Note: This object includes a derogatory human depiction and white superiority messaging. Such depictions are not condoned by Museums Victoria which considers them to be racist. Historical distance and context does not excuse or erase this fact.

Book entitled 'Comic Almanack Diary' illustrated by George Cruikshank and published by David Brouge, London in 1851. The book features an extremely evocative colour print, entitled: 'Probable Effects of Over Female Emigration or Importing the Fair Sex from the Savage Lands in Consequence of Exporting all our own to Australia!!!!!' which satirises English fears about the exodus of British women to Australia and thus leaving Britain vulnerable to female immigration from Pacific colonies. During the first half of the 1800s, it became apparent that decades of male British settlement in Australia had resulted in an extreme shortage of women, causing significant social unrest in the colony. Concerted efforts to address this imbalance included the offer of assisted passages for British women to settle in Australia, the popularity of which, in turn, resulted in a critical shortage of women in Britain.

This well-known satirical print, by the prolific British caricaturist and illustrator George Cruikshank, offers a 'solution' to the problem and a warning of its potential consequences. George Cruikshank (1792-1878) was praised as the 'modern Hogarth' during his life. His book illustrations for Charles Dickens - who was his friend - and many other authors reached an international audience.

The blatant racism exposed in this image, and also in the accompanying comic essay on Female Emigration, demonstrates the development of ideas about racial hierarchies popular during the nineteenth century. In Cruikshank's dockside scene, a group of women, an array of coarse stereotypical portraits from Pacific, Caribbean and African countries, have disembarked in England in response to the desperate call for female immigration. They are met with evident horror by the group of pale Englishmen gathered to greet them. Such crudely racist stereotypes were popularly represented in visual imagery of the time and continued well after the abolition of slavery. However, the English gentlemen are also drawn satirically, depicted as fops and dandies.

Physical Description

Small book with cream-coloured cover, 90 pages. The book cover title is printed in gold lettering. The book contains essays, advertisements, a diary, stories, poems and illustrations, including a four-folded, full-colour illustration fold-out from the rear of the front colour.

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