I really like documentaries. Last night I watched an interesting social history documentary called Ten Pound Poms, which told the story of Australia’s migrant population. Specifally, the Poms – British.
(Why “Poms” you ask? Varied answers include: POHM – Prisoner of His/Her Majesty; POME – Prisoner of Mother England; rhyming slang – immigrant was Jimmy Grant, then Pommy Grant (pomegranate) shortened to Pommy/Pom. The list of possible explanations goes on really.)
Anywho, what I learned from the documentary:

-After WWII, Australia felt it must “populate or perish.” England offered a deal for Britons to migrate to Australia for only ten pounds. The deal was you stayed two years, and you wre elgible for a return ticket (if you left before the two years, you had to pay your own way back home). Considering a return ticket would normally cost about 130 pounds at the time, 10 pounds was quite a bargin.

-In the 30 years following WWII, over 1 million Britons moved to Australia in what was one of the largest “planned” migrations of the 20th Centruy.

-Initially, migration was only open to “white” people in what was known as the White Australia Policy. Britons wanting to be a Ten Pound Pome had to undergo interviews (to make sure they were white) as well as thorough health check ups.

-Upon arrival, some Britons fell in love with Australia and the sunny climate. But, others felt it was “backward” with a “rough” landscape.

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