Publication Details

Steel, F. (2015). The 'Missing link': Space, race and transoceanic ties in the settler-colonial Pacific. Transfers: interdisciplinary journal of mobility studies, 5 (3), 49-67.


The inauguration of a steamship route between Canada and Australia, described as the "missing link," was envisaged to complete Britain's imperial circuit of the globe. This article examines the early proposals and projects for a service between Vancouver and Sydney, which finally commenced in 1893. The route was more than a means of physically bridging the gulf between Canada and Australia. Serving as a conduit for ideologies and expectations, it became a key element of aspirations to reconfigure the Pacific as a natural domain for the extension of settler -colonial power and influence. In centering the "white" Pacific and relations between white colonies in empire, the route's early history, although one of friction and contestation, offers new insights into settler -colonial mobilities beyond dominant themes of metropole-colony migration.

Grant Number