Scottish settlement and identity in Western Australia: arrivals 1829-1850

Document Type

Journal Article


School of Classics, History and Religion, University of New England


Faculty of Education and Arts


School of Communications and Arts/ Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts,Technology, Education and Communications




Beaton, L. (2002). Scottish settlement and identity in Western Australia: arrivals 1829-1850. Journal of Australian Colonial History, 4(2), 51.


Before the end of 1850, Scottish settlers in Western Australia represented a small minority in what was, in terms of the European population, a predominantly English colony. Between 1829 to the end of 1850, close to two hundred Scottish people arrived in Western Australia, as compared with over two thousand English migrants. Even in contrast to the eastern colonies, Western Australia attracted the least number of Scottish migrants. In 1851 Scots accounted for 5.8% of the population of New South Wales and 10.41% of Victoria's population, compared with around 3% in Western Australia. However, the small numbers of Scots settling in Western Australia provide an opportunity to understand Scottish settlement through a close, socio-biographical study of Scottish lives. Indeed, investigation into the lives of Scots in Western Australia not only reveals the nature of Scottish settlement in the colony but also the ways in which the Scots sought to maintain their Scottishness in a largely English colony. What follows is an exploration of Scottish identity in Western Australia, illustrated through particular Scottish lives that exemplify the expression of Scottishness. By its very nature, Scottish settlement in Western Australia before 1851 is open to an investigation of identity as revealed through individual lives. The small numbers of Scots arriving provides an opportunity to understand migrant