‘My wayward heart’
Homesickness, longing and the return of British post-war immigrants from Australia
in Emigrant homecomings
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This chapter explores the experiences and motivations of post-war emigrants to Australia who subsequently returned to live in Britain. It challenges the simplistic and polarized explanations for return offered by contemporary critics in both Britain and Australia. The chapter shows how a life history approach can offer a more complex and nuanced set of explanations of return migration. It focuses on the nature, meaning and significance of 'homesickness' in the migrant experience. The story of Janet Francis and her family spotlights many of the factors which caused migrants to return to Britain, including economic difficulties, homesickness and family reunion. The chapter draws upon a second archive at La Trobe University in Melbourne, where Jim Hammerton has a databank of letters from over 1,000 British migrants who settled in Australia, and more than 100 follow-up interviews.

Emigrant homecomings

The return movement of emigrants, 1600–2000

Editor: Marjory Harper

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