Caroline Chislom

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Caroline Chislom

Caroline ChisholmBorn: 30 May 1808Death: 25 March 1877

WAYS IN WHICH THE AUSTRALIAN NATION HAS REMEMBERED CAROLINE CHISHOLM• Her portrait appeared on the old $5.00 note;• A suburb of Canberra bears her name;• A Federal electorate bears her name;• La Trobe University, Melbourne has a College, Chisholm College, named after her;• A memorial seat in Kyneton, a natural rock monument at Woodend.• An inscription on a memorial stone at Essendon commemorates Caroline Chisholm’s initiative in organising the building of shelter sheds along the route to the goldfields;• A memorial plaque in Burston Reserve (opposite St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne) commemorates the centenary of her death.• Amalgamated secondary colleges in Sunshine and St Albans (Melbourne), Caroline Chisholm Secondary Colleges, named after her.

Return to EnglandWhen her husband Archibald returned in 1845, he found that Caroline was well-known throughout New South Wales. In route to England in 1846, the fourth Chisholm Son was born under very difficult circumstances. Both mother and baby were ill, and the baby survived on goat’s milk. This hardship made Caroline think of the plight of poor immigrant women in the overcrowded, dirty ships bringing them to Australia, and inspired her to do something to alleviate their hardship.On arrival in England, she obtained passages for the stranded families of some ex-convicts and traced the children left behind by bounty migrants. The re-unification of families was very dear to Caroline Chisholm’s heart, and she was responsible for bringing many families together again after years of separation. The first children to be reunited with their families arrived in Melbourne on the “Sir Edward Parry” in 1848.

Caroline Chisholm (1808-1877), philanthropist, was born near Northampton, England, daughter of William Jones, a well-to-do farmer. Reared in the tradition of Evangelical philanthropy, at 22 she agreed to marry Captain Archibald Chisholm of the East India Co., but on condition that her philanthropic work should continue. He was thirteen years her senior and a Roman Catholic, which may have influenced her conversion to Catholicism about this time. Chisholm was posted in 1832 to Madras where Caroline founded the Female School of Industry for the Daughters of European Soldiers.The Chisholms decided to spend leave in Australia and arrived in Sydney in the Emerald Isle in September 1838; they settled at Windsor, where Caroline remained with her three sons when Chisholm was recalled to active service in 1840. Although New South Wales was then passing into depression, rural labour was needed, but the government had no plans for dispersing the throngs of assisted immigrants who remained in Sydney without employment. Mrs Chisholm met every immigrant ship and became a familiar figure on the wharves. She found positions for immigrant girls and sheltered many of them in her home. In January 1841 she approached Governor and Lady Gipps and the proprietors of the Sydney Herald with a plan for a girls' home.

ARRIVAL IN AUSTRALIAOn reaching Australia in September 1838, the Chisholm’s found a very class-conscious society in the process of change. The convict era was nearing its end in New South Wales, and a period of prosperity was giving way to the depression of the “hungry forties!” Boatloads of immigrants were arriving in the colony and had to fend for themselves. Single men fared best, whilst married men with families to be fed were at a strong disadvantage. Most unfortunate were the single girls - no concern was shown for their welfare physical, material or moral.Mrs Chisholm was now living at Windsor, and her third son Henry had been born in 1839. In 1840, Archibald had to return to his regiment, and Caroline decided to remain in Australia.

Carline Chislom INFO

HER SIGNIFICANTSObserving that something had to be done to assist the young girls who were starving, unemployed and ready prey for the unscrupulous, Caroline Chisholm embarked upon a work for which she was eventually to become famous.Grudgingly, the Governor allowed her to use a rat infested old barracks to house these girls. She called it a “Home” which was also a Registry Office and temporary shelter for girls. It was here that she could give motherly protection to the girls whilst arranging employment and suitable homes for them to go to. (It is this work at the “Home” that was portrayed on old the $5.00 note.) Employment was available in the country areas, and Caroline Chisholm personally arranged employment and accompanied the girls to their new-found positions, travelling with them by bullock-dray to distant settlements. Many of these girls married and settled in the country areas.During the years 1841-1844 Caroline Chisholm’s work assisted the amazing total of 14,000 people. Over 11,000 of these were new comers, the rest being “old hands” in the colony.

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