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A Land of Milk and Honey and English Lessons

Video clip synopsis – Australia needs new migrants to populate the country and build a more prosperous nation. English lessons are available everywhere, including through correspondence and radio courses.
Year of production - 1951
Duration - 1min 54sec
Tags - assimilation, Australian History, immigration, language, multiculturalism, see all tags


A Land of Milk and Honey and English Lessons

How to Download the Video Clip

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download clip icon Premium MP4 migrantslearn_pr.mp4 (14.0MB).

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About the Video Clip


A Land of Milk and Honey and English Lessons is an excerpt from the film Migrants Learn to Be Australian Citizens (3 mins), a segment from the series Australian Diary, produced in 1951.

Migrants Learn to Be Australian Citizens: A short film designed to tell Australians how new migrants are adapting to life in Australia, with a particular emphasis on English language education and the importance of migrant labour to the ongoing development of the nation.

Australian Diary: Filmed between 1947 and 1970, the Australian Diary series records how Australians have lived, worked and played over the years. Each of these short black-and-white films provides a snapshot of Australian life at the time, from rural areas and small towns to capital cities. Informative, entertaining and often amusing, the subjects range from serious to quirky and cover everything from innovations in agriculture, industry and science to sport, art, education, fashion, flora and fauna. There are a total of 136 diaries with 440 individual stories, providing a picture of a proud, diverse, idiosyncratic and constantly changing nation.

Australian Diary is a National Film Board Production. Produced by the Department of the Interior.

Curriculum Focus


Students examine the development of multiculturalism in Australia and explore ways in which government policies, including immigration, have changed over time.

Students discuss changes in Australian citizenship and examine reasons why people become Australian citizens.

Students evaluate ways in which individuals, groups and governments use the media and ICT to shape opinion and manage controversy.

Background Information


After World War 2 the Australian Government brought a number of Europeans displaced by the war, knowns as DPs (Displaced Persons) to Australia. This was followed by a massive migration scheme which brought more southern, eastern and western Europeans to Australia. Most of the European migrants could not speak English.

This influx of migrants was almost a social revolution in Australia, as most previous mass migration had been focused on British people. This migration would have a major impact on the migrants’ lives, but also on Australia. Australian cultural life changed dramatically over time.

These 'new Australians’ rose to the challenge of starting life again in a new land. They raised their families here. Their children are first generation Australian Europeans with mixed cultural values.

Classroom Activities


1. Students analyse the video clip for evidence that being a citizen in any country is a complex matter with a range of tensions. Explore these tensions. Students to locate other sources which explore this topic.

2.Explore the video clip for evidence of the producers having a particular view about citizenship. Consider the use of music, the time and setting of the video clip, the intended audience and the purpose of the video clip.

3. What are the current legal requirements for legal migration to Australia? What appears to be the values and beliefs underpinning the range of these legal requirements? Using the video clip and the Australian government website investigate the current requirements to become an Australian citizen. Is the ability to speak English a requirement?

4. Investigate the requirements to become an Australian citizen at the time of Federation in 1901. How would you explain the changes in requirements over the past 100 years ? In your investigation examine the meaning and role of assimilation and multiculturalism throughout the period. How are these two policies portrayed in the video clip?

5. Recently the Australian government has been arguing for changes to the requirements to be granted citizenship in Australia. Conduct a media and web search for evidence of the debate generated by the proposed changes. What are the arguments for and against the changes? What is your opinion?

Further Resources


Go to: Immigration Museum
Go toCitizenship