Sunday, June 3, 2012

From Livorno to New Zealand

Old postcrd, port of Livorno in 1901A friend of mine just told me of this funny passage about a group of Livornese workers in New Zealand in the 1870s.

In the 1870s Premier Julius Vogel extended immigration assistance to southern Europeans. The government hoped to boost the growing nation with settlement, public works and forest clearing. Most of the 230 town workers who responded to the lure of free passage came from Leghorn (Livorno) in Tuscany. They arrived between 1875 and 1876, unprepared and unsuited for the hard labour that awaited them. The first group began work on the Featherston railway, but were dismissed within a month because of disputes. The government promptly stopped assisting Italian immigrants, claiming: ‘they have proved utterly unfit for the work of colonisation’.

From: “Italians - Immigration 1860–1880” by Tessa Copland, Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand

11 comments:

Luis Gomez said...

Very nice VP.

Jack said...

That is funny, VP. Maybe the Italians liked it better back home.

Revrunner said...

Those "disputes: reminds me of the joke often told about having as many opinions as economists in a room.

Dianne said...

Oh my!! they had no idea what they were getting themselves into ... I have never heard this story before but can fully understand how that would have happened.

Randy said...

Wonderful old photo.

Dina said...

I wonder what ever happened to the 230.

JM said...

Glad you posted this, what a fantastic information!

Birdman said...

Grin!

Lois Evensen said...

Very, very interesting! Wonderful old photo, too.

Theanne said...

what an interesting bit of history...sounds like what they got themselves into was some seriously hard work! so did they have to stay in New Zealand...if they did obviously they worked at something...equally obviously it would have been something they were prepared to do and were good at! what's the rest of the story?!!!

cieldequimper said...

That is extraordinary. The French would have been unfit too, they would have striked before starting a revolution.