Free immigration to Tasmania 1803-1946

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Assisted immigration to Tasmania largely ceased in 1886, apart from relatives of previous assisted immigrants. In 1890 last three immigrants with government assistance arrived.

Immigrants were still wanted but there was insufficient funding.  People often also left to go to the mainland soon after they arrived, so the cost was not justified

In the late 19th century, the government focused on curbing immigration by coloured people.  Similar to other eastern Australian states,  Tasmania passed a Chinese Immigration Restriction Act in 1887.  This imposed a poll tax of £10 a head on each Chinese person entering the state.  In 1896 the Chinese Immigration Restriction Act extended to Afghans, Hindus and Syrians. In 1898 an Immigration Restriction Act effectively barred any person felt to be unsuitable from entering the states.  In 1901 the new federal government took control of the immigration of coloured people.  

During the early twentieth century British immigration was encouraged but Tasmania was losing population to other states, due to:

  • higher wages
  • better land settlement prospects and
  • higher funding to encourage migrants to the mainland states.

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