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Ship departure port
The Highland and Island Emigration Society was a voluntary organisation set up in 1852 by private subscription to assist with individuals leaving western Scotland for Australia. The aim of the Society was to help to alleviate destitution in the Highlands.
Australia was chosen as the destination for the emigrants as it was felt that the Highlanders' experience as land workers was more suited to the Australian colonies.
There were specific criteria for assistance with emigration, this was set out in the Societies ‘Rules of the Society’, and preference was given to assisting entire families over single men, couples and small families. Landlords were also expected to contribute towards the payment paid by the Society for the emigrants' passage to Australia. The emigrants were then subsequently required to repay the Society the funds they had been granted so the sum could be re-invested to help further emigrants travel to Australia.
The pressure for emigration to Australia was eased by improved economic conditions in Scotland after 1854 and a decrease in the demand for labour in Australia.
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