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A book by John MacGibbon which traces the hopes, fears and fortunes
of early Scottish migrants to New Zealand's Deep South.

"What is it you’re sayin’, man? Are ye askin’ me to live amang savages
on the other side of the warld? Where was it ye said?"

ISBN: 0-9582243-3-1


Examples of text and illustrations from different sections of the book:
The voyage


Diary of Mrs Purdie, wife of the surgeon on board the ship Mooltan.

John McLay's reminiscence of his voyage to Port Chalmers on the Mooltan as a 10 year old.

Lists of emigrant ship arrivals for the Otago Settlement, 1848-1851

Read other comments about the book

About the author

=> Place an order for Going Abroad



  IN THE MIDDLE of last century, "Going Abroad" could be the 'nice' way of saying you were emigrating from Scotland. It's also the title of a book which takes a fresh look at the Pilgrim Fathers of the 19th century – those determined men and and their wives from the breakaway Free Church of Scotland who sailed to a new life in the furthest outpost of the British Empire: New Zealand.

258 pages, 136 illustrations, 99 photos, 10 maps, bibliography and full

"It is a commonplace to say that if we want to know where we are, then knowing where we have been is crucial, but it is also a commonplace worth reasserting from time to time, and this book reasserts it with considerable skill. If you want to know what brought your ancestors here...this is the one...a fascinating and detailed picture." Historian Tony Simpson, in New Zealand Books.

"John MacGibbon shows other family historians how it should be done in this excellent publication. What makes the work stand out is his concerted attempt to place the story of one family in its broader context. MacGibbon goes to considerable pains to sketch in the Scottish/Glaswegian background to emigration and then pays the same attention to the history of early Otago/Southland.
   This intriguing tale of social mobility is supplemented by many well chosen illustrations, including photographs, maps, lithographs, cartoons and drawings which amplify the text and deepen the sense of context. Obituaries, advertisements and posters add to the feel and texture of the period under discussion. Overall, the thoroughly professional design of the book greatly enhances its appeal."
(Tom Brooking, Associate Professor of History, University of Otago, in the Electronic Journal of Australian and New Zealand History)

"This is not a book I expected to interest me greatly - I'm Irish after all, not Scots, but I was wrong...full of interest, information and humour...great fun, great read, absolutely fascinating...I thoroughly recommend this book." (Brian Edwards, Top 'o the Morning programme, New Zealand National Radio.)


THE AUTHOR'S great-great grandfather, also named John MacGibbon, took his family to the ‘Ends of the Earth’ in 1849. Going Abroad looks at why they did it, how they did it and how they managed in the new country – first in Dunedin and then further south in Mataura and Gore. John MacGibbon was typical of the small-capitalist, Free Church of Scotland class which was a key target of the emigration scheme promoters. John and his family are central to the story, though they are by no means the only characters in in the book. Going Abroad describes the emigration and early colonial experience of all classes of the Scots who migrated to New Zealand’s deep south.

An important aim was to recreate the flavour of life in the mid 19th century Scottish lowlands, and the emigration and colonial experience. But Going Abroad also contains a great deal of carefully researched detail. The first section, set in Glasgow, is written as semi-fiction, while the balance of the book is historical journalism.

The voyage section gives considerable general detail about the nature of early emigrant ship voyages down under to New Zealand and Australia. An in-depth look at the 1849 voyage of the ship Mooltan includes several first-hand accounts, including the substantial diary kept by Francis Pillans.






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