Welsh in an Australian Gold Town, The - Ballarat, Victoria 1850-1900
|ISBN: 9780708322666 (0708322662)Dyddiad Cyhoeddi Tachwedd 2010 |
Cyhoeddwr: Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru / University of Wales Press, CaerdyddFformat: Clawr Caled, 222x142 mm, 208 tudalen
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Mae'r gyfrol hon yn edrych ar y gymuned Gymreig yn ardal Ballarat a Sebastopol yn Victoria, Awstralia - ardal mwyngloddio aur llewyrchus yn ystod ail hanner y bedwaredd ganrif ar bymtheg.
This book's focus is the Welsh immigrant community in the Ballarat/Sebastopol gold mining district of Victoria, Australia during the second half of the nineteenth century. The book provides an analysis of a Welsh community as it existed in this particular area and the ways in which this society was forced to change and adapt during this time.
Accounts of Welsh emigration in the nineteenth century have tended to be academic works. This book is not an exception, but I do feel that non-academics, like myself, may find it interesting.
The book embraces life between the years 1850 and 1900. Many of the immigrants who settled in Australia had previously been employed in the coal mines of the Welsh Valleys and continued as miners in exile at Ballarat, but this time in gold mines. They enjoyed a higher standard of living than had been possible in Wales. Others went into business and some became shopkeepers or turned to other occupations.
Another chapter deals with the use of the Welsh language about which, for various reasons, there was often heated disagreement. Religion is also discussed. The original idea was for the Welsh to unite in one church but they broke up into factions and this resulted in the establishment of a chapel at Ballarat. There was much divided feeling about religious issues. Cultural institutions were also established and it was not long before a Welsh choir was formed.
A further chapter has the arresting title ĎVillains, Whores, Drunkards and British Imperialismí. Many of the nonconformist immigrants were very self-righteous, creating the impression that they were Godís chosen few who did not stray from the path of goodness. However, a number of case histories belie this, revealing that the Welsh were involved in theft and child abuse incidences, as well as in the use of violence on other people.
On a more positive note, the book ends with the words of an immigrant who concluded that Ballarat was generally better than Wales.
It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgment should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.
Gellir defnyddio'r adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiat‚d Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.
Chapter one: Settlement Patterns
Chapter two: Occupation
Chapter three: Language
Chapter four: Religion
Chapter five: Cultural Institutions
Chapter six: Villains, Whores, Drunkards and British Imperialists
Chapter seven: Assimilation
Robert Tyler, Fulbright-Robertson Visiting Professor of British History, Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, USA.
Works which have sought to look specifically at the Welsh in Australia have been few in number and characterised by a concentration on prominent individuals and cultural/religious societies, thus excluding many facets of immigrant life. This book provides an analysis of the Welsh immigrant community in the Ballarat/Sebastopol gold mining district of Victoria, Australia during the second half of the nineteenth century and considers all aspects of the Welsh immigrant experience. As its focus, the book has the Welsh migrant group as a whole, in one particular area, during one period of time, for ultimately it was the migrants themselves who were responsible for the strength or weakness of Welsh religious life, the success or failure of Welsh cultural institutions; they who decided whether or not to retain and transmit their national language if, indeed, they spoke it in the first place; they who chose whether or not to marry within their own group, to live amongst their own, to retain the ties of Welshness and pass on the values of the Old Country, or to attempt full and immediate integration; they who were miners or shop owners, abstainers or drunkards, law abiding or criminal. A true picture of Welsh immigrant life can only be obtained by considering the community in its entirety, to view it in the round, as it were. This work attempts to do just that and hopes to make some small contribution to the understanding of what it was to be one amongst the thousands of Welsh people who lived in a particular place at a certain time in a land so far from Wales.
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