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Transcript of Caroline Chisholm
Caroline Jones was born in 1808, England, Northampton. Jones was kind natured as a child. This can be attributed to her Christianity and belief that god was calling out to her, to dedicate her life to people in need. Later in 1832 when she was 22, she married a lieutenant of the East India company army; a man called Archibald Chisholm, thus resulting in the adoption of his last name, Chisholm. In 1834 Caroline established the Female School of Industry for the Daughters of European Soldiers. This institution provided a practical education for girl soldiers, this means they were educated in reading, writing, cooking, manners etc. Later in 1838 Archibald became ill and was appointed a 2 year sick leave. The Chisholm's decided spend that time in Australia rather than England, because they believed the climate would be better for his health. So in October 1838, the Chisholm's set out for Australia.
Note: This painting was made by Fairland Thomas.. He painted it in September 1st 1852 when Chisholm was 44 years old. Angelo Collen Hayter also helped in the creation of this painting.
'The emigrants' friend'
A free settler of Australia
Here is a ticket from Caroline's scrapbook. This was a baggage ticket provided by the Family Colonization Society. This particular ship ,the "Nepaul", was used to transport emigrants to Australia under the authority of the Family Colonization Society
Arrival in Australia
The Chisholm's arrived at Sydney and then got settled in at Windsor. However, when Caroline first arrived she was dismayed at the state of the young women. She found that many of the girls in those times had to resort to prostitution in order to survive. Even so, she found many of them were still homeless and starving, thus prompting her decision to assist these young girls in any way she could.
The beginning Chisholm's work
Chisholm housed the people she could. But, she knew that she would need help in order to house and feed these poor young women. Luckily she had a family made up of 2 young boys and a lieutenant to help her cause. Chisholm needed more support however, so she asked Governor Gipps, owner of the Sydney Herald, to help her cause. The governor agreed, then proceeded to give her a rat infested old army barrack. The accomodations were attrocious and probably would've left most people unsatisfied; but... Chisholm wasn't most people. She glady took the old army barrack and made it home. This army barrack was used to provide food, money and housing for poor young women in need. A noble goal by all means. Then, in 1842, Chisholm proposed the use of 'shelter sheds' in order to expand her influence and provide more help to those in need. Ultimately, thanks to her work, she helped over 14,000 people during 1841-1844. Of those, 11,000 were newcomers to Australia.
Here is page from Caroline Chisholm's scrapbook. Above we have a poster advertising one of Caroline's shelter sheds. As you can see it costs 1 shilling for a nights stay for an adult and 6 pence for a child to stay the night. IN the 1850's 1 shilling would equal roughly 7 Australian dollars and 50 cents 6 pence on the other hand would equal about 4 dollars 60 cents in Australian currency.
The return to England
Archibald had actually returned to his regiment in 1840. Leaving Caroline and their 3 kids in Australia. In 1845 he retired for the army however, and returned to Australia. Chisholm was now more focused on improving the colonies of Australia as a whole. In order to do this, she needed to encourage people to come to Australia. With more people Australia could build houses, towns and grow as a nation. So, with this goal in mind, Archibald and Caroline collected over 600 statements from immigrants about their lives in Australia. Then, in 1846 the Chisholm's left for England. Whilst on the ship Caroline had her 4th child; however, the conditions on the boat caused her and the baby to get sick, with the baby only barely surviving by drinking goats milk. This experience inspired her to assist the poor immigrant women that were being transported to Australia.
Here is another page from Caroline's scrapbook. Here we can see her efforts to inform and discuss ways to help female emigrants departing for Australia. In this case, a poster inviting people to give ideas and takes on how to improve female emigration.
Caroline's endeavors in England
When Chisholm first arrived in England, she obtained passages for families so that they could reunite with loved ones that had been transported to Australia and vice versa. She was responsible for bringing many families together after years of separation. Chisholm then saw that many people in England had resorted to thievery as they thought there were no longer any good opportunities for work. She then got a small group of wealthy merchants together and founded the Family Colonization Society. This society would be able to entirely pay for individuals and small families to move to Australia. All of this, while making sure the ships were stocked with good food and were hygienic. The society saw a boom in 1851 when a writer by the name of Charles Dickens started to promote their work. Also in 1851, talk of the 'gold rush' in Australia lead to even more emigrants. However, Chisholm feared that the gold rush's theme of 'money for nothing' would undermine many of the qualities Australia needed. Nevertheless Archibald was dispatched to Australia so the pair could coordinate the scheme on both the emigration and immigration fronts.
Caroline's last days
Caroline sailed back to Australia in 1854. The Victorian legislative council then proceeded to give the Chisholm family 7,500 pounds for their efforts. She reluctantly aceepted then used some of this money to set up a small shop. She used the rest to set up shelter sheds along the Victorian goldfields. Chisholm then decided to take her two daughters back to England. When she got back though, she became very ill and couldn't return to Australia. Her last years were spent confined to a bed due to heart trouble. Then, on 25th March, 1877, Caroline died on her hospital bed at the age of 68. Archibold then died next August, and the two were buried side by side in the Northampton cemetary. On the headstone of their graves, read "The emigrant's friend".
Truly today, we have learned a story of human triumph. Caroline Chisholm, a poor philanthropist, managed to help thousands of Australian colonists, immigrants and emigrants. All through sheer force of her will alone. Even so, there are many more lessons to take home today. You don't need to be rich in order to make a change, determination is a powerful tool, philanthropy will be rewarded and so on. But we'll let you think on those lessons, for now, this exhibit is over. Thank you for listening and we hope you have a pleasant stay.
Sources used in the Creation of this exhibit