04 June 2008

Website helps track Australia's immigration past

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An online tool will help British and Australians track the migration of their ancestors. The website has the details of the millions of people who emigrated from the UK to Australia in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The details of the immigrants, who went to Australia in the hope of a better life, were released yesterday as part of a social history collection. According to the website Ancestry.com, around 16 million British people have a relative who immigrated to Australia, meaning each British person has a one in four chance of being a descendent from an Australian settler.

Simon Harper, the website's Managing Director, said: "It should be remembered that free settlers were brave and ambitious, making the choice to leave their homes and travel by ship for many months to the other side of the world for the chance of a new life." The Times reports that areas of New South Wales and South Australia were particularly popular with settlers in the 1870s. Recent figures from the Office of National Statistics in the UK found 83,000 Britons have immigrated to Australia over the past decade.

Australia needs skilled workers: Anyone applying for an Australian visa should begin by completing the Australian Visa Bureau's online Australian visa application to see if they meet the Australian visa requirements.

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