'The scum of France': Australian anxieties towards French convicts in the nineteenth century

Bergantz, A 2018, ''The scum of France': Australian anxieties towards French convicts in the nineteenth century', Australian Historical Studies, vol. 49, no. 2, pp. 150-166.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title 'The scum of France': Australian anxieties towards French convicts in the nineteenth century
Author(s) Bergantz, A
Year 2018
Journal name Australian Historical Studies
Volume number 49
Issue number 2
Start page 150
End page 166
Total pages 17
Publisher Routledge
Abstract Between the 1860s and the early decades of the twentieth century, escaped and liberated French convicts from the penal colony in New Caledonia arrived on Australian shores, raising concerns about physical as well as moral contamination. This article combines Australian sources with French consular and ministerial archives to examine the impact this little-known episode of trans-imperial history had on the early Australian federal process. The arrival of the convicts and former convicts played on at least two levels. It highlighted the colonial authorities' weak powers in asserting their territorial sovereignty and policies and pitted them against both Great Britain and the French. Further, the constant nudging of these unwelcome neighbours disrupted the ongoing disavowal of the colonies' convict past.
Subject Pacific History (excl. New Zealand and Maori)
Historical Studies not elsewhere classified
Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
Keyword(s) Federation
convicts
transportation
penal colonies
New Caledonia
convict stain
DOI - identifier 10.1080/1031461X.2018.1452951
ISSN 1940-5049
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