Turbulent & worthless characters: Irish immigration and Australian bigotry


Thu May 19 2022 at 06:00 pm to 08:30 pm


Old Government House Lecture Theatre (102-G36) | Auckland, AU

Explore the origins and patterns of Australia’s hostility to new arrivals.
About this Event

On 12 November 1796 the New South Wales Governor, John Hunter, wrote to the Duke of Portland bemoaning the behaviour of Irish convicts who had been sent to the colony. At a time when purposeful labourers were required, Hunter received Irish prisoners, whom he described as ‘horrid characters … who, I confess, I wish had either been sent to the coast of Africa, or some place as fit for them’. Hunter’s condemnation of the recently-arrived Irish signalled the commencement of an anti-immigrant strain in Australian life that has proved persistent and deeply ingrained. Focussing most closely on the experience of Irish immigrants, this lecture investigates the origins and patterns of Australia’s hostility towards new arrivals.

Malcolm Campbell was born in Sydney, Australia and studied at the University of New South Wales before taking up a lectureship at the University of Auckland. His research on Ireland and the history of Irish emigration has seen him hold fellowships at the University of Missouri, the Australian National University, The University of Liverpool, The University of Washington, and Trinity College Dublin. He has been Head of The Puna Aronui The School of Humanities since 2014.

Reception: From 7pm following this lecture

Drinks and nibbles will be provided in the Members Lounge of Old Government House

- COVID-19 Guidelines -

The University is committed to protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of members of its community and will be following COVID-19 government legislation.

Please do not attend the event if you are feeling unwell or have cold or flu-like symptoms.

We encourage all attendees to wear masks at all events.

Attendees are welcome to use the Government's NZ COVID Tracer app with Bluetooth turned on to scan into the venue.

- Photography -

Seminars, conferences and events may be photographed or filmed for use by the University and the media in hard copy and electronic publications including in newsletters and brochures, on social media, and posted on the University or conference websites to promote subsequent events and the University.

If you do not wish to be photographed or filmed, please inform the organiser or photographer. Please note all University of Auckland campuses are entirely smoke-free and we ask that all alumni, staff, students and guests comply with this.


Where is it happening?

Old Government House Lecture Theatre (102-G36), 24 Princes Street, Auckland, New Zealand

Event Location & Nearby Stays:


NZD 0.00

Faculty of Arts, The University of Auckland

Host or Publisher Faculty of Arts, The University of Auckland

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