Similar items over time

Booklet - 'The Peril of Melbourne', Victorian Land Settlement Division, Immigration League of Australia, 1907 Document Reg. No: HT 22159

Booklet titled 'The Peril of Melbourne' issued by the Victorian Land Settlement Division of the Immigration League of Australia, 1907. The booklet promotes the increase of primary production and producers in Victoria, land settlement opportunities, and expresses concern regarding the emigration from Victoria of the fit, educated and able. It admonishes the Victoria state government for enabling this situation through thwarting land settlement.

The publication includes the membership, platform and objectives of the organisation, including Prime Minister Alfred Deakin as its president. Its stated platform is 'The settlement and cultivation of our lands, and the attraction of desirable immigrants to Australia' through advocacy of closer settlement, education regarding need to increase agricultural population, dissemination of information regarding land settlement and immigration her and overseas and provision of assistance and advice to arriving immigrants. The title reference to 'the Peril of Melbourne' refers to the threat to Melbourne's prosperity if rural settlement and production on the land is not increased and assured. The priority for the association is the settling of locally-born people on the land and then opening land up for immigrants, The essay also includes negative international comparisons with Victoria regarding primary production, birth and marriage rates. Finally the essay concludes with a warning statement regarding Australia's vulnerability to invasion, particularly by Asian populations.

In the absence of any national immigration selection policy prior to 1920, voluntary agencies formed, including The Immigration League of Australia. It was formed in 1905 by Richard Arthur, MLA for New South Wales with encouragement from Prime Minister Alfred Deakin. A later offshoot was called the Immigration League of Australasia while the original body was renamed the British Immigration League of Australia which focused on immigration from Britain. By 1914 the League had brought to Australia 7500 immigrants mostly from London under agreement with the Central (Unemployed) Body for London.
Small 40 page booklet, with two staples at spine. Soft brown paper cover with red type print and border. Back cover features an advertisement for H.V.McKay Sunshine harvesters in red type print. Inside pages are each headed with 'Lennon's Harvester Works, Spotswood,' and includes advertisements and a promotional essay.
Statement Of Significance:
This booklet is an evocative example of the popular promotion of both White Australia and 'populate or perish' sentiments which dominated Australian immigration policy after Federation and which was promoted by organisations such as the Immigration League of Australia and the Australian Natives Association. It is also an example of the voluntary associations which formed across Australia, partly filling a vacuum created by the absence of any coordinated national policy on immigration promotion and selection in Australia until 1920.

Following the 1890s depression, concern arose that too many people were living in Melbourne, especially in the crowded inner suburbs. Large cities were likened to cancers, spreading disease and sapping the nation's strength. The Victorian Government's Closer Settlement Scheme was established in 1904 to entice people away from the inner city. Small holdings for farming were made available throughout the state. In Melbourne, land was subdivided for workers' homes in the fringe suburbs of Footscray, Brunswick, Northcote and Thornbury, and for 'clerks' in the eastern suburbs of Glenhuntly and Tooronga.

In 1915, a royal commission found that the scheme was seriously flawed. Water, sewerage, roads, schools and other infrastructure lagged behind the construction of homes, and the blocks of land were often too small to be viable as farms. By 1916, about 1000 homes had been built. Residents struggled for years, however, to get such basic amenities as roads and water supply. -Melbourne Story text panel, 2008
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 183 mm (Height), 126 mm (Width)

More information

Tagged with: immigration, white australia policy, immigration policies, closer settlement schemes
Themes this item is part of: Migration Collection, Sunshine Stripper Harvester, The Sunshine Harvester Works, Sunshine, Victoria, Australia, Hugh V. McKay, Agricultural Implement & Machinery Manufacturer, Ballarat & Sunshine, Victoria, H.V. McKay Massey Harris Pty Ltd, Agricultural Equipment Manufacturers & Importers, Sunshine, Victoria, H.V. McKay Sunshine Collection
Primary Classification: MIGRATION
Secondary Classification: Policy
Tertiary Classification: publications
Inscriptions: Cover entitled: 'The Peril of Melbourne. The Victorian Land Settlement Division of the Immigration League of Australia, Melbourne, 1907.' More extensive text under title.
Publisher: Immigration League of Australia, Victoria, Australia, 1907
Printer: Troedel & Co., Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1907
Person Named: Mr Marshall Lyle
Organisation Named: Hugh Lennon, Sunshine, Victoria, Australia, 1907
Organisation Named: H.V. McKay, Sunshine Harvester Works, Sunshine, Victoria, Australia, 1907
Place & Date Used: Victoria, Australia, 1907
References: James Jupp, 'The Australian People' (2001), p. 52.

Add your comment

  • Museum Victoria does not provide valuations, for more information please visit the valuation infosheet
  • Please note that Museum Victoria staff will not normally respond to comments posted on our website.
Yes No