`The splendour of the history of Wales is that, unlike most other countries, the tradition of the nation has persisted through thousands of years.' *

The Welsh have been involved in the development of Australia from the earliest days of European settlement. `Their impact has been notable in a number of key areas of Australian life -- especially in the mining industry -- but has always been limited by their relatively small numbers. It has also been obscured by the long-held but misleading view that, with the exception of the Irish, all British people who have settled in Australia have been culturally homogeneous. Although overwhelmingly Protestant and, since the sixteenth century, politically and economically integrated with England, the Welsh have brought to Australia a distinctive cultural identity' - A. Ffestin Hughes
Original Southern Cross from the Eureka Stockade

The Birthplace of Australian Democracy

 

John Basson Humffray was born in Newtown, Wales and became active in the Chartist movement before migrating to Australia.

After campaigning for better rights for the miners on the Victorian goldfields Humffray was elected inaugural President of the Ballarat Reform League at a monster meeting of over 10,000 diggers at Ballarat in 1854. He met with Governor Hotham but the miners demands for reforms were rejected and there followed a particularly vicious licence hunt.

True to his roots Humffray advocated moral force as opposed to violence. The League therefore elected Peter Lalor deciding to meet force with force and the rest, as they say, is history; the history of the Eureka Stockade and a huge chapter in the fight for democracy in Australia.

Humffray defended the 13 miners who were charged in court and when the miners were granted the right to representation he was elected unopposed as the member of the Victorian Legislative Council for Ballarat 1855-1856. He is buried in the Old Ballarat Cemetery near those that had died in the Eureka rebellion.

      A New Nation is Born               Sir SAMUEL WALKER GRIFFITH (1845-1920); chief justice and premier, was born at Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorganshire, Wales, second son of Rev. Edward Griffith, Independent minister, and his wife Mary. He travelled extensively in many countries of the world and made a name as a brilliant young barrister. He strove to protect aborigines, fought for free, secular compulsory education and spearheaded the legislation of trade unions to improve relations between labour and capital. In 1891 he was given the task of drafting the Constitution for the Commonwealth of Australia. His whole career in politics and law had been preparing him for this. Samuel took less than a fortnight, and after approval by the people and through royal assent the Commonwealth of Australia was proclaimed in 1901.

A Brief History of the Welsh in Australia

by Willie Anderson 

- as published in Plaid Cymru's  Melbourne Branch `Cymry Oz' Newsletter 

 

THE WELSH IN AUSTRALIA - from the beginning

by A. Ffestin Hughes                        innaustralia.gif (8775 bytes)

THE WELSH IN THE DIFFERENT STATES; S Australia, Victoria and NSW

by A. Ffestin Hughes

WELSH CULTURE IN AUSTRALIA

by A. Ffestin Hughes

The Welsh in Australia in the Twentieth Century

by A. Ffestin Hughes

See the Politics Page for more items about History

THE MYTH OF THE ANGLO-SAXON BLOODLINE OF MODERN AUSTRALIANS:

If we are going to look at the History of the Welsh and in particular of the Welsh in Australia it is good first of all to be clear on the make-up of the immigrants to Australia, in other words the make-up of the British that were the earlier recent settlers.

Everyone talks about the Anglo-Saxons of England, so many of which came to Australia and to other parts of the world to settle. In fact we would be much more correct to drop off the word Saxon; a very small part of the English heritage and use the term Anglo-Celtic.

The generally accepted view of history of the Celts being forced west and north from England is, it now appears to be fallacious, it is much more likely that the ancient Britons stayed put and were incorporated as a part of the peoples that now live in England.

"There is good ground to believe ", writes Mr. E. W. B. Nicholson, M.A., the librarian of the Bodleian Library, in the preface to his Keltic Researches, "that Lancashire, West Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Cambridgeshire, Wiltshire, Somerset, and part of Sussex, are as Keltic as Perthshire and North Munster; that Cheshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Monmouthshire, Gloucestershire, Devon, Dorset, Northamptonshire, Huntingdonshire, and Bedfordshire are more so-and equal to North Wales and Leinster; while Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire exceed even this degree and are on a level with South Wales and Ulster. Cornwall, of course, is more Keltic than any other English county, and so much so as Argyll. Inverness-shire, or Connauqht."

When you include the native Welsh, Irish and Scottish in the settlers from Britain it can be seen that Anglo-Celtic is a much more authentic term to use.

Did you know?
Welsh Chartists had a hand in the mass movement for universal suffrage which led to the Victorian goldfield reforms.
Born in Merthyr Tydfil in Glamorgan Samual Griffiths was the main architect of the Australian Commonwealth Constitution
Welshman Billy Hughes became Prime Minister of Australia and was the Founding Father of the Australian Labor Party.
There were Welshmen amongst Cook's crew on his early voyages. Francis Wilkinson of Bangor in Caernarfon was master's mate on the Endeavour, and,  David Samwell (poet and physician with the bardic name of Dafydd Ddu Feddyg - Black David the Doctor) was the medical officer aboard the Discovery.
Six out of the top ten most common surnames in Britain are Welsh.
Four convicts who arrived with the First Fleet in 1788, had been tried in Wales. Man Watkins, aged 19 years, Frances Williams, William Davis and William Edmunds, sentenced to death  'for stealing one Heifer' reprieved and transported for seven years. Many of those early settlers spoke only Welsh. more

Much is heard of the English longbow, in fact it was the Welsh that developed and turned it into a mediaeval weapon of mass destruction. Read more.

               

For those with a will to uncover the family treasures and skeletons  GO TO THE WELSH ANCESTRY AND GENEALOGY PAGE: by Cleif Davies

This information first appeared in Cymry Oz; a bi-monthly newsletter produced by the Melbourne and Oceania Branch of Plaid Cymru


A list of over 100 prominent Welsh Australians can be found on the Australian Dictionary of Biography - online edition


DiarySwagmanWEB.jpg (39246 bytes)

The Welsh in an Australian Gold Town

Robert Llewellyn Tyler

This book provides an analysis of the Welsh immigrant community in the Ballarat/Sebastopol gold mining district of Victoria, Australia during the second half of the nineteenth century. As its focus, the book has the Welsh migrant group as a whole, in one particular area, during one period of time, and is a departure from previous studies that have concentrated on prominent individuals and cultural/religious societies, to the exclusion of many facets of immigrant life. By viewing the entire Welsh community in one area, over a set period of time and including all aspects of the migrant experience, a clearer picture is obtained regarding the true nature of that community and the ways in which it evolved.

"Robert Tyler's well-researched and reflective study offers perceptive insights into the experiences of Welsh migrants in the Australian goldfield community of Ballarat/Sebastopol. It significantly develops our understanding of the process of nineteenth century emigration to Australia, admirably scrutinises settlement patterns, the process of assimilation and the resilience of Welsh cultural identity. It is both a landmark study in Welsh migration history and an accessible read for all audiences".

Richard Allen, University of Wales, Newport

Available from Amazon  http://www.amazon.com/Welsh-Australian-Gold-Town-1850-1900/dp/0708322662/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1298632534&sr=8-1

Diary of a Welsh Swagman  Joseph Jenkins of Blaenplwyf, Cardiganshire, West Wales arrived at Port Melbourne on the 22nd of March 1869. Working on farms in the Ballarat and Castlemaine area Joseph kept his diaries for 25 years before returning to his native Wales.

Joseph was a real battler and a social commentator of his time. Lost in a Welsh attic for 70 years the diaries give a rare and penetrating look at Australian Colonial life at the time of Queen Victoria.

The book is available from stores in Australia, eBay and Amazon books.

HANES Y CYMRY

A BRIEF, ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF THE WELSH

PLEASE NOTE: I am gradually putting together a brief illustrated outline of Welsh History  to give people a background of the Welsh peoples. Many  of these pages are unavailable or incomplete at present.

1: THE CELTS ACROSS EUROPE

2: ROMAN BRITAIN

3: THE AGE OF THE SAINTS - WHEN THE CELTS SAVED CIVILISATION

WELSH BRITAIN/PRYDAIN CYMRAEG

4: DEALING WITH NEWCOMERS - THE ENGLISH

5: THE WELSH PRINCES AND THE NORMAN INVADERS

6: OWAIN GLYNDWR

7: WALES OF THE GWERIN

8: THE PAST 200 YEARS

9: A NATION YET AGAIN?

* Reference: Land of My Fathers - A History of Wales by Gwynfor Evans

     

References: http://adbonline.anu.edu.au/scripts/adbp-ent_search.php?culitext=Welsh