Colonising Italians: Italian imperialism and agricultural ‘colonies’ in Australia, 1881–1914

Dewhirst, Catherine (2016) Colonising Italians: Italian imperialism and agricultural ‘colonies’ in Australia, 1881–1914. The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 44 (1). pp. 23-47. ISSN 0308-6534


The historiography of Australian imperialism before the First World War has often neglected a context wider than the relationship with Great Britain. Yet this era also implicated non-British governments and their emigrants. Despite their small numbers, Italian settlers are significant for highlighting Italy’s empire-building and Australia’s struggles for national and imperial unity. Italy’s foreign policies after 1901 opened commercial opportunities across its diasporic networks, which included subsidising agricultural ‘colonies’ in Australia. The contemporary discourses of sectarianism and racism voiced before Federation articulated political and popular resistance against Italian immigrants. The rhetoric shifted after Federation as state governments examined the issue of land tenure for closer settlements (small agricultural farms), appealing to an argument about serving unemployed Australians before approving foreign settler schemes. The history leading up to two Italian projects in Western Australia and Queensland in 1907 allows reflections on Italy’s diaspora colonisation and Australian responses to foreign imperialism.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: third place winner for the USQ School-Specific 2016 Publication Excellence Awards for Journal Articles - School of Arts and Communication. Permanent restricted access to Published version due to publisher's copyright policy.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Arts and Communication
Date Deposited: 22 Dec 2015 04:07
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2017 02:29
Uncontrolled Keywords: Australian imperialism; Italian imperialism; Italian migrants; Little Italy; foreign policy; closer settlement; agricultural villages
Fields of Research : 21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210307 European History (excl. British, Classical Greek and Roman)
21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australia's Past
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1080/03086534.2015.1071099

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