You May Well Become Slaves

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On the fringes of Queensland’s assisted migration scheme: Migration from Arctic North Norway to Tropical Australia in the 1870s.

By Fredrik Larsen Lund

Introduction

‘Queensland? Yes exactly. I can tell you are surprised, with a question mark on your face, as if you wanted to ask: “Where is Queensland?”’[1] In the early 1870s Queensland emerged as a potential destination for overseas emigrants from Scandinavia as this 1871 quote from the Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang indicates. Even Norway, a small country with no imperial ties to Queen Victoria, was targeted as a catchment area for prospective immigrants to the British colony of Queensland. This paper will discuss some of the issues at play on the geographic extremity of Queensland’s assisted migration program with particular attention to a group of migrants from the town of Tromsø in the northern part of Norway.

While Norwegians moved to North America in massive numbers in the second half of the nineteenth century, and countless cross-Atlantic links were forged through that process, Queensland had an altogether different position on the migration market in Norway: It was practically unknown, extremely far away, and consequently very few decided to give it a try. Yet in the early 1870s considerable attention was given to the Queensland migration offer as the tangles of the colony’s assisted migration scheme reached Norway – and even the country’s Arctic outposts.

Click here for a shorter version in Norwegian

Migration to Queensland

European colonisation of Queensland was dependent on immigration. However, as Geoffrey Blainey and others have pointed out, most intending migrants dismissed Australia because of the length of the journey and the expense of the fare. Subsidised or free fares acted as a vital bribe in order to overcome the tyranny of distance and lure migrants away, particularly to Queensland.[2] After separation from New South Wales in 1859, Queensland embarked on a large-scale migration scheme whereby the government organised and subsidised an infrastructure that allowed migrants to travel relatively cheaply and smoothly across the globe. The milestone was the Immigration Act of 1869, setting up a fully government-controlled system to import people, including Scandinavians, from 1870. As a result, migration schemes contributed more to the population of Queensland than to any other Australian colony. Between 1860 and 1879, more than 114 000 migrants arrived from Europe. 85 per cent were assisted, meaning that the Queensland government paid for their passage partly or in full.[3]

European immigration to Queensland was not only a British concern. In the early colonial period the influx of Germans was considerable, and immigration from the German states was part of the implementation of the 1869 Immigration Act. However, when the Queensland migration agents faced problems there, Scandinavia – in including Norway – emerged as an alternative field of recruitment.

In 1870, William Kirchner was appointed Emigration Agent for Queensland in Germany, and he started organising shipments directly from Hamburg to Queensland, partly because the North German government did not allow transport of German emigrants via English ports.[4] The ship Humboldt was the first to leave Hamburg, departing on 16 July 1870, almost at the same time as the Franco-Prussian war broke out. In order to avoid the war risks, the ship sailed under the British flag.[5] However, the war was only one of several obstacles hitting Queensland’s German migration scheme. By law in the North German Confederation, Queensland was prohibited from requiring repayment of the passage money from the emigrants, a practice which was still in place at the time. This ‘is a rather serious difficulty’, Agent-General John Douglas wrote from London to the Colonial Secretary.[6] Furthermore, due to the war no males between six and 40 years of age were allowed to leave Germany.[7]

The Queensland agents started searching for a substitute in the form of people from Scandinavia, where they found that contracts with a repayment clause could be employed.[8] The ship Reichstag, embarking from Hamburg on 12 November 1870, was for the greater part filled with Scandinavians.[9] By then, Kirchner had already worked the Scandinavian field for several months and he had appointed agents in Denmark, Sweden and Norway.[10] The first contingent of Norwegians, 87 in total, left Hamburg on board the Friedeburg on 23 April 1871.[11] When Prussia for a time prohibited the Queensland agent to operate within its territory, Scandinavia again became an option in order to fill the ships. In his annual report for 1872, Kirchner wrote that ‘several useful emigrants were engaged in Norway.’[12]

For intending Norwegian emigrants a window of opportunity was opened for them, particularly for those who did not have the means to pay the full price for tickets to Australia or America. Generally, discounted passages were advertised for single female domestic servants and male farm labourers, and at times for common labourers and craftsmen. Although conditions varied, the most common rate was around 12 Norwegian Speciedaler (£2 13s) for adults and half as much for children. Still, the adult fare amounted to three to four months’ wages for a male urban servant in Norway. For female domestic servants offers were better. In 1873 female domestic servants could travel to Queensland for around £1 – plus another £1 to be paid three months after arrival.[13] In any case, the offer from Queensland compared favourably with fares to America. Tickets across the Atlantic were approximately £4 16s including food on a sailing vessel, or £6 12s on a steamer.[14]

As a result of the efforts, around 750 Norwegians arrived in Queensland on ships from Hamburg in the 1870s. Among the migrants were many families, single men and single women. Women counted 40 per cent of the Norwegian Hamburg migrants. The only time possibly resembling anything like Queensland fever in Norway was the period from 1871 to 1873 when 675 men, women and children set sail for north east Australia; 80 per cent of them travelled on just six different departures from Hamburg.[15] The scheme was suspended in 1873, but recommenced on a smaller scale from 1876 to 1878.

The Norwegians in Queensland

The geographically extreme

Tromsø harbour with boats serving the Russian trade, photographed in mid-1873, just a few months after a group of townspeople migrated to Queensland. PHOTO: Kirkhorn, Tromsø University Museum.

Tromsø harbour with boats serving the Russian trade, photographed in mid-1873, just a few months after a group of townspeople migrated to Queensland. PHOTO: Kirkhorn, Tromsø University Museum.

While most of the Norwegians hailed from the capital Kristiania (Christiania until the 1870s; Oslo today) and surrounding districts, one group of Norsemen stood out from the rest due to the long journey they had to undertake in order to reach Queensland: They came from the town of Tromsø, situated approximately 400 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle.

A settlement since medieval times, Tromsø was awarded city privileges in 1794 and grew as an administrative centre in the early 1800s. Fisheries have traditionally been an important source of income. In the 1870s, the town had a population of about 5000. It stands to reason to conclude that Tromsø was the northernmost outpost of the Queensland government’s recruitment apparatus.

A total of 44 individuals, comprising seven families and a few unmarried men and women, left Tromsø in March 1873, travelling first to Hamburg and then continuing their voyage to Queensland on the immigrant ships Herschel and Reichstag arriving within a few days of each other in July the same year.[16] Some of these families where close neighbours in Tromsø, with the men working in maritime occupations. Johan Severin Helstad was a skipper and lived in Nordre Strandgade (Northern Beach Street) with his wife Sara Louise and his three children from a previous marriage, Christine, Hilda and Johan.[17] In the same street the Davidsen family resided too. Husband Johan Adrian was a seaman or a ship carpenter.[18] He took his wife Marie and their four children Antonie, Hanne (Anna), Johan and Fredrik and left for Queensland in 1873, like his neighbours. So did a third family in the Nordre Strandgade, the Mathisens. The husband Jacob, born in Finland, made a living from sailing to the Arctic archipelago of Spitsbergen. His wife Ane Katrine hailed from Sweden. They seem to have had six children with them to Australia. A fourth family, that of fisherman/seaman Karl Martin Larsen resided in Bakkegaden (Hill Street) in 1865, but is said to have been close neighbours to the Davidsens and probably acquainted with them long before the voyage.[19]

Why did these families go to Queensland? To begin with, 1873 was a year of crisis in Tromsø, increasing the number of out-migrants. Two-thirds of the town’s overseas emigrants that year went to Queensland. Historian Astri Andersen reckons they chose an antipodean destination instead of America because ship transport was available, implicitly in the form of heavily discounted passages.[20]

A closer look reveals that the local sub-agent representing Queensland was no other than Gustav Kjeldseth, proprietor and editor of the town’s leading newspaper Tromsø Stiftstidende. From February to May 1873 Kjeldseth used his paper to frequently advertise for available berths on the Queensland bound ships from Hamburg. He had probably made arrangements with the main agent representing Queensland in Norway, Blichfeldt & Co. in Kristiania. It seems Kjeldseth had a certain quota to fill, and the system was easily manipulated: The seamen and fishermen mentioned above were all listed as landmann (farmer, peasant) upon departure from Hamburg, probably in order to comply with the requirements from the Queensland authorities who wanted rural workers and potential farmers.[21]

The editor-cum-agent, Mr. Kjeldseth, also published propaganda articles about the virtues of the colony.[22] At the height of the recruitment drive in March 1873 he wrote about ‘Australia’s progress’ concluding that Queensland ‘in the future without doubt is determined to play the greatest role among all Australian, yes perhaps even among all Anglo-Saxon colonies’.[23] Furthermore, books and prospects about Queensland were circulated in Tromsø.[24] Nevertheless, advertisements for ships to America were even more frequent and visible in the paper. Perhaps the discounted fares tipped the emigrants in favour of Australia? Could Kjeldseth’s personal influence have been a determining factor? In fact, he lived in Nordre Strandgade like many of those who decided to migrate, but exactly what mechanisms where at play in the streets of Tromsø during the late winter of 1873 remains to be revealed.

‘Hitherto unknown colony’

Did people believe in the rosy picture that was painted of colony? Quite possibly not. From the Queensland side, it was acknowledged by their agent in Germany, William Kirchner, that they had a job to do in terms of changing the perception in Scandinavia about a ‘hitherto unknown colony’. Kirchner also requested that a reference be made to the British embassies in Copenhagen and Stockholm that the Queensland Immigration Act was genuine and bona fide.[25]

If potential Norwegian migrants had heard about Queensland at all, their impression may well have been negative. Although convict transportation had ceased a generation ago, the image of Australia was still influenced by its past. The climate was another question. Although the propaganda promised warm, but healthy conditions, critics, among them the well-known historian and parliamentarian Ludvig Kr. Daa, argued that Norwegians would become dangerously ill if they did outdoor work under the hot Queensland sun.[26] By this he did little more than repeating contemporary views about the white man’s unsuitability for tropical agriculture. Moreover, in 1871 the Kristiania police commissioner prohibited 30 passengers from leaving for Queensland on the ship John Bertram. Queensland’s agent in Germany subsequently reported that he had to contend with some difficulties in Norway due to ‘reports, full of exaggerations and misrepresentations about the Polynesian emigration’, probably linked to stories about indentured labour on the Queensland sugar plantations.[27]

Rumours about slavery did indeed occur, and was a topic of public debate in Tromsø in 1873 too, when many townsfolk were exposed to the question: Should I go to Queensland or not? Discounted fares were seen by some as equivalent with indenture, or worse. While Kjeldseth, the editor-agent, had control over his own newspaper Tromsø Stiftstidende, he could not censure the competing publication Tromsøposten. The latter raised a critical voice against Queensland migration, first by publishing extracts from an emigrant letter complaining about misery on the sea voyage, an unhealthy climate, high living costs, and a lack of church life among Scandinavians. The newspaper encouraged their readers to think carefully and investigate the conditions thoroughly before making a decision about whether or not to go.[28]

Moreover, the considerable discounts offered on the passage should encourage caution, advised the newspaper, because the migrants would enter into a form of dependency which ‘in this case very well may be a real slave relation’.[29] While the use of Scandinavian indentured labour as a substitute to the Melanesians in Queensland was discussed on several occasions, as far as we know no actual steps were taken to recruit workers under contract from Norway. Those who took up on the offer of relatively cheap fares were in all practical matters free to do as they wished upon arrival.

However, the debate in Tromsø was based more on rumours and beliefs than hard facts. Hardly anyone had ever been to Australia. From Tromsø, even the capital Kristiania was a week away by steamer. Tromsøposten repeatedly pointed out that the conditions in Queensland are not known to us, but ‘in all probability they are intolerable’. They referred to unpromising news from the Queensland migrants’ reception in Hamburg, indicating that ‘the trade most fittingly may be compared with a slave trade’. Those who did not have the means to return home ‘should surely choose some other destination than Queensland’. At least wait until we have news from those who have already left, advised the newspaper.[30] Kjeldseth and his Queensland friendly Tromsø Stiftstidende countered by devoting two front pages to the publication of a long, encyclopaedic article about Australia, with reference to the many ’enquiries and disputes’ about the country down under.[31]

Deaths at sea

Despite the controversy, half a dozen families and a number of unmarried individuals decided to take up on the offer and leave the dark winters of Northern Norway behind in favour of Queensland. It shows that discounts, promotion and persuasion could work to a certain degree. The first group of 22 migrants left Tromsø on 8 March 1873 and travelled on the steamer Nordstjernen to Hamburg from where they embarked on the Herschel bound for Moreton Bay and Bowen.

The voyage to Queensland took three to five months. It was not just long, it could be dangerous too. Those who travelled on the Herschel experienced a ‘remarkably pleasant’ voyage with only one death on board.[32] However, two families among the second lot of Tromsø migrants went through misery of the worst sort en route to Queensland. Travelling on the Reichstag, leaving Hamburg 14 April 1873, Marie and Johan Adrian Davidsen lost two of their four children: Hanne (aged 9) from scarlet fever and her brother Fredrik (2) from bronchitis and diarrhoea. The Helstads were equally decimated: Johan Helstad (aged 8) died at sea from dysentery. A week after their arrival, his father Johan Snr. lost his life as well. The cause of death was again dysentery and he had been ill for 40 days.[33] In other words, his widow Sara Louise and her step-daughters Christine and Hilda were off to a difficult start in Australia after disembarking in Maryborough in July 1873.

These deaths as sea should be seen within the context of the controversy over the ‘German’ immigration scheme, which received a series of blows in 1873 relating to disease and death on board the ships Lammershagen, Alardus and Reichstag. On board the latter, 36 deaths occurred during the 90 days’ run from Hamburg.[34]Although the conditions on the sailing vessels gradually improved, the ships that left from Hamburg were inferior to the British ships in terms of decency, discipline, safety, cleanliness, medical attention, water and foodstuff, according to Helen Woolcock who has conducted a thorough study into the conditions onboard Queensland immigrant ships. German ships were also more crowded and mortality was higher than on the British vessels.[35] Following an outcry over the conditions on the German vessels, the Queensland government decided to suspend immigration from Germany (and thus Scandinavia) in 1873. The official reason was the unsanitary conditions on the Hamburg ships, but in addition the government found non-British immigration extremely expensive and times had become financially more difficult in the colony. The German authorities’ attempts at obstructing Queensland migration may also have influenced the decision.[36]

For the people in Tromsø this meant that Queensland in reality ceased to be an alternative destination for prospective emigrants. No more cheap tickets were offered, and few if any would follow in the footsteps of the 44 townsfolk who initially left. Although settled and naturalised immigrants in Queensland could use the nomination system to invite relatives and friends at home throughout the 1870s and 80s, the numbers were too insignificant for any real chain migration to take place. Consequently, migration from Tromsø to Queensland was practically a one-off event limited to the year 1873.

A new life in Queensland

Although neighbours at home, remaining close after arrival in Queensland was not necessarily possible for the folks from Tromsø. To begin with, the two immigrant ships arrived at different ports. While the Helstads, for example, came to Maryborough, others ended up further north: The Herschel left Hamburg with 116 Norwegians on board. After arriving in Bowen, a portion of the ship’s passengers were transferred north to Mackay by coastal steamer. A number of Norsemen, among them families from Tromsø, arrived in Townsville soon after.[37] ‘A resounding cheer greeted us, which was returned,’ one of them wrote about the welcome from the locals when a long journey had finally come to an end and they were allowed to disembark and go ashore in Bowen on 13 July 1873.[38]

Having safely travelled to Townsville a few days later, one family, probably Jacob Mathisen’s, scribbled down an optimistic letter home. Not surprisingly it was later published in Tromsø Stiftstidende as a testimony to the pleasant voyage and initial success of the migrants. It may have been altered by the editor to provide an overly positive picture of Queensland, or the writer may have felt an obligation to the agent in Tromsø to report back a happy story rather than sharing his difficulties. In any case, the letter gives a rare insight into the first impressions and experiences of some of the Arctic migrants who had travelled so far to start a new life:

We are well here. The girls got from 22 to 30 £st. a year. Laura is at a hotel and has 109 Spd. [£24] a year. The seamstresses take 2 Spd. 30 sk. Norwegian [10s] for a dress; to wash [a unit] of small clothes 1 Spd. 42 sk. [6s] is paid. Washing is done in cold water because it soon dries in the sun. Soap and soda and all sorts of fabric cost the same as in Norway, but the quality is better. On Sundays most women wear silk dresses and the men are also very nicely dressed. Paupers do not exist. In the gold mine, five Norwegian miles [50 km] from here the gold diggers receive 3 £st. per week. Mail is delivered twice weekly; there are many towns around where transport departs daily. I am with a wholesaler, where I have a horse to look after and delivering goods from the warehouse. Working hours are from 7 am to 5 pm. Wages the first three months 1½ £st. weekly, then 2 £st., until then I hope to have learned English. My wife is free and have earned more than me until this day, but the rent is dear, 5s (1 Spd. 15 sk.) a week. Here is nine months summer and the remaining three months it rains almost constantly, but [it] is just as warm as summer in Tromsø. Here are no class differences and I live like a little king. [39]

Some of the information conveyed in the letter is seem dubious. Compared to other sources relating to Norwegians in Queensland, the wages referred to here seem a bit exaggerated. Also, summer in Tromsø would have been very different from the North Queensland wet season. And although this particular correspondent may have had a stroke of luck, to ‘live like a little king’ was hardly the experience of most new chums in colonial Queensland.

From other information passed on through the letter it seems likely that a handful of Tromsø people arrived in Townsville. Besides the Mathisens they included Hans and Fredrikke Bertelsen and their daughter Johanne, in addition to Laura Styrvold, who migrated from Tromsø as an unmarried girl. Another young woman, probably Caroline Mathisen, aged about 20, apparently felt a need to justify their decision to migrate to Australia; and to impress upon people back home that Queensland was in fact a good place. Her postscript to her father’s letter reveals some of the contention among people in Tromsø about the prospect of moving to Queensland:

Here is lovely, believe me; I wish by God that all of mine were here so they did not have to freeze or starve […] All kinds of work is paid well here, so there is no lie in the prospects and books about Queensland which were given to us before departure. Anyone who can do a bit of different work makes large amounts of money […] The trees are never dead here. There are always flowers and normal health among all folks […] In terms of insects we are bothered by mosquitoes in summer, just like home. There is fish in abundance and I only have to go to the wharf to fish in the river […]. Here we became masters not slaves like the stupid people in Tromsø told us; and no one seems to wish to return to Norway.[40]

Others from Tromsø settled in different parts of Queensland. Martinius Normann, a baker, ended up at Herbert River where he selected land next door to other Scandinavians in Halifax. Peter Olsen, who came out with wife Ragnhild and three small children in 1873, lived in Charters Towers a decade later and made mining his occupation.[41] After arrival in Maryborough in July 1873, the Larsen family supposedly went on to nearby Burrum where Karl Martin Larsen obtained work for six months for £50. Later, they moved to Maryborough where their second son started school in 1878. Wife Ingeborg died 1879 and Karl Martin was killed in an accident at the Neardie Antimony Mine in 1881.[42]

The long road to settlement 

Quite a few Norwegian immigrants travelled a long way to final settlement in Australia.

Among those who came to Queensland on discounted tickets there was a considerable pull of the south, i.e. a secondary movement of people from Queensland to the colonies of New South Wales and Victoria. This also applied to some of the migrants from Tromsø. The movement of people is most clearly illustrated by the fact that around 750 Norwegians, predominantly young, disembarked in Queensland as assisted migrants in the 1870s. However, at the 1881 census, the Norwegian-born population in the colony stood at only 442.[43] Given that most of these migrants were rather poor, it seems unlikely that many of them bought new tickets and left Australia, but rather relocated within the continent. Unfortunately, there are not corresponding data available which allows us to measure any increases in the Norwegian population in New South Wales and Victoria.

The flow to the south can also be observed through a report written in 1880 by the Norwegian Lutheran minister Lauritz Carlsen who worked in Sydney at the time. About the composition of Scandinavians in that city, Carlsen noted that many of them, mostly Norwegians, were families who had gone to Queensland six to eight years earlier on assisted passages. They were labourers or craftsmen, and some widows, mostly having a secure albeit poor income. These families came predominantly from Kristiania and Tromsø, Carlsen observed.[44] In other words, some of the seven Tromsø families decided to move on from Queensland. One of the widows from the Tromsø group was Sara Louise Helstad who lost both her husband and one of her step-children within a week after disembarking at Maryborough. Eventually, she drifted to Sydney and settled there for 36 years until her death in 1911. Her son, Haldor, from her first marriage, also migrated to Sydney, and they lived together in their home Nidaros (named after a historic town in Norway; today known as Trondheim) in Marickvillle.[45]

What made the Norwegians leave Queensland? Personal tragedy aside, Danish-Australian writer Jens Lyng has suggested that the warm climate was disadvantageous to the Scandinavians; many preferred the cooler conditions of the southern colonies.[46] Farmers who took up cheap land in Queensland struggled to make a living. The more developed colonies of New South Wales and Victoria must have been tempting escapes. As indicated previously, more than half of the Hamburg migrants in the 1870s lived in or around the Norwegian capital prior to departure. As urban or semi-urban dwellers many of these may not have been too inclined to arduous land clearing in the bush. Instead, the bright lights of the southern cities could offer opportunities and jobs on a different scale than the Queensland frontier. The Norwegian communities in Sydney and Melbourne were also larger than in Queensland, mainly due to more intense shipping and trade connections between Norway and the southern colonies.

Concluding remarks

Migration from Norway was just a tiny piece in the big puzzle of European settlement in Queensland. The number of Norwegian-born inhabitants in the colony/state never exceeded about 850 people until the eve of the twenty-first century saw waves of young students seeking university education in The Sunshine State. In total, counting assisted and nominated migrants, independent travellers and seamen who deserted or were discharged, a total of about 1800-2000 Norwegians came to Queensland to live there between 1870 and 1914.[47]

Yet this small migratory system is an example of the diversity of European immigration to Queensland. It also shows that the colonial government and its representatives went very far, literally speaking, in order to fill the immigrant ships they had contracted in Germany. As such, the case of Tromsø was at the fringes of Queensland’s assisted migration scheme. It is quite remarkable that almost one per cent of the Arctic town’s population in 1873 decided to pack up and move to Queensland, despite the doubts that where raised, the lack of information about the destination, and the warnings about slavery and an unhealthy climate. The story of the Tromsø migrants show the incredible distance some people were willing to travel in search for a better life, yet also how powerless the migrants were when faced with accident and death. Although a comparatively large group of people from the same town migrated to Queensland at the same time, and many of them probably knew each other prior to departure, they did not reconstitute a Little Tromsø in Queensland. In the hands of the Queensland immigration agents, and faced with the need to find employment immediately, it was simply too difficult to settle together in the vast, unknown territory where they disembarked.

This article, in a slightly edited version, appeared in Queensland History Journal, published by The Royal Historical Society of Queensland, November 2012, Vol. 12, No. 11, pp. 718-732. 

[1] Verdens Gang, Kristiania, Norway (hereafter VG), 12 April 1871. Original quote in Norwegian. Author’s translation. This applies to all quotes from newspaper sources in this paper.

[2] Geoffrey Blainey, The Tyranny of Distance, Melbourne, Sun Books, 1966, p. 168.

[3] Raymond Evans, A history of Queensland, Port Melbourne, Cambridge University Press, 2007, p 83.

[4] Letter from William Kirchner, 7 April 1870, Votes & Proceedings of the Queensland Legislative Assembly (hereafter V&P), 1871, p. 925.

[5] V&P, 1871, p. 927.

[6] Agent-General John Douglas to the Colonial Secretary, 25 March 1870, V&P, 1871, p. 923.

[7] Douglas to the Colonial Secretary, 2 December 1870, V&P, 1871, p. 931.

[8] Kirchner to Douglas, 17 July 1870, V&P, 1871, p. 927.

[9] Douglas to the Colonial Secretary, 2 December 1870, V&P, 1871, p. 931.

[10] Kirchner to Douglas, 4 June 1870, V&P, 1871, p. 929.

[11] Eric, Rosemary and Andrew Kopittke, Emigrants from Hamburg to Australia: 1871, Brisbane, Queensland Family History Society, 2000, p. 18-19; Emigrants from Hamburg to Australasia 1850-1879, digitised database of Hamburg departure lists, published on CD by Queensland Family History Society.

[12] Report from the Emigration Agent for the Continent for the year 1872, V&P, vol. 1, part 2, 1873, p. 1001.

[13] VG, 17 June 1871, 14 October 1871, 5 May 1873, 11 June 1873; Dagbladet, Kristiania, Norway, 4 March 1872; Tromsø Stiftstidende (hereafter TSt), 4 June 1871, 10 April 1873 and 11 May 1873; Annual wages for servants 1850-1920, Statistics Norway, http://www.ssb.no/histstat/aarbok/tab-2000-09-20-01.html, retrieved 30 March 2012.

[14] Ingrid Semmingsen, Veien mot vest, vol. 2, Oslo, Aschehoug, 1950, p. 140-141.

[15] Emigrants from Hamburg to Australasia 1850-1879 (database).

[16] Eric and Rosemary Kopittke, Emigrants from Hamburg to Australia: 1873, Brisbane, Queensland Family History Society 2001, pp. 1, 16; Emigrants from Hamburg to Australasia 1850-1879 (database); TSt, 9 March 1873.

[17] 1865 Census for Tromsø, Norwegian Digital Archives (NDA). Residence data based on 1865 census.

[18] 1865 Census for Tromsø, NDA; Ministerial book no. 13, Tromsø parish, 1872-1877, pp. 294-298, NDA.

[19] Vibeke Nordberg and Ron Eilertsen, ‘The Came From Tromsoe in Norway’, Penny Manderson (ed.), The Voyages to Queensland of the Reichstag, publ. by Penny Manderson, 1997, p. 60-66. Also census and parish register, see above note.

[20] Astri Andersen, Tromsø gjennom 10 000 år: Handelsfolk og fiskerbønder: 1794-1900, Tromsø, Tromsø City Council, 1994, pp. 306-308; N.A. Ytreberg, Tromsø bys historie, vol. 1, Oslo, Tell forlag, 1946, p. 693.

[21] Emigrants from Hamburg to Australasia 1850-1879 (database)

[22] TSt, 20 February 1873, 13 March 1873, 6 April 1873, 10 April 1873.

[23] TSt, 13 March 1873.

[24] TSt, 8 January 1874.

[25] Kirchner to Douglas, 4 June 1870, V&P, 1871, p. 929.

[26] Tromsøposten, Tromsø, Norway (hereafter TP), 26 April 1873.

[27] Report of the Emigration Agent for Germany 1871, V&P, vol. 1, part 2, 1872, p. 1439.

[28] TP, 8 March 1873.

[29] TP, 2 April 1873.

[30] TP, 26 April 1873.

[31] TSt, 6 April and 10 April 1873.

[32] Port Denison Times, 19 July 1873.

[33] Register of Birth, Death and Marriages, Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney General, Death certificate Johan Severin Helstad, ref. 1873/817.

[34] Maryborough Chronicle, 18 July 1873, published in Manderson 1997, p. 17.

[35] Helen R. Woolcock, Rights of passage: emigration to Australia in the nineteenth century, London, Tavistock, 1986, pp. 68, 74, 85, 270, 273.

[36] M. A. Kleinschmidt, Migration and Settlement Schemes in Queensland 1859-1900, final honours thesis, University of Queensland, 1951, pp. 65-70; also articles from the Maryborough Chronicle published in Manderson (ed.) 1997, pp. 17-38; Robert Ørsted Jensen, A free passage to Queensland, Roskilde University Centre, 1994, p. 72; Alan Corkhill, Queensland and Germany: Ethnic, Socio-Cultural, Political and Trade Relations 1838-1991, Melbourne, Academia Press, 1992, pp. 57-61.

[37] Port Denison Times, 19 July 1873 and The Mackay Mercury, 19 July 1873, both published in Kopittke, 2001, p. 2; TSt, 8 January 1874.

[38] TSt, 8 January 1874

[39] TSt, 8 January 1874.

[40] TSt, 8 January 1874.

[41] Queensland State Archives, Peter Olsen, naturalisation records, ref. 1883/6542.

[42] Margaret Buchanan, ‘Carl Martin & Ingeborg Larsen’, Manderson (ed.), 1997, pp. 66-67.

[43] Sixth Census of the Colony of Queensland, taken 3 April 1881, Historical Census and Colonial Data Archive.

[44] Evangelisk Luthersk Kirketidende, Decorah, Iowa, 1880, vol. 7, no. 21, pp. 330-336.

[45] Registry of Briths, Deaths and Marriages, New South Wales, Death certificate Sara L. Helstad, ref. 1911/015315.

[46] Jens Lyng, The Scandinavians in Australia, New Zealand and the Western Pacific. Melbourne University Press, 1939, pp. 128-129.

[47] Fredrik Larsen Lund, A Norwegian Waltz: Norwegian Immigration and Settlement in Queensland 1870-1914, University of Oslo, 2012, pp. 37-38, 77-83.

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4 thoughts on “You May Well Become Slaves

  1. This site was… how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I’ve found something which helped me.

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  3. My ancestor arrived on the Herschel in 1874, I am told. According to the above Post, there was no assisted immigration that year? What can you tell me about 1874.

  4. Hello John! The «Herschel» did sail from Hamburg to Brisbane in 1874, however according to the sources I have available none of the passengers were registered as Norwegians. The passengers came from the German areas as well as Denmark, plus one or two Swedes. Kind Regards, Fredrik

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