‘We shall have a fine holiday’

School of Humanities and Social Science
HISTORY SEMINAR SERIES – 2009

‘We shall have a fine holiday’:
Imperial sentiment, unemployment and the 1928 Miner-Harvester Scheme to Canada

Kent Fedorowich

Friday, 24 April
10am to 11am
(with morning tea/coffee afterwards)

Cultural Collections Reading Room (near the Information Common)
Level 2, Auchmuty Library, Callaghan Campus

The purpose of this paper is to provide a more subtle but comprehensive investigation of what at one level seems to be competing forms of empire and nation building.  This was particularly apparent in 1928 when approximately 8,500 unemployed British coal miners were given assisted passage to help bring in the Canadian harvest.  Using the 1928 Miner-Harvester scheme as a backcloth, the paper examines a number of competing but overlapping issues.  This (failed) scheme was one of many initiated under the banner of constructive imperialism designed to reinforce the bonds of empire by encouraging the ‘right sort’ of British migrant to settle permanently in the senior dominion.  However, schemes like this were invariably wrecked on the rocks of an assertive dominion nationalism, which was also reflected through an increasingly militant Canadian trade unionism which claimed that Britain was dumping her unwanted and unemployed on Canadian shores.  These competing ‘national’ and metropolitan interests which were released during the formulation and implementation of assisted migration and empire settlement between 1919 and 1939 lie at the very heart of what it was to be a ‘neo-Briton’ in Canada at this time.

Kent Fedorowich
University of the West of England, Bristol

Staff, students and members of the public are welcome

Enquiries to: Michael Ondaatje (Michael.Ondaatje@newcastle.edu.au; or
Victoria Haskins  (Victoria.Haskins@newcastle.edu.au)

One thought on “‘We shall have a fine holiday’

  1. Pingback: History Seminar Series, 2009 « UoN Cultural Collections

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