These young women, aged 14 to 20, had been orphaned by the famine and were recruited from workhouses across the 32 counties of Ireland. The scheme was devised by Earl Grey, Secretary of State for the Colonies, to relieve overcrowding in the Irish workhouses and to meet the demand for domestic labourers and single young women in the colonies.
Due to growing anti-Irish, anti-Catholic sentiment in the colony, the scheme was short-lived. The last group arrived in Sydney on Tippoo Saib in July 1850.
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