Charles Dickens' Australia: Selected Essays from Household Words 1850-1859

Book Two: Immigration

Charles Dickens and compiled by Margaret Mendelawitz

Regular price $34.95 Sale

Format: paperback
288 pages
ISBN: 9781920898687

Publication: 03 May 2011

Publisher: Sydney University Press

Charles Dickens is little celebrated as a journalist, yet his career spanned nearly 40 years. Starting as a court reporter, parliamentary newspaper columnist and theatre critic, he developed an instinct for injustice, humbug and charade. For 20 years he edited his own weekly journal, Household Words, later known as All the Year Round, publishing articles and stories designed to be interesting, entertaining and educational.

Dickens had a keen interest in Australia and fortuitously began publishing the periodical at a transitional moment, just before the heady days of the 1850s gold rush set the world ablaze. The discovery of gold drove a period of mass immigration and expansion into the hinterlands, and caused radical economic and social changes in an emerging nation.

Of the nearly 3,000 articles published in Household Words, some 100 related to Australia and have been collected in this anthology. Dickens saw Australia as offering opportunities for England's poor and downtrodden to make a new start and a brighter future for themselves; this optimism is reflected in many of the articles.

The stories have been grouped into five volumes: Convict Stories, Immigration, Frontier Stories, Mining and Gold and Maritime Conditions.

The stories in this volume examine important questions faced by prospective immigrants: how to prepare, what to take to Australia, how to recognise a suitable vessel to sail on, and where to go for advice before embarking on this life-changing adventure.

Charles Dickens was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era.

Margaret Mendelawitz is a graduate in history and anthropology from the University of Western Australia. She currently works as a mediator.


  1. Land ho! – Port Jackson
  2. Letter of introduction to Sydney
  3. Two scenes in the life of John Bodger
  4. First stage to Australia
  5. Chip: what to take to Australia
  6. Home for homeless women
  7. A bundle of emigrants’ letters
  8. Chip: Family Colonisation Loan Society
  9. Chip: safety for female emigrants
  10. Chip: easy spelling and hard reading
  11. A rainy day on ‘The Euphrates’
  12. Better ties than red tape
  13. Chip: look before you leap
  14. Cheerily, cheerily!
  15. Canvass Town
  16. Chip: highland emigration
  17. Three colonial epochs
  18. Chip: official emigration
  19. John Chinaman in Australia
  20. Britannia’s figures
  21. Chip: climate of Australia
  22. Sultry December
  23. Four-legged Australians
  24. Milking in Australia
  25. Pictures of life in Australia
  26. Chip: hornet architecture
  27. Chip: fine arts in Australia

Contributors to Household Words

‘It is a genuinely fascinating piece of Australiana that has been edited and collated by Margaret Mendelawitz. Many pieces demonstrate Dickens’ enduring commitment to social change and moral uplift.’

Sydney Morning Herald, 2–3 July 2011


Format: paperback
Size: 210 × 148 × 21 mm
288 pages
11 b&w illustrations
Copyright: © 2011
ISBN: 9781920898687
Publication: 03 May 2011