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Insanity, Identity and EmpireImmigrants and institutional confinement in Australia and New Zealand, 1873-1910$

Catharine Coleborne

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780719087240

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719087240.001.0001

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Insanity in the ‘age of mobility’

Insanity in the ‘age of mobility’

Melbourne and Auckland, 1850s–1880s

(p.20) Chapter One Insanity in the ‘age of mobility’
Insanity, Identity and Empire

Catharine Coleborne

Manchester University Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter situates Melbourne and Auckland as colonial cities inside the imperial world of medicine and institutional confinement, also outlining the significance of population movement and the mobility of ideas and practices. Within the ‘age of mobility’, insanity travelled: in the minds and bodies of emigrants from Britain and other parts of the world, in the circulating meanings of colonial health and models of welfare and social institutions, and , in the knowledge about insanity and treatment for it. It focuses on urban sites, comparisons and connections between these in historical writing, and concepts of migration and insanity.

Keywords:   Mobility, insanity, urban, Melbourne, Auckland, population, insanity, migration, social institutions

Picture the city of Melbourne in the late 1860s and early 1870s. Its European character and population had begun to take shape in the 1850s with the Victorian goldrushes, and in subsequent decades there had been further waves of free immigrant settlers. The act of ‘settling’ had been brutal, rapid and charged with the imperial prerogatives for land and the preeminence of white settlement. Aboriginal peoples had to a large extent been forcibly removed from what was the centre of the city, and dispersed to the fringes of the colony of Victoria, but they were still visible in the city and surrounds.1 The city was in many respects wealthy, promising opportunity, a centre of business, commerce, and a major port, a destination. The wide streets were imposing and gave the city a feeling of grandeur and space, although laneways and dark alleys provided spaces for lurkers and those people with nefarious purposes who were hiding from view. The European population, estimated at more than 200,000 in the 1870s, had swollen quickly from the 1850s, when it was around 20,000, as a result of the goldrushes.2 And, as a corollary, it had a population of the needy, as social commentators always noted: there was, in fact, a pronounced and obvious poverty in Melbourne, if you knew where to look beyond the ‘magnificent’ streets described by contemporaries, such as the visiting writer Anthony Trollope, who was impressed by the urban grid and its symmetry.3 While Trollope noticed the Chinese and Irish city quarters, he did not dwell on these in great detail, and the overwhelming impression left by his account of colonial Victoria is his excitement about the energy of colonial mobility, in part because of his own status as a traveller.4

Now imagine the New Zealand city of Auckland in the same period. Auckland’s urban population was much smaller: in 1871, while it was not the largest New Zealand city in terms of its population, the province of Auckland boasted more than 62,000 people and in terms of its land mass, took up around one half of the entire North Island, (p.21) with its boundaries drawn from the Waikato region to the far north.5 This population figure, though, excluded Māori.6 After the turn of the century the city grew fast, and the total North Island population overtook that of the South Island, with Auckland’s population 103,000 by 1911. The surge in population growth for New Zealand came in the mid-1870s, and specifically to the province of Auckland, with the Pākehā population of the colony increasing from 256,393 to 489,933 between 1871 and 1881.7 As the administrative centre of the region, and the seat of provincial government before 1876, Auckland was an important city. As Trollope wrote, Auckland was ‘the leading province’ of New Zealand, and, being an older city than the cities in the South Island, and the place where Europeans had first established significant relationships with local Māori from the 1840s, he regarded it as ‘the representative city of New Zealand’.8 It had two harbours and ports, making it accessible to inter-colonial trade and travel. It had its own versions of gold fever in the Thames and Coromandel areas, south east of Auckland, after the mid-1860s, as well as circulating populations of men working as kauri gum diggers in Northland.9 As for the city, Trollope wrote, ‘Auckland is redolent of New Zealand. Her streets are still traversed by Maoris and half-castes, and the Pakeha Maori still wanders into town from his distant settlement in quest of tea, sugar, and brandy.’10 For surgeon John Murray Moore, grateful to New Zealand for the ‘renovation’ of his health, this was a ‘Neapolitan-like city’, a ‘balmy Eden of the South Pacific’.11

In order to understand insanity as one aspect of the imperial age, this chapter takes urban Melbourne and urban Auckland as two sites of imperial and colonial connection. Represented through images of new arrivals, as depicted in Figure 1.1, and busy colonial city streets, as in Figure 1.2, these places signalled adventure, excitement and success. For Trollope, and other writers, these places were imperial possessions, with writers often declaring their lack of doubt that England had a ‘moral right’ over these places, although some writers did doubt the rights of Europeans to assert violent power and take the lands of Indigenous peoples.12 Their writings were part of the larger discursive process of rendering the colonies as a ‘coherent site’ for imperial readers, despite the apparent ‘instability’ of new colonies for those same audiences.13 These were colonial cities, where ships docked, and to which new immigrants flocked, as this chapter explains, but the cities are also situated in this discussion within their wider geographical and cultural locations to show how mobility was experienced across space and beyond urban centres. The colonies had significant rural populations, evidenced by the growth of towns and centres and the spread of the pastoral economy following the goldrush era. There (p.22) were differences, too, between the colony of Victoria and the province of Auckland, which also highlight the role of geography and place, and the attitudes to place, in colonial invasion and settlement. However, this chapter places particular emphasis on the urban populations of these cities and their hospitals for the insane as institutions, given the metropolitan status of the specific institutions for the insane discussed here, while also suggesting that many people moved in and around the colonies and also spent time in different institutions, highlighting their vulnerability as mobile people as well as the role mobility played in social and institutional formation.

Colonial Victoria and the province of Auckland are brought here into the scholarly framework of the mobile imperial world. Local expressions of mobility shaped reactions to the movement of people, and therefore also formed colonial practices of the regulation of this movement.14 While Melbourne has been the subject of a vast amount of urban history, and is also more readily compared with other colonial cities in the British Empire, Auckland is not often drawn into this framework, though it can and ought to be. The ‘empire’ is not a single site, but a plurality of spaces and places for investigation, and therefore this chapter moves between cities and rural locations.15 This chapter also describes the populations of the mobile in these places: immigrants, sojourners, travellers and nomads and finally the immigrant insane.16

Insanity in the ‘age of mobility’Melbourne and Auckland, 1850s–1880s

1.1 ‘Emigrants landing at the Queen’s Wharf, Melbourne’

Insanity in the ‘age of mobility’Melbourne and Auckland, 1850s–1880s

1.2 ‘Queen Street, Auckland’, 3 October 1883

Migrants to colonial Victoria in Australia, and to the province of Auckland in New Zealand, traversed imperial and colonial spaces, including institutional spaces, as they ventured to the growing cities of Melbourne and Auckland from the 1850s (see Map 1.1). Their histories, many evoked in institutional records by the 1870s and the 1880s, provide a clear example of the way notions of ‘mobility’ were formed in the colonial context. While insights into the worlds of immigrants emphasise patterns of familial networks, or the lack thereof, with some exceptions, their very mobility, and the effects of this on their mental health, have not often been examined as a feature of their identities inside the imperial and colonial worlds they occupied during this period.17 The ‘chaos of humanity’ in early Melbourne matches the chaotic, lonely frontiers of New Zealand.18 This chaos (p.24)

Insanity in the ‘age of mobility’Melbourne and Auckland, 1850s–1880s

Map 1.1 Map of south-eastern Australia and New Zealand, showing major places mentioned in the text

would be the ‘enemy’ of the ‘ideal society’ imagined for colonial places. Migrants could become dissatisfied and broken by their poor luck.19

The region of colonial Victoria is most productively explored alongside other colonies in settler jurisdictions which found their populations swollen after the goldrushes. Victoria, known as Port Phillip before 1851, when several districts were ‘settled’ by squatters and pastoralists, and coastlines exploited by sealers and others, experienced a flow of immigrant populations in the 1850s, which also severely affected the movement and livelihoods of Aboriginal peoples.20

Auckland, meanwhile, was built from 1840 following the Crown purchase of Māori lands. In 1842 the plan of Auckland showed the military, colonial government and its institutions all situated south of Point Britomart around Commercial Bay.21 This act of ‘purchase’ came some five years after a failed purchase in colonial Port Phillip, where John Batman attempted to negotiate with local Aboriginal peoples in 1835 and came to an agreement about a land sale which was later disallowed by the Crown, as Batman did not represent Crown government. Nonetheless, in either place, the ‘sale’ of Māori and Aboriginal land was problematic: European entrepreneurs eyed parcels of land keenly and with a view to the later uneven distribution of its resources.

(p.25) Mobility in the colonies

Forms of imperial mobility, with thousands of hopeful emigrants searching for new worlds beyond their experiences of early nineteenth-century Britain, took shape in the colonies of Australia and New Zealand soon after they became destinations for migration.22 Not only did these factors of a long sea journey and the prospect of a new life drive conceptions of population movement, but also internally colonies were imagining ‘movement’ across space, with migration and its attendant dimensions of seeking rightful places for this new ‘imperial’ existence driving many individuals. By the middle of the nineteenth century in the Australian colonies, ‘imagined webs and networks of movement, as in a factory, were overwhelmingly common’.23 ‘Webs’ of interaction and communication were also formed in, across, and beyond New Zealand, placing settlers inside empire.24 Such networks – of communication, transport, cultural forms and organisations – were also real, and colonial populations, many of them becoming ‘settlers’, lived in a highly mobile world of interactions and movement. Settler society was a ‘random and motley collection’ formed through and by people and their ‘possessions, attitudes and ideas’.25 Not only was there a vast movement of peoples from the imperial centre to the colonial ports, but there was also much internal movement of immigrants in the colonies themselves, both between Australian colonies and across the Tasman sea to New Zealand and back. Rollo Arnold terms these ‘two way trans-Tasman population movements’ the ‘Perennial Interchange’.26 This ‘interchange’ comprised both formal and informal connections and movement of people, commodities and finance.

There were also trans-Tasman exchanges of ideas about social policy in the late nineteenth century, including the discussions around Old Age Pensions in the colonies.27 Labour migration was an important aspect of the flow; in the mid- to late 1880s, New Zealand’s population experienced a large exodus to the Australian colonies, with over 20,000 people going across the seas in search of work or a new life.28 And yet many also came in the opposite direction, as Arnold notes, especially during the period of the Thames and Otago goldrushes and including those who stayed into the early twentieth century.29 These patterns of movement ebbed and flowed as opportunities came and went; as Jeanine Graham writes of settler society in New Zealand, ‘[u]nderlying this mobility was a sense of opportunity, if not in one part of the colony, then in another’.30 Internal population movement in the Australian colonies in the final two decades of the nineteenth century can be summarised as a flow of people to the north and to the east of (p.26) the main population centres in the south-eastern part of the continent, with the largest centre of population in Melbourne in 1888.31

‘Mobility’ and ‘settlement’ operated in a dynamic and dialectical relationship in the past, and both were forces for social change. Social institutions in the past, such as families, the Law and the Church, were not immutable in the wake of new populations. Travellers, sojourners, internal migrants and strangers moved through ‘settled’ spaces and featured in everyday life.32 Mobility could be said to have characterised the colonial period, and was especially, as Graham notes about early colonial New Zealand, a feature of the ‘adjustment and establishment years’, with ‘establishment’ considered normative and underpinned by the concept of stability.33 Most of New Zealand society was transient, yet by the early 1870s, as census figures reveal, most people were connected in some way to a family unit.34 However, the spectre of movement or transience was often evoked. It was watched, written about, regulated, and policed by-law makers and institutional authorities, and it shaped places and peoples. It was ‘the unspoken assumption behind many everyday customs and beliefs’, also characterising the economic relationships between peoples and places.35 It was through the management of mobility that colonial settlement defined itself, with power residing in the social institutions and practices of the colonial state, which were shaped through class, gender and ethnicity.

In colonial patterns of movement, we can identify forms of mobility which pushed against colonialism’s imperative to settle.36 The ways in which new settlers, themselves immigrants to the colonies, created institutional solutions for the social problems posed by these increasingly mobile peoples during a period of intense colonisation warrants further investigation. Contemporaries, too, noted this as ‘a travelling age’, in the words of John Murray Moore, who published his New Zealand for the Emigrant, Invalid, and Tourist in London in 1890.37 Moore was a doctor trained in both Edinburgh and at the New Zealand University, and he was a member of various imperial and colonial societies and institutes including medical and botanical societies. Moore’s account of travelling to New Zealand suggests that the figure of the ‘globe-trotter’ was a creation of this age of travel.38 Frances Steel provides an engaging account of Pacific Island shipping trade routes by the 1870s, including trans-Pacific travel.39 By the late nineteenth century, travel by the leisured classes became increasingly prized as the idea of sea travel transformed, partly through new boats which included recreational activities and spaces.40 However, emigrants often travelled on more basic ships. Conditions could be cramped for passengers in steerage class, just below deck, where people slept in bunks.41

(p.27) Expressions of mobility can be found in accounts of voyages and in travellers’ writings more generally, which were embedded within an imperial relationship.42 Colonial narratives of travellers depicted colonial Melbourne as both an inversion of the metropolis, but also as a new site for the development of ideas about manhood and class mobility. It is in this narrative that we see the colonial subject depicted ‘as both more manly and more unruly than the metropolitan’.43 This ambiguous narrative positioned gender as central to settler discourses. Furthermore, deeper anxieties were caused by the apparent failures of the mobile. Although travellers were not always themselves intending to settle, and nor were they strictly emigrating, their insights do offer something in the way of commentary about life in the colonies. They often observed immigrants, writing about the throngs of people waiting for mail or looking for work at the docks. Some other ‘travellers’, as contemporaries also commented, attracted attention for their transience and ‘wandering life’, as noted by John Hunter Kerr’s writing about colonial Victoria, first published in the 1870s.44 There were, among emigrants, many ‘unsuitables’ who were unskilled and unlucky with prospects for work.45

Forms and practices of mobility were gendered. By the middle of the nineteenth century, deserted wives were at the centre of debates about a raft of colonial social problems, including the stability of marriage and the family.46 Undoubtedly, these women did feature in representations of the destitute and discussions of the ‘houseless’ immigrant in the period before 1870.47 Yet by the later period – and emanating from the goldrush era of the 1850s onwards – mobile, white immigrant men were the real locus of anxiety about settler stability. In particular, fears surrounding the future of white masculinity in the period under examination highlight the gendered meanings of mobility in the white settler context. Many poor, white male immigrants were perceived as members of both the welfare and health institutional network, and treated as depleted specimens of the male colonial citizenry. Like their non-white counterparts, these men disappointed expectations of settler success and a more confident form of mobility in the context of the colonial narrative of the quest for both settler control and white masculine prowess.

Male settlers who came to the Australian colonies as hopeful immigrants sometimes disturbed notions of settlement through their eventual lack of success, either in the rush for land or gold, or as male heads of families and providers. Some of these men – fugitives, restless wanderers, men without women, remittance men, alcoholics, the desperately lonely and dislocated – ended up in social institutions.48 White men in institutions had arguably failed to meet expectations of strong, (p.28) white masculinity in a variety of respects; as robust fathers, marriage partners, providers and economically productive citizens. As later chapters of this book also show, these men were, perhaps, ‘unsettlers’49 and exhibited aspects of both the ‘settler’ identity but also occupied the space of the ‘exogenous other’ through their instability.50 Of course, ‘success’ itself could involve deeply unsettling practices, especially on frontiers, as historians have illustrated.51 The behaviour of men on colonial frontiers – their efforts to ‘show a bold front’ to Māori, in the words of Samuel Butler, writing about the Canterbury settlement in 1863 – was becoming a style of interaction among Europeans ‘settling’ and farming in lands owned and occupied by Indigenous peoples.52 Similarly, women immigrants sometimes became the deserted, the unmarried mothers, the poor, and fell victim to lives of destitution, prostitution and vagrancy, all themes which are further articulated in later chapters of this study.

Mobility and opportunity were also shaped by class and ethnic differences. Poor and non-white or non-English speaking migrants, too, were part of these stories of migration networks.53 Melbourne became a highly diverse city in terms of the faces on the streets, as contemporary writers often commented. In the mid-1850s, William Howitt described it as being ‘mottled with the people and costumes of nearly all nations, amongst them Americans, Persians, and Chinese’.54 Trollope had pointed out that the lives of the Chinese were filled by ‘[g]ambling, opium-smoking, and horrid dissipation seemed to prevail among them constantly’.55 It is well known that anxieties about the Chinese, in particular, and about Chinese immigration, in both the Australian colonies and in New Zealand between the 1850s and the 1870s were pronounced, and shared many of the same characteristics. Howitt’s view was not unusual when he suggested that the Chinese ‘were a very worthless class of immigrants’ in his opinion.56 Public and official commentaries alike conflated Chinese male behaviour with vice and sometimes disease. The fact that single men came unaccompanied by women meant that they were perceived as ‘unsettlers’, and were also vulnerable to police surveillance and sometimes, institutionalisation. The goldrush era brought threats from other places, too. Howitt went on to mention ‘Turks, lascars, Negroes and black natives … Englishmen, Frenchmen, Germans, Poles, Swedes, Danes, Spaniards, Californians, Yankees, and men of other nations’.57 Later, by the 1880s, it was perceived by contemporaries that social problems stemmed from the presence of non-whites on the streets of Melbourne, and also in New Zealand: male Afghan hawkers, Chinese grocers, darkskinned ‘foreigners’ … the fears of heterogeneity were ever-present in the popular press.58

(p.29) That mobility was gendered, and was also patterned by racial and ethnic differences, is relevant because, as feminist scholars of the many colonial worlds assert, colonial regimes are, historically, always ‘in process’, with the production of ‘gendered and sexualized orders’ consequently precarious; far from being all-powerful, the supervision of the state is uneven and has limitations.59 These scholars emphasise the ‘persistent mobility of bodies’ across the imagined communities of the empire.60 It was this movement of people, and bodies, which occasioned anxiety about identity. In ‘making identity’ through institutional confinement and the official records of this, colonists, working within an imperial framework, strained against inappropriate forms of mobility and against certain forms of social fluidity. This was particularly so if such inappropriate mobility upset the dominant prescriptions for settler life. As examples, mixed-race marriages or forms of so-called aberrant sexual practices, as well as those people who disappointed expectations around gender, could find their mobility curtailed. For their part, many individuals who came to be confined in social institutions were also perceived to have transgressed the borders of place, and it became impossible to situate them except as outcasts.

Melbourne and colonial Victoria

One-tenth of all of those leaving Britain as emigrants worldwide between 1860 and 1900 were lured to the colony of Victoria.61 Victoria was attractive to emigrants because of the constant portrayal of the colony as a place of plenty, a destination for workers, which also promised good futures for families. Melbourne was its own ‘empire’, and was at the centre of the Tasman world’s economic growth and pre-eminence in the region by the 1890s.62 A million emigrants arrived in Australia between 1860 and 1900. Over 60 per cent of these were from England, 20 per cent were from Ireland, and just 13 per cent were from Scotland. Victoria took roughly 40 per cent of all of these immigrants in much the same ethnic proportions, though it is difficult to be precise about their origins.63 Ethnicity looms large in the account of peoples ‘mixing in’ during these years of ‘settling’, with sectors of the Irish population dispersed around the colony but also forming strong urban enclaves in inner Melbourne.64 The English, too, constituting one-third of Victoria’s population in 1861, were widely scattered around the colony but also lived in the urban city areas with their pronounced working-class dimension.65 Around three-quarters of all immigrants who arrived in Victoria from 1860 were unassisted, meaning they paid their own way to come to the colony.66 Among those arriving in Victoria on ships were people from other Australian colonies, as well as travellers and visitors.67

(p.30) By the 1870s, where this study begins, around half of Victoria’s population had been born in the colonies, while 23 per cent were from England and Wales, almost 14 per cent from Ireland, only 7 per cent from Scotland, 2.5 per cent from China, and a tiny group came from elsewhere in Europe or the wider world, with the German-born constituting just over 2 per cent of the population.68 By 1871, on average, the male population of Victoria was both larger, with men outnumbering women between the ages of twenty and forty, but also slightly older.69

‘Mobility’ among these new arrivals took many forms and carried different meanings. Together with the colonial-born, immigrants possessed a ‘certain restless mobility’.70 Priding themselves on the egalitarian nature of their new society, nineteenth-century colonists in Victoria made much of the possibilities of class mobility. As one contemporary writer put it, in such a place, servants could be ‘the real masters and mistresses’,71 contrasting this class fluidity with that of Britain. However, the local expressions and social meanings of ‘mobility’ were highly layered. Both desirable and undesirable forms of mobility, according to contemporary European observers, can be discerned in patterns of colonial settlement and its regulation. By the 1860s, for example, it is now well-documented, Aboriginal peoples had already been confined to mission stations in eastern and western Victoria at Corranderk and Lake Condah, among other mission sites, their movement restricted by laws surrounding Aboriginal ‘protection’.72 Settler colonial histories provide another angle on the ‘unsettling’ process of colonial population movement and expansion across frontiers. Aboriginal-European relations are inscribed here in scholarship which relates the conditions of the settler world as confining, restraining and preventing Aboriginal mobility.73

Victoria’s capital of Melbourne developed around Port Phillip Bay. Europeans already in New South Wales had earlier moved in every direction to settle the land, especially after an influx of free settlers and assisted immigrants from Britain in the 1830s and subsequent decades. The rapidity of European settlement was dramatic. In the goldrush years to 1861 the European population was significantly higher, with more than 500,000 immigrants arriving in that decade.74 Gold miners were more mobile than most, and were followed by storekeepers, bankers, pub-keepers, prostitutes and many others who followed the goldrushes, and it is in histories and accounts of gold mining that historians have found much of the social anxiety surrounding forms of mobility.

Mobility was also regulated and controlled, and even prohibited, because it was regarded as an implicit threat to colonial order. The very ‘containment’ of the mobile insane was a primary aim of law makers and police across the colonial world.75 Police were explicitly involved (p.31) in the maintenance of meanings around ‘mobility’ and engaged in restricting urban movement and the occupation of public and private spaces in the period under examination.76 Between the 1850s and the 1890s, Melbourne became a thriving urban centre which was known for its sharp contrast between poverty and wealth. Melbourne was also notable for its different spaces and areas which were marked by social class and differentiated social groupings.77 But some individuals and groups transgressed the invisible borders between these spaces. Vagrants, among others, appeared in the many different city spaces, thereby becoming vulnerable to the attention of police.78 Indeed, police in Melbourne were particularly visible and noted for their roles in managing the different people who could be said to be examples of the ‘undesirably mobile’: street urchins, lunatics, paupers, those who indulged in the ‘popular vices’, soldiers, spies and prostitutes.79 Male homosexuality, which involved crossing the boundaries of proper masculinity received surveillance; the ‘immoral conduct’ of men in the city was policed more discreetly, perhaps, but was, nonetheless, another aspect of police work.80

Police performed a wide range of roles in the period. These included removal and escort functions; lunatics were taken to institutions, and trouble-makers on goldfields were removed.81 Aboriginal people were sometimes removed for their own ‘protection’ from specific communities, as in the case of the request from the Central Board for Aborigines, in Melbourne, made on 22 August 1860 to Captain Standish, the Chief Commissioner for Police, for the removal of an Aboriginal girl from the care of Mr Banfield, a hotel keeper at Benalla in northern Victoria, in the escort cart.82 Police were asked to look for ‘missing friends’, many of whom were immigrants. In 1868, for example, Melbourne police were contacted by an Immigration Agent seeking John King, who had left his wife and child after arrival in the colony on a ship the White Star.83

Police were often asked to carry out operations to ‘clean up’ city spaces. Police were responding to a newspaper article on 28 November 1868, when they examined the complaints about the ‘infestation’ of the Botanical Gardens walk, particularly the ‘wattle-grove and a portion of the bank’, by ‘dirty frowsy vagabonds of both sexes, who, at all hours of the day and night, are to be found there indulging in a sort of unsavoury pic-nic, and engaging in conversation unfit for decent ears to listen to’.84 The police responded often to similar requests about the ‘incorrigible class’, even when the area was outside the police beat; directives in the notes talk about police including the area in their beat walk after being asked to do so by the Council of the City of Melbourne. Distinctions were drawn between the ‘deserving poor’ and the ‘incorrigible’, with (p.32) frequent arrests made in the Domain gardens area in the late 1870s, while in other poor communities, the police offered assistance rather than punitive measures.85 These policing practices suggest a close, and even intimate, level of urban policing of mobility in urban areas.

Auckland and the wider province

New Zealand experienced different phases of migration. For at least forty years the migrant population outnumbered the European colonialborn population, making it a society of newcomers.86 Like Melbourne, Auckland ‘centred around the port’.87 The growth of the small settlement situated on Officials Bay in 1840 meant that by 1842, it had become a township of 2,895 people.88 Although there was some population decrease in the late 1840s with the rush for gold across the Pacific to California, Auckland continued to grow.89 By 1874, it was a city with a population of 21,590.90 And the wider province, too, grew as different people came, attracted by the commercial centre. By 1891, the population of the province of Auckland was 133,159 and by 1896, it had grown further to 153,564.91

Like other colonial settlements including Melbourne, men outnumbered women.92 Most Christian worshippers were Anglican, with some Catholic, and smaller populations of Presbyterian, Church of Scotland and Wesleyan. There was also a very small population of Jewish people.93 The Jewish community was respected, and as in Melbourne, many from its ranks came to hold senior positions in local government.94 Yet some trans-Tasman travel narratives, just as they singled out the Irish for comment, or the Māori, also signalled the presence of ‘the Jew’, drawing attention to social, religious and ethnic differences in colonial society.95

One-third of the population of the province lived in the city of Auckland or its hinterland. Smaller centres of population clustered in the villages of Auckland city: Howick, Panmure, Remuera, Epsom, Mt Eden and Avondale, the final site of the Auckland Asylum by 1867.96 In the 1880s and 1890s the rate of the population growth of Auckland was faster than the rate of growth in Otago.97 This is important because Otago had always been a centre of population growth, but by 1891, Auckland and its surrounds had overtaken Dunedin as the centre of population.98 The increasing Auckland population was due to immigration, but also to expanding families.

Auckland was full of workers’ cottages. Contemporaries pointed to the poor origins of many immigrants in early Auckland, and viewed Auckland’s inhabitants as constituting a ‘London slum’.99 Locals saw Auckland as ‘shapeless’, full of ‘tortuous alleys, and huddled-up (p.33) lanes’.100 Yet immigrants came to New Zealand to escape worse conditions in the industrialising cities of Britain. Auckland had stronger minorities of Irish and Scottish than other New Zealand settlements, too, making for a diverse society, although the southern city of Dunedin was the most Scottish of New Zealand’s places.101 In 1864, over 70 per cent of the population of New Zealand was immigrant, but by 1901, the native-born constituted 65 per cent of the population.102

Class structures accommodated the elite and the poor, with less opportunity for social mobility. The differences between social groups were more noticeable as suburbs emerged in the township, with the wealthier members of society living around the elevated areas of the city, and places like Parnell and Epsom.103 As well as the cottages and ‘slums’, more substantial buildings were erected, showing Auckland as the respectable cousin city of Melbourne across the Tasman. Both had impressive institutions, such as public libraries, and main streets, and both boasted a network of suburbs. Auckland’s Queen Street, bustling and alive with commerce and transport, was the ‘commercial heart’ of the city.104

Photographic depictions of Auckland in the late nineteenth century show the development of land once rough, dirty and from a contemporary European perspective, ‘empty’ of landmarks.105 Despite its ‘picturesqueness’ for some observers, apparent ‘in the sky, in the air, in the turrets and spires … [and] in the suburban villas peeping coquettishly from bowers of evergreens’, like Melbourne, Auckland was ‘dismal’ after dark, with few gas lamps and dark streets.106 Auckland city’s Domain, a place for the public to wander through gardens, take picnics and celebrate, was also the site of unsavoury characters, and a refuge for vagrants.107 In his novel Spur of Morning, New Zealand writer Alan Mulgan depicted Auckland at the turn of the century as a ‘a straggling, quickly growing city’.108 It was a city peopled by ‘a queer mixture of types’.109

Colonial cities in an imperial world

Both of these colonial cities could be said to have rationalised ‘settle-ment’.110 In both places, their dominant British immigrant populations and political influences embodied specific discourses which characterised their identities as places and as populations.111 For instance, as noted earlier in this chapter, laws controlling immigration were shared across the imperial world, with both Victoria and New Zealand involved in immigration restriction of non-whites by the 1880s.112 Melbourne, in particular, offers an example of a city ripe for examination of global imperial processes and local manifestations of imperial (p.34) cultures, as well as the local expressions of colonialism. Tensions over space, population and society were ever-present in the push to settlement. If cities were part of the ‘consummation of empire’ through their commercial and cultural roles as centres of population, they were also places of ‘anxiety and bewilderment’ and ultimately ‘places of dislocation’ for many of their inhabitants.113 Those wandering, ‘half-caste’ Māori noticed by Trollope in his account of Auckland remind us of this dislocation from the point of view of the Indigenous subjects rendered to a large extent as outsiders in the colonial city of the Europeans in New Zealand.

The dislocation experienced by immigrants was another aspect of this process, and another result of the tensions inherent in colonialism. That people found themselves mixing with so many ‘strangers’ in the colonial worlds they now inhabited was often remarked upon and became a feature of reportage and commentary about colonial places. In his Hints Upon Health, a pamphlet published by the Immigrants’ Aid Society (IAS) in Melbourne in 1853, Dr H. Earley, who was medical officer to the IAS, warned new immigrants that the already overcrowded city of Melbourne had ‘unhealthy’ tendencies. He advised immigrants to seek work in the country towns, or on stations, in advice probably directed at single men.114 Likewise, in his pamphlet Hints to Immigrants Upon Colonial Life and Its Requirements, published in the same year, the Reverend William Jarritt counselled immigrants to seek different forms of work, beyond the goldfields, and to avoid work for which they were ‘unsuited’. It was ‘rough labour’, said Jarritt, which could turn honest men into discouraged men, and cause them to abandon patience and hope.115 In these early years of the colony of Victoria the call to ‘settle’ was juxtaposed with these exhortations to newcomers to seek work in a variety of places, to become peripatetic in search of both stability and personal fulfilment, and to avoid placing a strain on the new city of Melbourne and its rapidly expanding population. In New Zealand, a similar trend to short-term labour, seasonal work, geographical distance and population mobility gave rise to fears that transience could become the main feature of colonial life, rather than settling down. Contemporaries wondered if transience might result in ‘a mentality of ceaseless striving’, and could mean that men, in particular, became ‘derelict’, a theme later examined further in Chapter 4.116

In the 1850s, local observers scorned the notion that great wealth could be found in the colonies. Destitution, and tales of utter desperation, were both common. William Howitt’s haunting 1855 account of the cold Melbourne winter with ‘2000 souls’ set to arrive at the ports and descend upon ‘Canvass Town’, or seek lodgings in the already (p.35) crowded urban spaces, hints at the lunacy of the speed of population growth in that period.117 ‘Distressing scenes’, noted traveller John Askew, were often witnessed ‘upon the wharfs among the new arrivals from home, who had been accustomed to live in comfortable houses’.118 These scenes included his memory of entering Canvas Town for the first time and encountering a group of women:

They were fresh arrivals. Some of them were weeping, and their husbands were trying to console them. This place had the appearance of a regular encampment. Tents made of canvass and brown calico were planted over a considerable space of ground. This suburb was then called Canvass Town, but since then it has been named Emerald Hill.119

Figure 1.3, from a sketch by S. T. Gill, is an 1853 engraving later published in a supplement to the Illustrated Australian News which depicts the basic and makeshift world of tents and new arrivals. This world was ‘Canvas Town’.

By the 1870s, Melbourne’s inner city urban areas were visibly dirty and overcrowded. There were higher child mortality rates in the densely populated suburbs of North Melbourne, Fitzroy and Collingwood than in other areas of the city.120 John Hunter Kerr suggested that emigrants intending for Melbourne were somewhat deluded in their expectations of instant wealth or comfort: they would instead encounter ‘the same scene of struggling for a livelihood as goes on daily in the great towns of the old world’.121

Residents and observers of Auckland had for some time signalled some of the same problems for their city. In the 1850s Auckland was

Insanity in the ‘age of mobility’Melbourne and Auckland, 1850s–1880s

1.3 ‘Canvas Town in 1853’

(p.36) known for its ‘poorly constructed hovels, overflowing outhouses, and cramped yards’ and, like Melbourne and Sydney in these decades, it possessed slums, poor sanitation and an inadequate water supply.122 Auckland regulated its street hawkers and porters using city by-laws in 1871, and in the 1870s, debate about the city’s young street ‘arabs’ attracted social research and journalistic commentary.123 John Murray Moore pointed out the ‘conspicuous blemishes’ in New Zealand’s social life, noting the ‘prevalence of gambling, immoderate drinking, and excessive smoking’.124 Drinking was particularly worrying, with Moore singling out the ‘injurious colonial habit of treating friends and acquaintances to a drink at any hour of the day they may chance to meet’.125 Moore ended his account of New Zealand with some sobering comparative statistics on the incidence of insanity in the colonial population, although his intention, as he sets it out, was to correct popular erroneous beliefs that colonial insanity was rife. Like other travel writers and social commentators, Murray was exercising his observational powers to foster better health practices. Coming as it did in 1890, Murray’s text was both a useful corrective, and a companion to earlier enticements to emigrants who arrived in the Australasian colonies from the 1850s.

Urban environments, then, were places where the ‘classing gaze’ operated to good effect.126 It was in the cities that authorities took interest in specific populations: of the poor, of the sick, of the able, and of those who were likely to be a burden on society. The ideas and practices of imperial professions, including medicine, were themselves highly mobile, and also shaped experiences of the insane and the institutions which they inhabited.127 Regular assays of the population and institutional populations evident in colonial reporting to parliaments through its ‘vital statistics’, with all manner of inspectors visiting and noting aspects of the life of cities and towns, tell us that the health of the population was of utmost importance.128 The emphasis here is on the forms taken by imperial and colonial mobility, rather than population control. However, the contemporary concerns over immigration and the health of immigrants highlight the growing discourse of population control and restriction, as this chapter and Chapter 6 both show.

Immigration provided social investigators everywhere with material. Patterns of urban surveillance of the immigrant had been fashioned in imperial cities before colonial places and authorities took up this habit of watching newcomers. In urban nineteenth-century London, for example, Jewish immigrants in the East End presented an interesting social, religious and ‘racial’ group for study. Medical writers were concerned to identify the effects of external influences, such as the urban (p.37) city environment, on specific sectors of society, following theories about racial degeneracy and hereditary illnesses.129 It was possible, argued Francis Galton in 1865, that urban life could exacerbate the predisposition of Jewish people to mental and nervous diseases, given their levels of poverty, a characteristic of most immigrants.130 Likewise, as later chapters of this book also show, the Irish were often singled out as being at risk of mental disease, especially given their diasporic movement, with vast numbers of Irish immigrants seeking work in England, especially around Liverpool, and accessing the English poor relief system. In this way the Irish became very visible as a needy population. There were ‘staggering percentages’ of Irish in Lancashire asylums, where they were portrayed as weak bodies which signalled degenerative tendencies. Although Irish labour was sought after, once inside social institutions, the Irish were no longer seen as strong and capable working bodies, but were more likely to be represented as diseased and susceptible to mental breakdown. It was their mobility and movement which seemed to cast doubt on their suitability as migrants.131

Increasing numbers of Irish inmates in these asylums during the 1870s and 1880s were diagnosed with General Paralysis of the Insane (GPI) or the tertiary stage of syphilis. Writing about the specific diagnosis of GPI in the 1880s, William Julius Mickle posited that urban life played a role in exposure to the exciting cause of the disease, syphilis, and commented that Irish people had far lower rates of the disease ‘at home’.132 Later, Thomas Clouston, who was known for his Clinical Lectures on Mental Diseases (1883), suggested that the modern city itself was responsible for some mental degeneration.133 Clouston’s book The Hygiene of the Mind was reprinted several times after it first appeared in 1906, and in it he argued that cities encouraged numb, mindless activity: ‘the street, the shop, the electric car, the factory bell and the policeman keep life going for many dwellers in the city without any thinking on their part’.134 He advocated parks, gardens, camping trips for active thought and reflection.135

Trollope, too, did not confine his observations of the urban spaces of the colonies to the solely decorative, but also wrote about the socially ameliorative institutions of these places, and the swollen populations of cities which presented challenges to their elegance and sophistication. He noted that, in time, the colonial-born population would surpass that of the immigrant population, but was curious as to whether the ‘race’ would ‘deteriorate or become stronger by the change’.136 His remarks may have been stimulated by his abhorrence at the lives of the ‘dissipated’ Chinese, as well as the interest he took in the rates of insanity and destitution in the colonies.137 Certainly, views about the possibility that the rush for gold had attracted a sickly population, (p.38) including the diseased, ‘idle’, ‘neuralgic’ and those with ‘worn-out constitutions’, were already in circulation in Victoria.138 The heavy reliance on alcohol, a tendency from which no class seemed immune, meant that the colonies were awash with drink; Dr John Singleton, who established the Melbourne City Mission in 1854, faced a ‘torrent of drunkenness’ in 1850s Melbourne, citing numerous cases of families ruined and torn apart by alcoholism and deaths due to drinking.139

The two large, public urban institutions for the insane at the centre of this study both reflected their urban populations but also provided shelter and refuge for the insane from their wider catchment areas. Established in the late 1840s, the Yarra Bend Asylum drew its substantive patient population from the suburban areas of Melbourne, with some patients from rural areas. After institutions were established in the rural towns of Ararat and Beechworth in the 1860s, and the Kew Asylum was built in the 1870s, inmates at the Yarra Bend were most likely to be poor and living in the inner city areas with many admitted from Fitzroy, Collingwood, Carlton, North Melbourne, St Kilda and the city itself.140 The Provincial Auckland Lunatic Asylum was first established in the 1850s in the buildings of Auckland Hospital but was moved in 1867 to new brick buildings set inside vegetable gardens and pasture on sixteen acres outside the urban centre on Great North Road, Avondale.141 Known informally and locally as Te Whau because it was located some three to five miles outside of Auckland City near Te Whau Creek, the institution took inmates from all over the North Island, especially the upper North Island. It was a wide catchment area.

In the Annual Report of the Inspector of Asylums in Victoria for 1870, produced by then Inspector of Asylums, Dr Edward Paley, the short history of the institutions for the insane in the colony no doubt made for startling reading. In only two decades, the asylums had become ‘the refuge for all who can be declared lunatics, idiots, or of feeble or unsound mind in any shade or degree; without discrimination as to their suitability for asylum treatment’, Paley declared.142 The population of the Yarra Bend that year was 986.143 Moreover, the asylum was usually easier to access than other social institutions for a variety of reasons Paley outlines; and it also became the final destination for many of the colony’s most desperate people.144 The impact of emigration, and the age structure of the colony, also played a role in the growing reliance on the asylum, as well as determining rates of mental illness which tended to strike people in their middle age. Paley’s detailed account of immigration, the gendered makeup of the immigrant population, and the changing age structure of the colonial and institutional population, shows that much thought was given to (p.39) the way that the institution was itself bound up with concerns about social structure and population.145

The situation at Auckland was different in that the asylum was at that time relatively small and catered to less than one hundred inmates, most of them male. Yet like Paley and his contemporaries in the Australian colonies, concerns about the immigrant insane struck notes of uncertainty among doctors. In 1870, John King, Inspector of Asylums, wondered at some length if some of those insane at the Auckland Provincial Asylum, as it was known, might be better served if removed and sent back to their ‘native country’.146 King even proposed that the cost of such voyages to return the insane home to their ‘native’ places might be defrayed by the government. To place these comments in a wider context, the point of returning the insane inmates to their countries of origin was part of a wider discussion about the value of patients being cared for by families in familiar contexts, as asylum authorities debated the various colonial and imperial models of boarding-out or extra-institutional care across the period.147

Immigrants and insanity

Some immigrants to colonial Victoria ‘lived out dissatisfied lives, plagued by the loneliness that comes from old age, far from one’s family and roots’.148 This isolation dogged immigrants of all walks of life and was exacerbated by poverty and need, and was particularly obvious among those receiving charity and indoor and outdoor welfare in the new cities and towns of the colony.149 Popular views of insanity existed and were commented on in newspapers and other colonial publications.150 Yet the stories of the unsuccessful migrants to the colonies appear in only some historical accounts of colonial settlement and life. The ‘“other” pasts’ of the mobile peoples traversing empire are often occluded.151 Some migrants returned ‘home’ after a period of time, as private and official sources can tell us, and these stories of the returnees of the period might also provide insights into the mental health of migrants.152

Instances of mental breakdown in colonial family letters, private diaries and similar sources are fleeting; mental illness is often silent in the private record.153 Accounts such as the one by Danish woman Ingeborg Stuckenberg who arrived in Auckland in 1903 and who found New Zealand ‘still in embryo’, and – judging by her views of the town and its people – was horribly alienated before her eventual suicide, are rare.154 Similarly, studying migration stories through letters, shipping records and related sources with a view to uncovering mental illness presents challenges, with mental illness either muted in descriptions (p.40) or too rarely noted to be of significance. Among the colonial working class in New Zealand, there are numerous examples of insanity, from evidence of mental breakdowns which occurred on the voyage out, to reports of lunacy among labouring men on the West Coast of New Zealand in the 1870s, as well as suicides among colonial men.155 ‘Maggie’, a ‘hopeful’ immigrant writing letters to her brother in Canada from New Zealand which were published in 1887, commented on the rates of insanity in the colonies and suggested it was no surprise that the emigrants suffered grief, ‘utter disappointment’ and ‘bitter regrets’ about their new lives, which sometimes failed to measure up to expectations.156 Her absolute certainty that the mind could become ‘quite unhinged’ in such environments led ‘Maggie’ to construct advice about ‘classes’ of people who should ‘come out’ to the colonies and those who should not, suggesting that contemporaries gave thought to the way that innate characteristics combined with environmental factors in the production of mental health and illness.157

Institutional records, then, provide more detail about insanity as it manifested among immigrants.158 In May of the year 1900, James Waddell, an artist aged forty-six, was admitted to the Yarra Bend Hospital for the Insane. Waddell had been hospitalised at the Beechworth Asylum in the previous year. At the Yarra Bend he was diagnosed with delusional insanity, reporting he heard people calling him a ‘who’, and he exhibited other paranoid tendencies, among them, the belief that he suffered from syphilis, and that his pelvis was ‘diseased’. Like a number of other insane admitted to institutions in Australia and New Zealand, Waddell had a longer history of mental illness; in his case, dating back fifteen years prior to his emigration to the colonies from Scotland.159 In 1906 he was again admitted to the Yarra Bend, this time designated as having dementia, with his brother requesting he be transferred to Sunbury Asylum in Melbourne’s outer western fringe that year.160 Waddell’s institutional mobility – he spent time in several institutions in the colony of Victoria, as well as the suggestion that he had done so earlier in Glasgow – is also instructive. Insanity was a kaleidoscope of mental diseases which defied national borders, despite earlier attempts by colonial authorities to safeguard the colonies from its presence, or the expectation from some medical writers that new places would somehow be immune from mental diseases.

Although a relatively small number of direct references to patients having spent time in individual institutions outside Australia can be found in the total number of patients at the Yarra Bend, and a similar number of references to patients having spent time in individual institutions outside New Zealand in the total number of patients at Auckland, there are many more hints that other inmates at both of (p.41) these colonial institutions had longer histories of mental disturbance. This is important, as it indicates that the stresses of mobility and migration were not always the sole trigger for mental illness, even if these experiences exacerbated the existing tendency to mental illness, as contemporaries noted in their official observations and commentaries in asylum reports. In 1871, for instance, the report of the Joint Committee on Lunatic Asylums included comments by Dr M. Grace, who cited ‘oppressive loneliness’ among new arrivals as one cause of insanity. ‘Many immigrants too’, he added, ‘form the most extravagant anticipations of their new home, and are proportionably depressed by the result of actual experience.’161

Most of the foreign-born inmates who had definitely spent time in asylums before migrating, according to their committal papers, had spent it in English institutions, with some in Irish or Scottish asylums and a handful in European hospitals, the European asylums in India, or in the American mental hospitals. Their stories tell us something of the travails of mental illness in time and space, the way it patterned individual experiences of mobility and movement across and within the imperial world, and the knowledge about institutions that was gained by families and friends in the process. At the Yarra Bend, for instance, Frances Phillips supplied information about her sister, Miss Rose Stanley, aged thirty, admitted to the institution in 1903. Rose had been in asylums ‘at 25 years of age at Calcutta and Colombo’. She had never worked, had lived in India for the ‘last 16 years’, and her sister suggested that her state was ‘a relapse of similar troubles in India’, going on to describe her delusion that she ‘believe[d] she has been bayonetted and that bits of iron are lodged in her body’.162 Mrs Ellen Clark, admitted in the same year aged sixty-five, continued to ‘express an exaggerated regret for all her past life’, with her son-in-law explaining that she had been in a Scottish asylum thirty years before.163 In an earlier period of the Yarra Bend’s history, between the 1870s and 1880s, even less information was gathered in many cases. James Jones, admitted in his forties in 1882, had come to the colonies already exposed to the vicissitudes of poor mental health, if his record is indicative. A blow to the head in England had made him unpredictable, violent, and he had suffered a previous instance of ‘insanity’: his notes comment that he had delusions relating to land selection near Lake Boort in Victoria, the district where he was apprehended as insane.164

Prior institutionalisation, however, did not always mean that more detail could be amassed about individual inmates or cases by medical authorities. At Auckland, apart from sparse notes about a few institutions, such as Staffordshire Asylum or Kilkenny District Asylum, very little detail was known about the patients who had spent time (p.42) in asylums in England, South Africa, Ireland, or America. Aged sixty-five in 1900, Mary Jackson had been admitted to Auckland Asylum on numerous occasions in the 1890s with mania, and her records note that she had previous attacks of insanity in England, but no institution is noted. Perhaps her daughter, Harriet Wills, had no knowledge of the specific prior committals, making it impossible for the asylum to trace any paperwork about Mary.165

Still others had been transferred between colonial institutions. In 1894, Margaret Page, who ‘fell down a mine when 5 years old’, had already spent eight years in a private asylum in New Zealand.166 This institution, while unnamed in the patient notes and described only as ‘P.A.’, was probably Ashburn Hall. Another woman inmate at the Yarra Bend had been in Seacliff Asylum in Dunedin fifteen years before with a personal history of murder and suicide attempts.167

Immigrants of all kinds – assisted, poor, ordinary and otherwise – became recipients of a newly formed web of institutional measures, and were later inscribed in the institutional record. This chapter has described two colonial sites, placing urban locations within their wider geographical contexts, and has examined the way mobility shaped the lives of immigrants and settlers in these imperial and colonial spaces. Although institutional confinement curtailed the mobility of some immigrants and settlers, in the process of containing mobile peoples within the walls, spaces and textual apparatus of their confines, institutional records can tell us something about who these people were. These case records allow us, usefully, to partially locate immigrants in the ‘age of mobility’, and provide us with small glimpses of the experiences of people who might ordinarily be less visible in the colonial record.

At the same time these colonial records allow us to understand the implications of mobility for colonial society. The archival record of the institutions for the insane is also a record of imperial modes of governance; it is through this record that we can begin to locate some aspects of the contemporary imagining of the problem of mobility. The colonial world operated inside an imperial and global world of movement of which migration to the Australasian colonies was but one aspect. Peoples who were mobile across many other geographical sites met similar fates and were made subject to a range of legal and state controls, with specific patterns of jurisdiction in white settler colonies reflecting shared anxieties about mobility.

As the next chapter demonstrates, a range of welfare, medical and legal institutions was quickly established in the Australasian colonies, including New Zealand, by the mid- to late nineteenth century. Immigrants, the sick, the mentally ill, the impoverished, the (p.43) Indigenous and the wayward were segregated and housed in different institutional spaces. By looking at the movement of people between social institutions, as well as at the exchanges of ideas about mobility itself, the following chapter suggests that we might open up new ways of seeing and interpreting immigration as a form of mobility that was also regulated and circumscribed by the welfare and health institutions which were part of the fabric of the state.



(1) It is important to note that by talking about Aboriginal peoples as being on the ‘fringes’ of white society and spaces, historians do not perpetuate perceptions of their absence from history, as Penelope Edmonds also points out. See Edmonds, ‘The intimate, urbanising frontier: Native camps and settler colonialism’s violent array of spaces around early Melbourne’, in Tracey Banivanua Mar and Penelope Edmonds (eds), Making Settler Colonial Space: Perspectives on Race, Place and Identity (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), pp. 130–1.

(2) For population figures and estimates, see Peter McDonald, ‘Demography’, in Andrew Brown-05 and Shurlee Swain (eds), The Encyclopedia of Melbourne (Cambridge, New York, and Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 2005), p. 201.

(3) Anthony Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, Vol. 1 (London: Dawsons of Pall Mall, 1873), pp. 384–5.

(4) Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, Vol. 1, pp. 384–5; p. 386. For perceptive comments about Trollope as travel writer, see Lydia Wevers, Country of Writing: Travel Writing and New Zealand 1809–1900 (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2002), pp. 140–6.

(5) Jeanine Graham, ‘Settler society’, in Geoffrey W. Rice (ed.), The Oxford History of New Zealand, 2nd edn (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992); Sir Julius Vogel (ed.), The Official Handbook of New Zealand: A Collection of Papers by Experienced Colonists on the Colony as a Whole, and on the Several Provinces (London: Wyman & Sons, 1875), p. 243.

(6) Vogel (ed.), The Official Handbook, p. 250. David Hamer finds that the population of Auckland nearly doubled between 1846 and 1911; see Hamer ‘Centralization and nationalism (1891–1912)’, in Keith Sinclair (ed.), The Oxford Illustrated History of New Zealand (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990), p. 140.

(7) Margaret Tennant, Paupers and Providers: Charitable Aid in New Zealand (Wellington: Allen & Unwin/Historical Branch, 1990), p. 22.

(9) Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, Vol. 2, pp. 459, 461. See also J. H. M. Salmon, A History of Gold-Mining in New Zealand (Wellington: Government Printer, 1963).

(11) John Murray Moore, New Zealand for the Emigrant, Invalid, and Tourist (London: Sampson Law, Marston, Searle and Rivington, 1890).

(12) The phrase is used by W. J. Woods, A Visit to Victoria (London: Wyman & Sons, 1886), p. 41.

(13) See Trollope, Australia and New Zealand, Vol. 1, pp. 1–3, on the imperial responsibility for the colonies and their white populations in particular. See also Helen Gilbert and Anna Johnston (eds), In Transit: Travel, Text, Empire (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2002), p. 5.

(14) In particular, I am departing from earlier social history studies of ‘persistence’ and ‘transience’; Tom Brooking, Dick Martin, David Thomson and Hamish James, ‘The ties that bind: Persistence in a New World industrial suburb, 1902–22’, Social History, 24:1 (1999), p. 60. I am also reinterpreting older histories of migration: (p.44) see Richard Broome, The Victorians Arriving (Sydney: Fairfax, Syme and Weldon, 1984).

(15) Philippa Levine, Prostitution, Race and Politics: Policing Venereal Disease in the British Empire (New York and London: Routledge, 2003), p. 4.

(16) Graeme Davison, J. W. McCarty and Ailsa McLeary (eds), Australians 1888 (Broadway: Fairfax, Syme & Weldon, 1987), Chapter 12, pp. 230–49.

(17) Brooking et al., ‘The ties that bind’; Miles Fairburn, The Ideal Society and Its Enemies: The Foundations of Modern New Zealand Society, 1850–1900 (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1989).

(18) Alan Atkinson, The Europeans in Australia, Vol. 2: Democracy (Melbourne and New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), p. 269; see also the arguments in Fairburn, The Ideal Society.

(20) This theme is taken up in the comparative study of the cities of Melbourne and Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, by Penelope Edmonds. Both of these places attempted forms of control over the mobility of Indigenous subjects and tried to contain their populations: Edmonds, Urbanizing Frontiers: Indigenous Peoples and Settlers in Nineteenth-Century Pacific Rim Cities (Vancouver and Toronto: University of British Columbia Press, 2010), p. 12.

(21) See the Plan of Auckland at 1842 in G. W. A. Bush, Decently and in Order: The Government of the City of Auckland 1840–1971 (Auckland and London: Collins, 1971), p. 23.

(22) For histories of immigration to the Australian colonies, see Eric Richards, ‘Migrations: The career of British white Australia’, in Deryck M. Schreuder and Stuart Ward (eds), Australia’s Empire, The Oxford History of the British Empire Companion Series (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), pp. 163–85; Broome, The Victorians Arriving. For New Zealand studies, see Angela McCarthy, ‘Migration and ethnic identities in the nineteenth century’, in Giselle Byrnes (ed.), The New Oxford History of New Zealand (Auckland and Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2009), pp. 173–95; Lyndon Fraser and Katie Pickles (eds), Shifting Centres: Women and Migration in New Zealand History (Dunedin: University of Otago Press, 2002). See also the Special Issue of the New Zealand Journal of History focused on Migration and the Nation, 43:2 (2009).

(24) Tony Ballantyne, Webs of Empire: Locating New Zealand’s Colonial Past (Wellington: Bridget Williams Books, 2012).

(26) Rollo Arnold, ‘The Australasian peoples and their world, 1888–1915’, in Keith Sinclair (ed.), Tasman Relations (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1987), p. 53.

(27) Philippa Mein Smith, ‘The Tasman world’, in Byrnes (ed.), The New Oxford History of New Zealand, p. 299. William Pember Reeves, State Experiments in Australia and New Zealand, Vol. 2 (South Melbourne: Macmillan of Australia, 1969 [1902]).

(31) For a representation of internal population movement, see the table/diagram in Davison, McCarty and McLeary (eds), Australians 1888, p. 232.

(32) David Rollison, ‘Exploding England: The dialectics of mobility and settlement in early modern England’, Social History, 24:1 (1999), p. 10.

(34) Dean Wilson, ‘Community Violence in Auckland, 1850–1875’, unpublished Masters Thesis in History, University of Auckland, 1993, p. 39.

(36) Damon Salesa, ‘New Zealand’s Pacific’, in Byrnes (ed.), New Oxford History of New Zealand, p. 153; Tony Ballantyne and Antoinette Burton (eds), Moving (p.45) Subjects: Gender, Mobility, and Intimacy in an Age of Global Empire (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2009).

(39) Frances Steel, Oceania under Steam: Sea Transport and the Cultures of Colonialism, c. 1870–1914, Studies in Imperialism (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2011), pp. 24–5.

(41) Angela McCarthy, ‘Migration and madness in New Zealand’s asylums, 1863–1910’, in Angela McCarthy and Catharine Coleborne (eds), Migration, Ethnicity and Mental Health: International Perspectives, 1840–2010, Routledge Studies in Cultural History (New York and Abingdon: Routledge, 2012), pp. 62–5. For an account of emigrants’ voyages to Victoria, see also Broome, The Victorians Arriving, pp. 50–6.

(42) David Goodman, ‘Reading gold-rush travellers’ narratives’, Australian Cultural History, 10 (1991), p. 99.

(44) John Hunter Kerr, Glimpses of Life in Victoria, by ‘A Resident’ (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1996 [1876]), p. 163.

(45) Frederic Algar, A Description of the Province of Victoria: Australia (London: Algar and Street, 1858), p. 22.

(46) Christina Twomey, ‘“Without Natural Protectors”: Histories of Deserted and Destitute Colonial Women in Victoria 1850–1865’, unpublished Ph.D. thesis History, University of Melbourne, 1995.

(48) These social ‘types’ were observed by contemporaries and studied by historians, featuring in accounts of the mobile: see the account of different ‘nomads’ in Davison, McCarty, and McLeary (eds), Australians 1888, p. 249. Miles Fairburn’s transient and itinerant men also form the basis of some of these ideas; see Fairburn, The Ideal Society, pp. 204–6; pp. 246–7. On remittance men in Auckland, see Jack Adam, Vivien Burgess and Dawn Ellis, Rugged Determination: Historical Window on Swanson, 1854–2004 (Auckland: Swanson Residents and Ratepayers Association, 2004), pp. 51–2.

(49) See Daiva Stasiulis and and Nira Yuval-Davis (eds), Unsettling Settler Societies: Articulations of Gender, Race, Ethnicity and Class, Sage Series on Race and Ethnic Relations (London and Thousand Oaks: Sage, 1995).

(50) Lorenzo Veracini, Settler Colonialism: A Theoretical Overview (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), pp. 26–7.

(51) See for example the now extensive literature describing the Australian colonial frontier(s), including Bain Attwood and S. G. Foster (eds), Frontier Conflict: The Australian Experience (Canberra: National Museum of Australia, 2003). National histories including the following title have since the 1990s incorporated revisionist histories of the Australian frontiers: see for example, David Day, Claiming a Continent: A New History of Australia (Sydney: HarperCollins, 2001 [1996]).

(52) Samuel Butler, A First Year in Canterbury Settlement, With Other Early Essays, edited by R. A. Streatfeild (London: A. C. Fifield, 1914), p. 127.

(53) Eric Richards (ed.), Poor Australian Immigrants in the Nineteenth Century, Visible Immigrants: Two (Canberra: Australian National University, 1991), p. 3.

(54) William Howitt, Land, Labour, and Gold, or, Two Years in Victoria with Visits to Sydney and Van Diemen’s Land (Sydney: Sydney University Press, 1972 [1855]), p. 285.

(58) Andrew Brown-05, Melbourne Street Life: The Itinerary of Our Days (Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Press/Arcadia and Museum Victoria, 1998), p. 163.

(p.46) (59) Antoinette Burton, ‘Introduction: The unfinished business of colonial modernities’, in Antoinette Burton (ed.), Gender, Sexuality and Colonial Modernities, Routledge Research in Gender and History (London and New York: Routledge, 1999), p. 2.

(62) James Belich, Replenishing the Earth: The Settler Revolution and the Rise of the Anglo-World, 1783–1939 (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), pp. 356–7.

(66) Nicole McLennan, ‘Glimpses of unassisted English women arriving in Victoria, 1860–1900’, in Eric Richards (ed.), Visible Women: Female Immigrants in Colonial Australia, Visible Immigrants: Four (Canberra: Division of Historical Studies and Centre for Immigration and Multicultural Studies, Australian National University, 1995), p. 59.

(69) For detailed representations of historical statistics in the colonies, see Wray Vamplew (ed.), Australians: Historical Statistics (Melbourne: Fairfax, Syme & Weldon, 1987), pp. 25–37.

(72) Broome, The Victorians Arriving, pp. 49–51. A sad example of the ways in which Aboriginal people were caught inside institutional and legal networks which challenged their movement is set out by Bain Attwood’s search for the story of Brataualung man Tarra Bobby. See Bain Attwood, ‘Tarra Bobby, a Brataualung man’, Aboriginal History, 11:1–2 (1987), pp. 41–57.

(73) Lynette Russell (ed.), Colonial Frontiers: Indigenous-European Encounters in Settler Societies, Studies in Imperialism (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2001).

(75) Hawk is interested in ‘mad migrants’, especially the miners who become caught in institutional settings across gold-mining regions of the Pacific. See Angela Hawk, ‘Going “mad” in gold country: Migrant populations and the problem of containment in Pacific mining boom regions’, Pacific Historical Review, 80:1 (2011), pp. 64–96.

(76) Dean Wilson, ‘“Well-set-up men”: Respectable masculinity and police organizational culture in Melbourne 1853-c.1920’, in David G. Barrie and Susan Broomhall (eds), A History of Police and Masculinities, 1700–2010 (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2012).

(77) Frank Fowler’s Southern Lights and Shadows remarks on the many cultural activities available to dwellers in Melbourne, leaving him at a loss to explain the way excessive drinking was a hallmark of Melbourne colonial life; see Frank Fowler, Southern Lights and Shadows (Sydney: Sydney University Press, 1975 [1859]), pp. 42–3.

(78) Susanne Davies, ‘“Ragged, dirty … infamous and obscene”: The “vagrant” in late-nineteenth-century Melbourne’, in David Philips and Susanne Davies (eds), A Nation of Rogues? Crime, Law and Punishment in Colonial Australia (Parkville: Melbourne University Press, 1994), pp. 141–65.

(79) Dean Wilson, The Beat: Policing a Victorian City (Melbourne: Circa, 2006), p. 110; see also Catharine Coleborne, ‘Passage to the asylum: The role of the police in committals of the insane in Victoria, Australia, 1848–1900’, in Roy Porter and David Wright (eds), The Confinement of the Insane: International Perspectives, 1800–1965 (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003), pp. 129–48.

(82) PROV, VPRS 937/P4, Inwards registered Correspondence 1853–1894.

(84) PROV, VPRS 937/P4, Bundle 2. A cutting of the newspaper can be found in the records, but no date or newspaper title is included.

(90) Wilson, ‘Community Violence’, p. 7. Wilson also cites G. T. Bloomfield, New Zealand: A Handbook of Historical Statistics, Reference Publication in International Historical Statistics (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1984), p. 57.

(91) Margaret Mutch, ‘Aspects of the Social and Economic History of Auckland, 1890–1896’, Unpublished Masters thesis, University of Auckland, 1968, p. 107.

(94) Judith Elphick, ‘Auckland 1870–74: A Social Portrait’, unpublished Masters thesis, University of Auckland, 1974, p. 17.

(95) See for example, John Askew, A Voyage to Australia and New Zealand Including a Visit to Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Hunter’s River, Newcastle, Maitland, and Auckland; With a Summary of the Progress and Discoveries Made in Each Colony From its Founding to the Present Time. By a Steerage Passenger (London: Simpkin, Marshall and Co., 1857), pp. 326–7.

(98) Raewyn Dalziel, ‘Railways and relief centres (1870–1890)’, in Keith Sinclair (ed.), The Oxford Illustrated History of New Zealand, Oxford Illustrated Histories (Auckland and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990), p. 108.

(99) Note that Wilson draws upon work by Jock Philips, Erik Olssen and others: see Wilson, ‘Community Violence’, p. 7.

(100) Bush, citing the Southern Cross (26 February 1850), p. 2; see Decently and in Order, p. 33.

(102) See a table on birthplaces at 1874 in Elphick, ‘Auckland 1870–74’, p. 16.

(104) Elphick, ‘Auckland 1870–74’, p. 3. Auckland’s Public Library dates from 1887; see Dalziel, p. 108.

(105) William Main, Auckland Through a Victorian Lens (Wellington: Millwood Press, 1977).

(106) E. E. Morris (ed.), Pictorial New Zealand (London, Paris and Melbourne: Cassell & Company, 1895), pp. 11, 113.

(107) Caroline Daley, ‘A gendered domain: Leisure in Auckland, 1890–1940’, in Caroline Daley and Deborah Montgomerie (eds), The Gendered Kiwi (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1999), p. 89. See also ‘Charge of vagrancy’, New Zealand Herald (24 June 1911), p. 5.

(108) Alan Mulgan, Spur of Morning (London: Whitcombe and Tombs, 1934), p. 8.

(111) Edmonds argues that ‘discourses of Britishness’ produced and strengthened identities of ‘settlers and cities’; Edmonds, Urbanizing Frontiers, p. 69.

(112) New Zealand’s immigration laws of the 1880s place it within this frame; see Edmonds, Urbanizing Frontiers, p. 231.

(114) Dr H. Earley, Hints Upon Health, Addressed to Newly Arrived Immigrants (Melbourne: B. Lucas, Collins Street, 1853), p. 1.

(p.48) (115) Reverend William Jarritt, Hints to Immigrants Upon Colonial Life and Its Requirements (Melbourne: Argus, Collins Street, 1853), pp. 2–3; p. 4.

(117) Howitt, Land, Labour, and Gold, p. 279. Howitt provides an account of population growth in the short period he examines, p. 283.

(123) Elphick notes that a journalist interviewed boys in their teen age years about living on the streets and published the work in 1872, ‘Auckland 1870–74’, pp. 91–2. See also Weekly News (16 March 1872), cited in Elphick.

(126) Lynette Finch, The Classing Gaze: Sexuality, Class and Surveillance (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1993).

(127) On travelling knowledge cultures, including medical and legal cultures, see David Lambert and Alan Lester (eds), Colonial Lives across the British Empire: Imperial Careering in the Long Nineteenth Century (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006); Lauren Benton, A Search for Sovereignty: Law and Geography in European Empires, 1400–1900 (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010), pp. 3, 23; and M. Anne Crowther and Marguerite W. Dupree, Medical Lives in the Age of Surgical Revolution, Cambridge Studies in Population, Economy and Society in Past Time 43 (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007).

(128) Both the colonies under examination here, Victoria and New Zealand, produced Yearbooks published by the government which contained vital statistics of the colony’s population, health, institutions, economy and other details. From 1893 until 1914, the New Zealand Official Year Book was published by the Registrar-General’s office, and was popularly known as the New Zealand Year-book. In Victoria, the Victorian Year Book was published from 1873 by the Government Statistician.

(129) Carol Anne Reeves, ‘Insanity and Nervous Diseases Amongst Jewish Immigrants to the East End of London, 1880–1920’, unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of London, 2001, pp. 18–20.

(130) Carol Anne Reeves, pp. 23–4. Reeves cites Francis Galton, ‘Hereditary talent and character’, Macmillan’s Magazine 12 (1865).

(131) The wider context circulating about poverty, the workhouse and the movement of people in and out of the social and medical institutions helped to reinforce negative views of the Irish. See Hilary Marland and Catherine Cox, ‘Emaciated and exhausted: Irish minds and bodies in nineteenth-century Lancashire asylums’, unpublished conference paper, European Association for the History of Medicine and Health (EAHMH) Body and Mind Conference, Utrecht, September 2011; see also Catherine Cox, Hilary Marland and Sarah York, ‘Itineraries and experiences of insanity: Irish migration and the management of mental illness in nineteenth-century Lancashire’, in Catherine Cox and Hilary Marland (eds), Migration, Health and Ethnicity in the Modern World, Science, Technology and Medicine in Modern History (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).

(132) Marland and Cox, ‘Emaciated and exhausted’; William Julius Mickle, General Paralysis of the Insane (London: H. K. Lewis, 1886 [1880]), pp. 259–60.

(133) T. S. Clouston, Clinical Lectures on Mental Diseases (London: J. & A. Churchill, 1883).

(134) T. S. Clouston, The Hygiene of Mind, 7th edn (London: Methuen & Co., 1918 [1906]), pp. 262–3.

(p.49) (138) Michael Cannon, Melbourne After the Gold Rush (Main Ridge: Loch Haven Books, 1993), p. 44. Cannon quotes from Dr Mingay Syder’s tract published as The Voice of Truth in Defence of Nature: And Opinions Antagonistic to Those of Dr Kilgour, Upon the Effect of the Climate of Australia Upon the European Constitution in Health and Disease (Geelong: Heath and Cordell, 1853), in which Syder suggests that the colonial world was a magnet for the weak and degenerate; see p. 5. Colonial women were particularly diseased, according to Syder, as discussed in Chapter 5.

(139) John Singleton, A Narrative of Incidents in the Eventful Life of a Physician (Melbourne: M. L. Hutchinson, 1891), p. 121.

(140) Stephen Garton presents a similar finding about the patterns of admission for the inmates of the hospitals for the insane in Sydney; see Garton, Medicine and Madness: A Social History of Insanity in New South Wales, 1880–1940 (Sydney: New South Wales University Press, 1988), p. 121.

(143) Report of the Inspector of Asylums on the Hospitals for the Insane for 1870 (Melbourne: John Ferres, Government Printer, 1871), Appendix B, Table 1, p. 38.

(146) Reports on Lunatic Asylums in New Zealand, D-29, Appendices to the Jourals of the House of Representatives (AJHR), 1870, pp. 2, 4.

(147) See Catharine Coleborne, Madness in the Family: Insanity and Institutions in the Australasian Colonial World, 1860–1914 (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), pp. 137–9. At the same time, the New Zealand government, like that of Victoria, deliberated about the efficiencies of the asylum system across the colony and debated whether New Zealand might be better served by a central asylum, with the report of the Joint Committee on the subject published as a government document in 1871; see Report of the Joint Committee on Lunatic Asylums, AJHR, H-10 (Wellington, 1871).

(151) Desley Deacon, Penny Russell, and Angela Woollacott (eds), Transnational Lives: Biographies of Global Modernity, 1700-the Present (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), p. 2.

(152) An extended discussion of this theme is beyond the scope of the present study. Angela McCarthy has examined this question; see McCarthy, ‘A difficult voyage’, History Scotland, 10:4 (2010), pp. 29–30.

(153) See for example the archival research illustrating the theme in Coleborne, Madness in the Family, pp. 43–51.

(154) John Kousgard SØrensen, ‘Ingeborg Stuckenberg in New Zealand’, in Henning Bender and Birgit Larsen (eds), Danish Emigration to New Zealand, translated by Karen Veien (Aalborg: Danes Worldwide Archives, 1990), p. 50.

(155) Julia Millen, Colonial Tears and Sweat: The Working Class in Nineteenth-Century New Zealand (Wellington: Reed, 1984), p. 18; pp. 48–9.

(156) ‘Hopeful’, ‘Taken in’; Being, a Sketch of New Zealand Life, 2nd edn (London: W. H. Allen & Co., 1877; reprint 1974), pp. 167–9.

(158) Angela McCarthy, ‘Ethnicity, migration and the lunatic asylum in early twentieth-century Auckland, New Zealand’, Social History of Medicine, 21:1 (2008), pp. 47–65; Angela McCarthy, ‘Migration and madness in New Zealand’s asylums, 1863–1910’, in McCarthy and Coleborne (eds), Migration, Ethnicity and Mental Health, pp. 55–72.

(159) PROV, VPRS 7399/P1, unit 12, folio 281, 12 May 1900.

(160) PROV, VPRS 7399/P0, unit 15, folio 520, 8 October 1906.

(p.50) (161) Dr Grace, Appendix, Report of Joint Committee on Lunatic Asylums, AJHR, H-10 (Wellington, 1871), p. 10.

(162) PROV, VPRS 7400/P1, unit 13, folio 346, 3 May 1903.

(163) PROV, VPRS 7400/P1, unit 13, folio 329, 9 June 1903.

(164) PROV, VPRS 7399/P1, unit 5, folio 72, 29 March 1882.

(165) National Archives New Zealand, Auckland, Auckland Mental Hospital, (YCAA) 1048/9, 351, patient 2846, 1 June 1900.

(166) PROV, VPRS 7400/P1, unit 11, folio 43, 15 November 1894.

(167) PROV, VPRS 7400/P1, unit 10, folio 128, 24 December 1891.