Aerogramme letter written on 29 October 1961 by George and Grace Willsher, members of the Burke Road East Malvern Methodist Church, to Mr & Mrs. J. W. Ward, of 100 The Greenway, Thorntree, Middlesbrough, Yorkshire, England. This letter was written about eight days before the Wards embarked on their voyage to Australia and it was redirected to another Yorkshire address (not identified) as the family had left Yorkshire by then for the south of England. The Willshers introduced themselves and described Melbourne's temperate climate, counselling to bring warm clothes as well, as it is cold in winter. This is one of a number of letters to the Ward family regarding their planned emigation to Australia from members of Burke Road East Malvern Methodist Church prior to their embarkation or arrival.

Part of a large collection of material relating to the migration and settlement of British migrants to Australia in the 1960s under the 'Bring Out a Briton' Scheme. It documents in particular both the migration experiences of James and Mary Ward and their three children who arrived in Melbourne on the 'TSS Stratheden' from Yorkshire in December 1961; and the Burke Road East Malvern Methodist Church's sponsorship of a number of English families, including the Wards, under the Scheme. The Church's support included temporary accommodation for assisted families in a neighbouring house. The 'Bring Out a Briton' Scheme (1957-1982) was part of a Commonwealth Government initiative which offered subsidised ship fares, accommodation and support to encourage migration from the UK to Australia after World War II.

Physical Description

Single sheet of blue aerogramme paper, double-folded to provide a sealable letter with printed proforma envelope face with red and blue chevron border and a 10d Australian aerogramme stamp insignia,with postmark. Addressee's and sender's name and address panel on reverse. Letter handwritten in blue ink continuously over both sides as two pages. Addresses also handwritten in blue ink.


The Ward/Barlow Families collection is of national significance in documenting British assisted migration to Australia post-World War II. The collection provides a comprehensive snapshot from the commencement to completion of a British assisted migration experience and illuminates post-war immigration policies and procedures which favoured British immigration into Australia.

The collection of almost 400 items comprises a unique body of documentation with intersections between personal, community and government narratives that explore British post-World War II assisted migration. It includes photographs, personal correspondence, documents and objects offering a rare glimpse into the role of the Australian and British governments, Methodists Church sponsorship and community engagement in assisting and welcoming British immigrants to Australia. Assisted British migration was a constant theme of Australian immigration history until the early 1980s. Government initiatives such as the 'Bring Out A Briton' scheme had an enormous impact on the composition and size of the Australian population, making the Ward/Barlow collection of broad social and political historical significance.

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