Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu


Dr Bill Jones 


The ‘Welsh Church’: Religion, Society and the Welsh in Melbourne c1840-2003

The Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Church, Melbourne, Australia, was established in 1853 and will be celebrating its 160th anniversary in 2013. To mark this anniversary the church elders have commissioned me to write a full length scholarly history of the church during its first 150 years. The Welsh church in Melbourne possesses one of the very best archives of a Welsh migrant community in the world, and contains records of local Welsh societies as well as religious organisations.

The production of a full-length history of the first 150 years of the church’s history, to be published in 2013. Research for this book will in time feed into my planned major study of nineteenth-century Welsh transnational cultural and religious identities.

Funding: Welsh Church, LaTrobe Street, Melbourne Australia. £18000

Duration: 2011-2013

Beyond Wales: The Welsh Overseas 1600 to the present

For centuries, people have left Wales to settle outside its borders. Migration beyond Offa’s Dyke to England and emigration overseas to North America, Australia, New Zealand, Patagonia and South Africa, as well as a number of other destinations is a significant theme in the history of Wales.

Over the centuries, the most popular overseas destination for the Welsh has been North America and especially what became the USA. The settlement of Welsh religious dissenters in the British North American colonies between c.1660 and c.1720 established the world's first overseas Welsh communities. Between about 1790 and 1930 an almost constant stream of people made that country their home before the world-wide depression of the 1930s brought the era of mass emigration from Wales to a close.

By 1900 more Welsh were emigrating to the various ‘white dominions’ of the British Empire -- Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa -- than to the USA. According to censuses, at the beginning of the twentieth century about 100,000 people who had been born in Wales (excluding Monmouthshire) were living in the USA, 13,500 in Canada and 13,000 in Australia. In 1901, 265,000 of England's inhabitants had been born in Wales, including 60,000 in the Midlands, and 87,000 in Lancashire and Cheshire.

This monograph will provide a broad treatment of the Welsh overseas. Existing book length studies of this phenomenon focus solely on one particular country of destination and do not treat the Welsh diaspora as a whole. This study will include the history of Welsh migration to, and settlement in, England and will thus integrate the study of internal migration within Britain with that of Welsh emigration overseas. It will both include out-migration during the early modern period and bring the story right up to the present time.

Research Groups

Cardiff Centre for Welsh American Studies. The Cardiff Centre for Welsh American Studies was established in 2001 in order to promote the study of the culture, language, literature and history of the Welsh in the Americas, and in the United States, Canada and Patagonia in particular.

By organising seminars, lectures, conferences, through publications and by encouraging scholarly collaboration and discussion, it aims to provide a focal point for an international network of scholars who have an interest in this rapidly growing field of study.

The Centre organises an annual conference (in which most papers are delivered in Welsh with simultaneous translation facilities into English) and an annual lecture (in English).

Based in the School of Welsh in collaboration with the School of History and Archaeology, the Centre’s Co-Directors are Dr E. Wyn James (Reader, WELSH) and Dr Bill Jones (Reader, SHARE)