The Kerry Girls: Emigration and the Earl Grey Scheme
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Media: BOOK - paperback, 192 pages
Author: K. Caball
Other: b&w photos, appendix, bibliog, index
Publisher: The History Press
One of the now best-known stories of Irish emigration to Australia is the Irish 'orphan girls'. The so-called Earl Grey orphan scheme sent over thousands of young girls from workhouses all over Ireland to New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia during late 1840s - the time of the Great Famine.
The book is the true story of the girls from the County Kerry, who were shipped to Australia from the four workhouses of Dingle, Kenmare, Killarney and Listowel in 1849/1850 as part of the Earl Grey Scheme. From scenes of destitution and misery, the girls, some of whom spoke only Irish, set off to the other side of the world without any idea of what lay ahead.
This book tells of their 'selection' and shipping to New South Wales and Adelaide, their subsequent apprenticeship, marriage and life in the colony. As it covers one county only, it does go into far more detail than an overall guide. This includes a full listing of the girls from those four workhouses who were transported, and includes biographies of a number of them as well.
1. Background to the Famine in Kerry
2. Life in the Workhouse
3. Circumstances in Australia
4. Workhouse Decisions
5. Background to the Girls
6. Voyage and Arrival
7. Working Life and Marriage in Australia
8. Pawns in an Imperial Struggle?
Conclusion: An Opportunity of a Tragedy
Appendix: Orphan Database