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P&O Line knife

Dimensions:
Overall: 213 x 20 mm, 50 g
Medium: Metal
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Knife
Object No: 00009291

User Terms

    Description
    This silver knife was used by passengers on board P&O ships during their voyages to Australia.
    SignificanceUsed aboard P&O ships, this knife represents the experiences of thousands of child migrants on board passenger ship during the sea voyage to Australia as part of various church and philanthropic schemes to develop rural areas with young labour. These schemes reflected Australia's broader immigration policies in the early 20th century, namely the government's desire to bolster the population with 'good British stock' and the building of a White Australia.
    HistoryFrom the 1860s, more than 100,000 children were sent from Britain to Canada, Australia and other Commonwealth countries through child migration schemes. They were sent by charitable and religious organisations, with government support, in the belief that their lives would improve, and that they would provide much-needed labour and increase the population.

    Few were orphans; many came from families who were unable to care for them. The lives of these children changed dramatically and fortunes varied. Some succeeded in creating new futures. Others suffered lonely, brutal childhoods. All experienced disruption and separation from family and homeland. Child migration schemes received criticism from the outset, yet continued until the 1960s.

    In 1869 the first party of child migrants boarded the Allan Line steamship HIBERNAIAN. The Liverpool shipping company would carry almost half of Canada's child migrants on its ships. At the height of the emigration trade, the Liverpool to Canada route was also serviced by the Cunard and White Star Lines. From Glasgow, the Anchor Line carried many of the children. Until the early 1960s most child migrants to Australia travelled by sea, sailing on vessels of the Aberdeen, Orient and Sitmar Lines. Names such as STRATHNAVER, ORMONDE, ORONSAY and FAIRSKY still evoke powerful memories for many former child migrants.

    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: P&O knife with embossed handle

    Web title: P&O Line knife

    Related People
    Maker: P&O

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