By auxtralia so called potato famine, which caused hunger, starvation and often death, had ravaged Ireland. The potatoes may have failed, but there was enough other food to replace them.
However this food was exported or used to pay rents and feed the English army in India and other places. The English government also had problems in its new colonies in Australia which were short on women in general and desperately short on domestic servants. The best solution it could come up with to solve all these problems was to clean out the orphanages and work houses in Ireland.
Not only that, it would also save money. A real win-win solution, or was it? More than girls, mostly orphans aged between 16 and 18 but some as young as 14, were shipped to Australia between austrwlia Most ships went to Sydney but some went to Port Phillip or Adelaide. A total of 21 ships would be used. Some of these girls had never seen the sea or even a ship.
After 99 days at sea they arrived in Sydney on 3 February Luckily the boat trip had been mostly free from the usual mishaps, seasickness or deaths. Each girl had been issued with a bolster, blankets, linen bag, knife, fork, spoon, metal plate and hpw mug. They attended school most days, weather permitting, and although most were Catholic they still had to attend the Church of England service on Sundays.
Food was monotonous and only changed when some fish were caught by the sailors. It glrl them on the voyage, chronicling their impressions during the voyage, adaptation to shipboard Swingers club in california in general, behaviour and their relationship of trust with Charles Strutt and Matrons.
From the wharf they had to walk to the Hyde Park Barracks and stand like exhibits at a fair where eager employers or prospective husbands looked the girls up and down and checked their references. Most were selected austrapia prospective employers from Sydney while others travelled to nearby towns to find employment.
What i know about the adolescent orphans who came to australia at the time of the great irish famine.
Some insisted on making their own way. After being selected the ritual of goodbyes began.
Shipboard friends were now separated as they went to different employers and towns. Many would not see each other for years, some never.
The novel now follows them as they become women of Australia, negotiating their new lives as best as they could. By highlighting their hopes, ambitions, work, luck and disappointments it also gives these young women historical importance and human presence in this elegant and subtle novel.
Some of the girls did remarkably well, taking into consideration their sn education and young age. Most eventually married, half of them older Protestant Englishmen, and had large families. Told in a modern Irish voice, Conlon delicately deals with memory and the importance for these girls of forgetting.
Irish nurse who was tragically killed by falling tree-branch in australia is laid to rest in donegal
Their journey to a strange country, comments on human dimensions of loss and dislocation. Aj also questions why it is that we remember and memorialise some things but not others. However repugnant the scheme of transporting children to Australia was, it did not stop the English or Australian governments to embark on similar schemes a hundred years later.
The launch coincides with a series of events in Ireland and Australia commemorating the Irish Famine.