One of my greatest interests is Norwegian Australian history, i.e the history of Norwegians in Australia. Or Norwegians ‘Down Under’, if you wish.
In September 2014 I published a book about Norwegians in Australia. It is titled Nedenunder og hjem: Nordmenn i Australia gjennom 400 år which translates to something like «Down Under and Back Again: Norwegians in Australia throughout 400 years». The book is written in Norwegian and is available for sale both in bookstores in Norway and online. You can also buy it from me. Unfortunately, there are no plans yet for an English translation, but that is obvisously something I would like to see happen. I know many Australians too would be keen to learn more about this chapter of their own history.
An introduction (in English) to some of the more notable Norwegians in the country is given in the article Norwegian Builders of Australia. However, these men (unfortunately, few women of Norse birth has managed to gain prominent positions) are but a few sucessful examples among the several thousand Norwegians who have left Norway in order to try their luck on the other side of the globe.
In 2012 I submitted a master thesis in history at the University of Oslo titled A Norwegian Waltz: Norwegian Immigration and Settlement in Queensland 1870-1914. (Download thesis here). This is a study of the Norwegian settlement in one part of Australia: Queensland. During the time period in question, close to 2000 Norwegians arrived here. Most of them were immigrants who travelled on relatively cheap passages, subsidised by the Queensland government, who wanted to attract European settlers. In additon, a good number of Norwegian seamen also found their way to these coasts; many of them jumped ship to try their luck onshore.
Today, approximately 3700 Norwegian-born persons live ‘Down Under’. One reckons that close to 25,000 people in Australia descend from Norwegians (census 2011). Behind these numbers, many fascinating stories of success and failure are hidden.
If you have comments or wish to purchase the book please feel free to contact me. You can use the following e-mail address: fredrik.larsen.lund (at) gmail.com.
Read more about Norwegians in Australia: