Academic journal article Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society

Caroline Chisholm: An Irresistible Force

Academic journal article Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society

Caroline Chisholm: An Irresistible Force

Article excerpt

Caroline Chisholm: An irresistible force

Author: Sarah Goldman

Publisher: HarperCollins, 2018

ISBN: 978146075343 9

Hardback: 344 pages

Price: $49.99

There is quite a lot written about Caroline Chisholm, "the emigrant's friend". This book is the most in depth that I've read and by the incredible detail that the author's research has unearthed she has been able to flesh out the person that Caroline Chisholm was. It is also the first account that I have read, of several, which has acknowledged that her husband, Archibald Chisholm, played an essential part in enabling Caroline to fulfill her ambition.

For those who don't know her story: She was born in England into an Anglican family of the rural middle class. After she married Archie she converted to Catholicism. However her character was not typical of women in that position--she told Archie that she would not marry him unless he gave her the freedom to live a public life and she gave him time to think that over. Married women were totally dependent on their husbands in many ways including financially. Archie agreed.

She also went alone to meet important men in the government, church and business to make requests to enable her work to proceed, unheard of in those days.

Caroline arrived in Sydney in 1838, only fifty years after the First Fleet, when it was still a rough place. When she heard that poor single women hoping for a better life in Australia were enticed to travel there only to find themselves badly treated, even raped, on board the sailing ships and on arrival in Sydney, she determined to do something about it. …

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