A Decent Set of Girls--: The Irish Famine Orphans of the Thomas Arbuthnot, 1849-1850 Richard Reid

ISBN: 9780646274492

Published: January 1st 1996

Unknown Binding

130 pages


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A Decent Set of Girls--: The Irish Famine Orphans of the Thomas Arbuthnot, 1849-1850  by  Richard Reid

A Decent Set of Girls--: The Irish Famine Orphans of the Thomas Arbuthnot, 1849-1850 by Richard Reid
January 1st 1996 | Unknown Binding | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, AUDIO, mp3, RTF | 130 pages | ISBN: 9780646274492 | 4.66 Mb

BIO: This interesting, true story can be found in A Decent Set of Girls, by well-known Irish-Australian author, Thomas Keneally. Another resource is the 1997 #2 issue of Irish Roots periodical published in Cork by Belgrave Publishing- back issuesMoreBIO: This interesting, true story can be found in A Decent Set of Girls, by well-known Irish-Australian author, Thomas Keneally.

Another resource is the 1997 #2 issue of Irish Roots periodical published in Cork by Belgrave Publishing- back issues and/or photocopies can often still be obtained.In 1849, County Clare, Ireland, reached the depths of famine-induced misery and helplessness. Statistics printed in The Illustrated London News of January 5, 1850, revealed that a great many people were being kept from starvation in workhouses or by food distributed by workhouses. The series of articles in which these figures appeared were illustrated with drawings of the frightful, poverty-stricken state of the people of west Clare, such as the one entitled searching for potatoes in a stubble field, in the December 22, 1849 edition that was read in the polite drawing rooms of London and Manchester.Among the inmates of Clares workhouses and those of Galway and Kerry, were a small number of females who were offered new clothes and and opportunity to escape from a seemingly hopeless future.

Some of these orphans had been placed in the workhouses by one or both parents who were no longer able to feed them but who hoped to reclaim them when they were able. As you are aware, a great many families died of starvation and disease in Ireland during this so-called famine. Shamefully, while the potato crop which made up nearly 100% of the diet of the poor was obliterated overnight by fungus, at the same time great exports of foodstuffs continued to be exported from Ireland to England and the Irish poor were unable to purchase the very food that could have saved them!In 1849, the British Land and Emigration Commissioners scheme to relocate pauper females to Australia had been extended to workhouses.

In late October, 1849, 81 girls between the ages of 15 and 18 set out from workhouses in Ennis, Scarriff and Ennistymon for Plymouth, England. There they joined 113 other girls, virtually all of them from workhouses in Galway and Kerry, for a three-month voyage to New South Wales on the Thomas Arbuthnot.

During the long voyage they were looked after by a humane and decent man, Englishman Charles Edward Strutt whose diary has survived all these years, a typewritten copy of which is in the La Trobe Library, Melbourne.At least three of these orphans, Eliza Roughan of Ennis, Clare, Mary Dowd of Dingle, Kerry, and Harriet Spence of Gort, Galway, has her own genealogical record page in the Yass Heritage Projects publication, A Decent Set of Girls - The Irish Famine orphans of the Thomas Arbuthnot, 1849-50.

(Perhaps copies can still be obtained from the YHP, POB 471, Yass, NSW, Australia 2582).On February 3, 1850 the ship came to anchor off Garden Island, Sydney, and on February 8th, the workhouse girls of Clare, Kerry and Galway walked the few hundred yards from Circular Quay to the Female Immigrant Depot at Hyde Park. From the Depot on Monday the 18th, 105 girls from the ship set off for the small country settlement of Yass, approximately 300 kilometres southwest of Sydney.

Here they were helped to find employment and successfully settled into such places as Tumut, Boorowa, Jugiong, Gundagai and Binalong, and their descendants, and those of approximately 4,000 other orphan girls sent to Australian colonies bewteen 1848 and 1850, now number in the many thousands.In 1996, to commemorate the arrival of the Famine immigrants in Yass on the 2nd of March 1850, the Yass Heritage Project decided to publish portions of Strutts diary which relate to the voyage of the Thomas Arbuthnot and the bringing of the girls to Yass under his care.

A recreation of the arrival was also undertaken, and 70 young ladies from modern Yass and district, dressed in period clothing, landed at Circular Quay, walked with their sea chests to the Female Immigrant Depot, spent a night there, marched at the head of Sydneys 1996 St.

Patricks Day Parade. On week later, they entered the town of Yass on horse-drawn drays, watched by the citizenry and Irelands Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Mr. Richard OBrien, Mrs. OBrien, Mrs. E. Glover and Mr. John Glover, Mayor of the Shire of Yass, NSW.Black 1847, the Great Potato Famine and the dreadful disease and emigrant stories associated with it, are painful to recall, but through the humanity of Englishman Charles Edward Strutt, Surgeon General of the Thomas Arbuthnot, (given that post when he arrived on the 23 October, 1849 at the Colonial Land Emigration Commissioners Emigrant Depot, Baltic Wharf, Plymouth and who made sure the girls were given hot baths, haircuts and new clothes before the voyage) the orphans lives were surely improved.

It is rare, indeed, that a diary from this time period has survived.



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