Labour History

The ‘Workingman’s Paradise’, White Supremacy and Utopianism: The New Australia Movement and Working-Class Racism

Labour History (2011), 101, (1), 91–104.


When a group of 220 Australian colonists set sail for Paraguay in 1893 to found New Australia, they took with them many of the idiomatic beliefs associated with the late nineteenth century Australian working class, including an ideological belief in the racial superiority of ‘Teutonic Australian bushman’. The radically unfamiliar environment of Paraguay, however, caused many of the colonists to confront the racist ideological underpinnings of the New Australia movement. The importance of race in shaping the colonists’ experiences of Paraguay and the Paraguayan population has often been overlooked in what is otherwise a well-studied episode in the history of utopian socialism. By carefully examining the role that racial ideology played in defining the New Australia movement, it is possible to reassess in a new light the tensions that ultimately led to the failure of the utopian ideal.

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Author details

Mawson, Stephanie