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OU on the BBC: Timewatch - Ten Pound Poms

Updated Monday 28th January 2008

Timewatch recalled the time when Australia was so keen to attract immigrants, the state paid for their passage

Loughers on boat to Australia Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Essential Viewing

In the 1950s and '60s, one million Britons voluntarily migrated to what had been a former penal colony only a hundred years earlier. The Ten Pound Pom scheme to Australia was one of the largest planned migrations of the 20th Century. Sold the dream of a modern British way of life in the sun, they were expected to adapt easily to the Australian way of life.

It was the bargain of the century for a fare of just ten pounds. The catch being, they were required to stay for a minimum of two years.
The Ten Pound Poms had hoped to escape post-war rationing and stiff, class-bound British society. In truth they were moving to a foreign country far from familiarity. It was a roll of the dice for all of them.

The programme follows the journey of nine, Ten Pound Poms who took the gamble. After the initial sweat and tears of settling into a foreign land, most thrived but for some, Australia was too much to bear. Which of our characters stayed and which ones fled will confound expectations.

Take it further: Books

Australia: A Biography of a Nation
Philip Knightley, Vintage

Ten Pound Poms: Australia's Invisible Migrants
A.James Hammerton and Alistair Thomson,Manchester University Press

First broadcast: Friday 20 Jan 2006 on BBC TWO

 

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