Story: History of immigration

‘The farmer his own labourer’

‘The farmer his own labourer’

In the early 1870s English rural labourers, faced with declining wages, organised themselves into a union in the so-called ‘Revolt of the Field’. When they went on strike or were locked out, farmers were forced to take to the fields themselves – as in this etching at the height of the revolt in 1874. The unions encouraged their members to go to New Zealand. Hence the original caption to this image ran: ’The master is doing his own work, his wife is bringing him his dinner, and the man who once did his ploughing and reaping looks idly on, being bound for the Land of Promise.’

Using this item

Private collection, Jock Phillips

This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Jock Phillips, 'History of immigration - The great migration: 1871 to 1885', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/artwork/2118/the-farmer-his-own-labourer (accessed 8 July 2020)

Story by Jock Phillips, published 8 Feb 2005, updated 1 Aug 2015