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Migrant Employees at Sunshine Harvester Works

Group portrait of employees at H.V. McKay Massey Harris

Image: Group portrait of employees at H.V. McKay Massey Harris

Source: Museum Victoria

'In recent months, we at Sunshine have welcomed many new faces ... people of many languages and customs, but with one thought in common; that of carving for themselves a new life in a new world, away from the torture, misery and madness of the world. By encouraging word and deed and by tolerant understanding, little things that cost us nothing, we can make these people good Australians and make ourselves better Australians'. (Sunshine Review, Sept. 1949)

From the early 20th century, employment opportunities and relatively inexpensive housing and land attracted many migrants to Sunshine. Migrants were vital to the Sunshine Harvester Works, particularly during periods of reduced manpower. While visiting Great Britain in 1911, George McKay, brother of company founder H.V McKay, personally recruited a number of migrants to join the factory in order to alleviate the shortage of skilled workers.

Following World War II, the Australian government embarked on an ambitious migration program to assist thousands of Europeans to settle in Australia. The Sunshine Harvester Works benefited from this program as many migrants entered the company's workforce in the post-war era. Migrants arrived from all over Europe and the Middle East, including Greece, Malta, Ireland, Syria, Egypt and Latvia. By 1968, migrant employees outnumbered Australian-born workers. Italians were the largest migrant group working for the company. As a result, the company introduced special measures to assist Italian workers. In 1962 a basic Italian language course for factory supervisors was established. Additionally, the firm's official newsletter Massey-Ferguson Outlook included an Italian language supplement.

References
Massey-Ferguson Outlook 1962, 'Italian Course an MF ?First?', vol. 1, no. 5, pp.10.
Massey-Ferguson Outlook 1968, 'Aussies in Minority', vol. 1, no. 27, pp.16.
Sunshine Review 1949, 'New Australians and Old', no. 6, pp.7.
Related Narratives
Apprenticeships at Sunshine Harvester Works
Bult Family at Sunshine Harvester Works
Bibliography Relating to Sunshine Harvester Works
Charitable Work and Sunshine Harvester Works
Employee Welfare Assistance at Sunshine Harvester Works
Factory Site of Sunshine Harvester Works
Female Employment at Sunshine Harvester Works
H.V McKay Massey Harris Pty Ltd
H.V McKay Memorial Gardens (formerly Sunshine Gardens), Sunshine, Victoria
Hugh V. McKay, Agricultural Implement & Machinery Manufacturer, Ballarat & Sunshine, Victoria
Massey-Ferguson (Aust.) Ltd., Agricultural & Construction Equipment Manufacturers & Importers, Sunshine, Victoria
McKay's Brandnames
Origin of the 'Sunshine' Brandname
Social Gatherings at Sunshine Harvester Works
Sunshine Harvester Works, Contributions to the War Effort, World War I, 1914-1920
Sunshine Harvester Works, Contributions to the War Effort, World War II, 1940-1945
Sunshine Harvester Works, Sunshine, Victoria, Australia
Sunshine Stripper Harvester

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