EARL GREY’S IRISH FAMINE ORPHANS (29):Where to from here? Telling orphan stories and some issues involved

…including my appreciation of Alison Light’s “Common People”

trevo's Irish famine orphans

WHERE TO FROM HERE?

Dublin Famine sculpture Dublin Famine sculpture

When I came to the end of my last post I wondered if I should write a conclusion to the whole series. Maybe something on the Earl Grey Irish Famine orphans’ contribution to Australia. Was H. H. Browne correct in his assessment?Were the orphans of little use, and ‘distasteful’ to the majority of colonists ? Or did they make an valuable contribution? Along with convict women, they became ‘mothers to the Australian character’? However, if they are set in context beside the c. 9,000 single Irish females who immigrated to New South Wales in 1840-41, the 5,000 who came to South Australia in the mid 1850s, or the 70% of female government assisted migrants to Victoria in the 1850s, we might gain a more realistic picture of where they stand. This is not to deny the orphans theirunique position as destitute famine refugees…

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