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Category: Interviews »

Subject: Early History »

Early cultural diversity in Queensland

Max Brandle.

Max Brandle describes some of the groups of European migrants who came to Queensland between 1859 and the First World War.



Date Added:

10 February 2006


Maximilian Brandle interviewed by Andrew Jakubowicz for MMA


pdf (Acrobat Reader);

File size:

4.23 MB


2 min 36 s


Early cultural diversity in Queensland: From Governor Bowen (1859) to World War 1 (1914)

This immigration scheme, during Bowen’s time, was to bring here Europeans, in inverted commas, “who looked like the English”. In other words, ten thousand Swedes came to Queensland. But they didn’t like it here – it was too hot for them, too many mosquitoes. And relatively few stayed here. Huge numbers of Danish people also came here but they stayed…

In addition to the Nordic people, the main core of people coming here were the Germans. The Dutch could also come under that scheme – they would have been given free passages, or cheap passages, or allocated land on arrival, but the Dutch did not come here…

The Swiss also came here…

The Germans, and the Danes, and all the others were expected to do the hard pioneering work… they were the frontier people, and they were good at it…

All these Northern Europeans and Central Europeans would integrate and you wouldn’t notice the difference because they also had the advantage that almost all of those were Protestants. On the other side we had this wonderful Irish Bishop Quinn, who in the middle of the nineteenth century brought several thousand migrants here mainly from Ireland. And that wasn’t all that popular after three years and he was stopped. Because they were all scared that the Catholics would take over…

Ireland had the sad potato famine of 1845 and not a huge number came to Australia but the Irish people in Australia were very prolific with babies - they had lots of children, large families. And they intermarried also and during the nineteenth century large numbers of them spoke Irish, so the second language of Queensland in the middle and later in the nineteenth century was Irish, followed by German…

It became more and more Anglo, more introspective, and Federation did actually contribute to that. And as we came closer and closer to the war, this concept of Anglomania became stronger and stronger, I mean, townships’ names changed, street names were changed…

And the ethnic press also disappeared – and people changed their names obviously, not just the Germans, anybody with a foreign name and that would have also applied to some people from other countries because having an ethnic name was a disadvantage too in times of war.