Ireland and the Irish Antipodes: One World or Worlds Apart?
The Irish Studies Associaton of Australian and New Zealand will host its conference from the 9th to 12th of July at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand.
Australia and New Zealand were essentially secondary destinations for the post-1800 waves of Irish leaving to make new lives overseas, accounting for no more than 10 per cent in most decades. Yet the two countries have regularly been identified by scholars as appropriate ‘laboratories’ for studying the nature and impacts of Irish migration over time. This conference seeks to review research undertaken both at the points of origin and destination and to pose new questions. Were the Irish communities that took root in the Antipodes essentially transplanted fragments of the homeland? How did they evolve, and to what extent was their evolution influenced by developments at home? Were there noticeable differences between the Australian and New Zealand Irish experiences, and if so how may these best be explained? What is the relationship today between Ireland and its most far-flung diasporic communities?
With seven keynote speakers providing contextual signposts, the topics to be addressed over three days will be diverse. Historical themes range from aspects of early convict transportation to Australia, through Irish-Maori relations in New Zealand, to late twentieth century economic interactions. Cultural life will also be a focus, Irish literature, theatre and music – both traditional and contemporary – being scheduled for discussion. A particular consideration will be how the Antipodean Irish are being depicted in historical reconstructions and displays. Necessarily, many of the contributions will reflect collective experiences, but provision has also been made for papers on those of individuals and families. The utility of oral history for recording the experiences of more recent arrivals will also be assessed.
With the increasing number of news reports about unemployed people seeking to emigrate, it’s useful to look at unemployment rates in a number of destination countries. These are, of course, only guidelines – no doubt there are national differences in the methods of compiling these statistics that make it difficult to make accurate comparisons.
Ireland’s unemployment rate is 11.8%. Here are the rates in some of the countries most commonly considered by those seeking to emigrate:
- UK: 7.1% (March 2009 – Office for National Statistics)
- US: 9.4% (May 2009 – Bureau of Labour Statistics)
- Canada: 8.4% (May 2009 – Statistics Canada)
- Australia 5.7% (May 2009 – Australian Bureau of Statistics)
- New Zealand – 5% (April 2009 – Statistics New Zealand)
The New Zealand Herald carries an interesting article on the Irish economy that has some particularly moving words about emigration. Journalist Ruaridh Nicoll tells the story of Michael Dermody, a 25-year-old Kilkenny man bound for Perth, Australia.
Dermody tells the journalist, “A couple of years ago, I might have known two people in the whole of Australia. Now I know 30. I have about five or six friends in Perth alone, all within 15 km of my house.”
Nicoll tells of Dermody’s departure:
Read the whole article on the New Zealand Herald website: Wounded Tiger
For information on moving to Australia, visit the Crosscare Migrant Project website.
An event aimed at those considering relocating to work abroad in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Dubai and the UK will be held on 21-22 March in the RDS in Dublin and 26-27 March in the Silver Springs Moran Hotel.
Organisers say the Working Abroad Expo will include immigration officials from Australia, New Zealand and Canada giving visa advice, relocation services, employers and recruitment consultants, and financial advisers. Information on volunteering abroad will also be available.
Here’s one for the record books: a 102-year-old man has decided to begin a new chapter in his life – by emigrating from England to New Zealand. Erik King-Turner has been married for twelve years to his New Zealand-born wife, Doris. The couple, who have been living in Hampshire, met when Doris was researching her family history in England.
Mr King-Turner said his wife was getting homesick, and that he thought it might be “rather fun to move to New Zealand”, according to a report in the BBC.
His wife added, “He’s very easy to get on with and he settles down very quickly, so I think he’ll quite enjoy it out there.”
The couple began their sea journey to their new home last week.