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Caroline Chisholm (1808–1877)

from Maitland Mercury

Caroline Chisholm, published by Rogerson and Tuxford, 1853

Caroline Chisholm, published by Rogerson and Tuxford, 1853

National Library of Australia, 9267592

Our London telegram of yesterday, says the Herald of Tuesday, announces the death of Mrs. Caroline Chisholm. Many colonists will remember this lady as having taken an active part in assisting persons who came here as immigrants. From Men of the Time, which contains biographical notices of eminent characters of both sexes, we learn that she was born at Wootton, Northamptonshire, about 1810, Her father, Mr. William Jones, was a man of most philanthropic character, which his daughter inherited from him. Her energy was exercised for the benefit of the needy of her own neighbourhood, until her marriage with Captain Archibald Chisholm, of the Indian army, in her twentieth year, removed her to a more extended sphere of usefulness. On her arrival at Madras, Mrs. Chisholm's attention was directed to the neglected and dangerous position of the soldiers' daughters; and by the co-operation of the Governor and others, she established an industrial home, in which young girls were sheltered from all evil association, and instructed in practical knowledge. Captain Chisholm removed with his family to Australia, as his health required a temporary change of climate. At Sydney, Mrs. Chisholm's sympathies were enlisted by the sufferings of the emigrants, who frequently arrived friendless and penniless. When Captain Chisholm returned to India it was deemed desirable that his family should remain for a time at Sydney, and his wife devoted all her spare time to the schemes of usefulness which she had matured during her three years' residence in the colony. The protection of her own sex seemed to claim Mrs. Chisholm's most earnest efforts, and for them, after great difficulties, she succeeded in establishing a temporary home. She undertook several journeys into the interior, for the purpose of forming committees and establishing country homes, taking with her, at the same time, parties of young women, varying in number from fifteen to sixty, whom she placed in service at the farms on the route. Their travelling expenses were at first born by herself, and afterwards refunded. No sooner, however, did the settlers become acquainted with her praiseworthy object than they offered to find conveyance as well as food; and Mrs Chisholm records the fact that her own expenses during seven years amounted to only £1 18s 6d. When labourers were required in the interior, though there was an excess in Sydney, she undertook, at the Government expense, many journeys of 300 miles into the bush for the purpose of planting families; sharing the hardships of her companions, and performing the duties of leader, adviser, and commissary-general. Mrs. Chisholm established an office in Sydney, at which all persons needing employment might attend daily; and by her disinterested efforts has placed many thousands in positions of respectability and comfort. Having collected a number of facts bearing on the history and prospects of settlers in the colony, she published them under the title of Voluntary Information of the People of New South Wales. Early in 1845, Captain Chisholm rejoined his wife, and gave her the benefit of his hearty co-operation. In 1846 they found it necessary to revisit their native land, and Mrs. Chisholm left Australia, having excepted a public testimonial of £150, which was set aside for the furtherance of her benevolent views. In fact, she returned to England, not to rest from her labours, but to carry them out more effectually. Possessing neither rank nor influence, and with an income scarcely amounting to competency, Mrs. Chisholm began her contest with Government officials for the rights of her poor clients. She secured attention to her representations by the confidence she inspired, and at length the order was given which consigned two shiploads of children from various workhouses to their parents in Australia, at the expense of the Government. Similar success attended her efforts on behalf of the convicts' wives, who had been promised a free passage in certain cases of meritorious behaviour on the part of their husbands. But the great achievement of her visit to England was the establishment of the Female Colonization Loan Society, for the promotion of family emigration. She returned to Australia in 1854, and after devoting many years to the philanthropic object she had at heart, again visited England in 1866. Mrs. Chisholm is the author of Perils in the Polar Seas—True stories of Arctic Adventure and Discovery, 1874.

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Citation details

'Chisholm, Caroline (1808–1877)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Caroline Chisholm, published by Rogerson and Tuxford, 1853

Caroline Chisholm, published by Rogerson and Tuxford, 1853

National Library of Australia, 9267592

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Jones, Caroline

30 May, 1808
Northampton, Northamptonshire, England


25 March, 1877 (aged 68)
London, Middlesex, England

Cause of Death

cerebral softening

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

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