Emigration of Female Orphans to Australian Colonies begins

11th September 1848
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Between 1848-1850, Earl Grey's Famine Orphan Scheme saw a total of 4,114 young Irish women resettled in the Australian colonies. The first orphan girls arrived from Ireland aboard the Lady Kennaway on September 11th, 1848.

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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