Queensland became an independent state in 1859, separating from New South Wales. Almost immediately, an ambitious plan on migration was embarked upon in order to attract emigrants to Queensland, above all other possible colony destinations in the British Empire. Henry Jordan was instrumental
[...] Read more.
Queensland became an independent state in 1859, separating from New South Wales. Almost immediately, an ambitious plan on migration was embarked upon in order to attract emigrants to Queensland, above all other possible colony destinations in the British Empire. Henry Jordan was instrumental as the Emigration Commissioner (1861–1866) in devising the land order scheme and Richard Daintree, as Agent-General, wooed, through modern techniques on never-before-seen photography in colour, small capitalists to the isolated outreaches of Queensland, where settlement was encouraged. Life there for those that migrated was, however, vastly different from what either they knew in Britain, or what they expected. But, ultimately, they settled, took possession of considerable stretches of lands, as selectors, or pastoral land owners, with disregard for the indigenous populations there. In this article, I examine one migration story on an ancestor in the nineteenth century, Andrew Milne, from London to Queensland, through the lens of critical settler family history theory. I take up the challenge for historians to question who their ancestors were, since the past is telling of the present, and the perceptions that are longed for in the future selves. Namely, in the construction of the future self, an individual must also confront their past, and the lives of those that preceded them. In particular, in the case of Australia, settlement, colonisation, and the possession of land are not benign, and are not isolated events, but have an impact on the present and future lives of both descendants of those that possessed the land, and those from whom it was taken away. The legacy of racial segregation (through the Stolen Generations), and despite the attempt to ‘close the gap’ since 2008, Aboriginal peoples in Australia still suffer the consequences of objectification and dehumanisation to which they were subjected. The consequences are not only financial and economic, but are visible in health, education, social status, and in their mistrust of public services.