton'. Coming to an end in 1982, the scheme reached its peak in 1969; during this year over 80,000 migrants took advantage of the scheme. The cost to migrants of the assisted passage was increased to £75 in 1973.
While the term "Ten Pound Pom" is in common use, the scheme was not limited to just migrants from the United Kingdom. Persons born in the Irish Free State or in the southern counties of Ireland prior to the establishment of the Republic of Ireland in 1949 were also classified as British subjects. In fact most British subjects were eligible and, at the time, that included not only those from the British Isles but also residents of British colonies such as Malta and Cyprus. Australia also operated schemes to assist selected migrants from other countries, notably the Netherlands (1951), Italy (1951), Greece (1952), West Germany (1952) and Turkey (1967).
Assisted migrants were generally obliged to remain in Australia for two years after arrival, or alternatively refund the cost of their assisted passage. If they chose to travel back to Britain, the cost of the journey was at least £120, a large sum in those days and one that most could not afford. It was also possible for many British persons to migrate to Australia on a non-assisted basis before the early 1970s, although most travelled as Ten Pounders. This was part of the wider White Australia Policy. A quarter of British migrants chose to return to the UK but half of these—the so-called 'Boomerang Poms'—returned to Australia.
Prior to 1 December 1973, migrants to Australia from Commonwealth countries were eligible to apply for Australian citizenship after one year's residence in Australia. In 1973 the residence requirement was extended to three years, then reduced to two years in November 1984. However, relatively few British migrants—compared to other postwar arrivals, such as Italians, Greeks and Turks—took up Australian citizenship. Consequently, many lost their Australian resident status later on, usually through leaving Australia.
The current Prime Minister Julia Gillard migrated with her family from Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales in 1966, in her parents' hope the warmer climate would help her fix a lung infection. The current Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, migrated in 1960.
- RMS Mooltan P & O Passenger Ship
- The Feldons song Win One Time off their 2012 album Goody Hallett and Other Stories refers to Ten Pound Poms as the writer's father-in-law was in fact a 'Ten Pound Pom'.
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- Matthews, Lisa (31 January 2008). "The £10 ticket to another life". BBC Timewatch. BBC. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- Hale, Beth (5 August 2009). "Return of the Ten Pound Poms: Bargain-hunters sleep on the street in race to get a cheap one-way ticket to Australia". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 5 January 2011.
- "Immigration to Australia During the 20th Century – Historical Impacts on Immigration Intake, Population Size and Population Composition – A Timeline". Australian Government, Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- "Profile: Julia Gillard". BBC News (BBC). 7 September 2010. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
- Keating, Frank (28 April 2010). "Harold Larwood's low-key leaving of England went almost unnoticed". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 18 January 2011.
- "Famous Ten Pound Poms". Ten Pound Pom. Retrieved 2 January 2012.