‘Australia: a full healthy life’ poster

London: Harrison and Sons Ltd., 1948-52.

Source: National Library of Australia

This poster was produced in England between 1948 and 1952. It promotes the assisted passage scheme for British migrants to Australia, which offered a fare for just £10 for adults and £5 for children aged between 14 and 18. Younger children travelled free.

Initially single men and women and married men with particular skills were sought, but in later years criteria was relaxed and applicants were only required to be healthy, under 45 years of age and white. Accepted migrants agreed to stay in Australia for 2 years, or pay back the balance of their outbound fare, along with the cost of their return journey. It was a tempting offer for people living amidst the destruction of war and under policies of austerity. Two of the longest and most severe British winters in living memory, 1946-7 and 1952-3, added a further incentive.

The promise of employment, home ownership and a ‘full healthy life’ in a temperate climate drew approximately 1.5 million British migrants to Australia between 1945 and 1982. Historians and demographers estimate that around a quarter of these ‘Ten Pound Poms’ later returned to the UK.