‘Dear Grace . . . Love Maidie’
Interpreting a migrant’s letters from Australia, 1926–67
in Empire, migration and identity in the British world
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Archived letter collections written by migrants from the British Isles, often reflecting on journeys, reception and experiences tend to be limited to the nineteenth century. The collection adds up to 74 pieces, running from 18 April 1926 to 13 July 1967. This chapter presents the letters to Emiline Mary Viccars, nee Dawes, usually known as Maidie by her sister Grace. There are only four letters to Maidie, all from Grace, and all in 1945. The letters of these years are indicative of the tough economic times suffered by most of the new settlers, with low prices for their produce. But there is a further problem when the historian of migration endeavours to employ extracts from letters to answer large issues concerning, in this case, settlement, assimilation, Englishness and Australian identity. These letters appear to show an English migrant woman navigating between her past and her present, as all migrants do.


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