Henry Casolani (1869-1940)

Mr Casolani was Superintendent of Emigration, in charge of the Department of Emigration until he retired in 1930. During his period in office, more than 30,000 prospective migrants applied and were interviewed by Mr Casolani.

In 1921 we find him in France discussing the possibility of sending Maltese workers to those zones devastated by the First World War - this resulted in 624 workers being sent to France to work under the same conditions as the French.

Apart from his enormous energy in his position, he is probably best known for his capacity to convince the authorities, including the imperial authorities in the UK, of the need for establishing organised migration from Malta, particularly to places like Australia.

He made enormous efforts to convince the authorities in the UK, including the various Australian States representatives that Maltese would make good migrants in Australia. He wrote endlessly about the suitability of Maltese migrants. He himself has noted: "I have succeeded in creating a favourable image of our migrant".

He was always harping on the need for the preparation of migrants for their new destination. This involved not only the necessity to learn English, but "must also be prepared by being introduced to the laws, customs, history and geography of the country the intend to live in". In particular he encouraged technical education, evening classes for all adults and special courses on skills which were in demand.

He has written profusely, including: Report on Emigration and Unemployment (1926), The Question of Maltese Migration to Australia (1927), Awake Malta or the hard lesson of migration (1930).

[For further information see: Profiles in Maltese Migration by Fr Lawrence E. Attard, 2003, PEG, Malta]

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