• 520
  • Literature:
  • Collectibles
  • Medium:
  • Ephemera, Cards & Documents
  • Circa:
  • Paper Items, General
  • Notes:
  • In 1828, forty years after the Colony of New South Wales was established it conducted its first full population census. Critical information such as the number of male and female inhabitants, the circumstances of their arrival either as a convict or free settler, their original birthplace, occupation, stated religion as well as their place of residence gave a glimpse of how the make-up of Australia had grown from its roots as a penal colony. Further censuses of the Colonial era were conducted regularly in 1833, 1836, 1841, 1846, 1851, 1856, and 1861 showing the nation’s steady progress. The Census of the 2nd March 1846 published as a supplement to the Government Gazette in November of that year revealed that the overall population of New South Wales had grown from 130,856 persons in 1841 to 189,609 in 1846, and with males still making up over sixty percent. Victoria wasn’t declared a State until 1851 and so there are separate tabulations for the 32,879 citizens of the Port Philip District including the ‘Town of Melbourne,’ as well as an additional count of the 2,196 crew of ‘Colonial Vessels in Harbour or at Sea.’ The Christian religions were certainly predominant accounting for all but 1,726 of the population with just 1086 ‘Jews’, 162 ‘Mahomedans & Pagans’ and 478 of ‘other persuasions’ constituting the balance. It is difficult to compare education standards against the backdrop of other nations, but the census reveals that a respectable sixty-three percent in the Colony could at least read while forty-seven percent could also put pen to paper. And with just 343 medical professionals spread across the entire eastern seaboard, old age was certainly no given with only 942 inhabitants or 0.5% of the population having reached the hearty age of sixty years or over. Australia is often touted as the best example of multiculturalism in the modern world which is a far cry from 1846 when it welcomed just 1,507 people who were born outside the British Empire. It was of course far more ‘welcoming’ to the British criminal classes, and not surprisingly in a nation established as a penal colony and not yet sixty years old, 37,862 of its citizens were of convict stock. In our March 9th Sale Smalls Auctions offers an original copy of an abstract of the New South Wales 1846 Census as published under the direction of Governor Fitzroy which offers fascinating insights into the fabric of Colonial Australia.

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March 12, 2023 12:00 PM AEDT
Sydney, Australia

Smalls Auctions

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