Single & Free
Female Migration to Australia, 1833-1837


Single & Free is about the scheme administered by the London Emigration Committee to assist free women to migrate to Australia from Great Britain and IreIand. In the 1830s, approximately 3000 women took advantage of this scheme, representing an enormous influx to the population of the two eastern colonies of Australia, New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land.

The book analyses the women’s motivations and life-experiences, challenging contemporary criticisms that they were the ‘sweepings of the gutters’. Many women migrated in family groups, or were joining family and friends in the colonies. They came from a wide cross-section of nineteenth-century society. They were bold and enterprising, and made ideal workers and wives in the new colonies.
Single & Free provides life histories of many of the women who took part in this scheme and provides an index of all the women and their ship of arrival.

About the author

Liz Rushen’s PhD was has been published as Single & Free: female migration to Australia 1833-1837. After receiving her doctorate from Monash University in 1999, Liz was the Executive Director of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria. She is on the Board of the History Council of Victoria and an Adjunct Research Associate in the School of Historical Studies at Monash University. She has researched and written extensively on single female migration to Australia.

Link to Liz Rushen’s Website: 

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Journal of Australian Studies, Issue 82, 2004

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ISBN 9780980335460 Category