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14 Pages

The Australian Expatriates: Gilbert and Hubert Murray

The expatriate, the man or the woman who leaves his or her own society to live in one better preferred, is a common enough figure. Any number of Englishmen or Americans have made their home in France or Italy. The islands of the South Pacific, especially Tahiti, have a well-known expatriate literature. In Australia the use of the word ‘home’ to describe Britain indicates a sense of separation from patrial society. That sense of separation, however, is characteristic of the exile involuntarily separated from home, rather than of the expatriate who voluntarily separates him or herself from patrial society. The expatriate may have regrets that separation is necessary, but the separation itself is still a choice made for a variety of reasons. Often these reasons can be summed up in Sir Keith Hancock’s phrase ‘country and calling’: the tension between professional or career interests which can only be successfully pursued in a society other than one’s own, and the links of childhood, custom and kinship with one’s own. Nevertheless, the reasons for expatriatism are more complex than ‘country and calling’. How much more complex can be seen by taking particular examples. Two are the topic of this essay.