Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dalmations in NZ

Everybody has a subject which, despite their best efforts, always confuses them. For me, unfortunately, its understanding the Balkans and the people that inhabit them. The confusion for me is who are Croatians, Dalmatians and Serbs etc, and how Yugoslavia fits into them or they fit into it.

Andrew D Trlin wasn't a bit confused when he wrote the book 'Now Respected, Once Despised'. I spotted this on the shelves today. Published in 1979, it can be forgiven for looking very care-worn and well-thumbed.

In the introduction, Andrew explains the unfortunate and superficial view of Yugoslavians brought about by early accounts of their character and behaviour by Lochore (1951) and Wilson (1966) when Wilson was writing for the Encyclopedia of New Zealand.

He shoots holes in previous suppositions, talks about the location of Dalmations in New Zealand, what occupied them and their social conditions.

In the back is a list of family names of the pioneers and Dalmation settlers.

He explains about conditions in the home country which was a province of Austria at the time and the sources of ill-feelings.

It's not a light read but obviously needed to be written.

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