Poor Irish Catholic migrants arriving in Australia in the nineteenth century were described by newspapers and politicians as ‘lawless savages’ and part of an ‘uncivilised race’. Their poor mental health and criminality were seen as a threat to colonial Australia’s social fabric. Yet by the early 20th century, they were widely understood to be part of the founding settler population of white ‘Anglo-Celts’. This project will analyse how this transformation took place and thus advance our understanding of how social inclusion of racialised migrant groups was and can be achieved. It will advance national and international scholarship on changing ideas about race and their effects on mental health and social mobility of disadvantaged people.

ARC Discovery Project 130101731.
Chief Investigators: Dr Dianne Hall (Victoria University) and Prof. Elizabeth Malcolm (University of Melbourne)