Author(s): Sarah Goldman
A fresh, spirited and engaging biography of a fascinating and influential woman who was absolutely instrumental in shaping modern Australia - but whose influence and importance has largely been forgotten. Caroline Chisholm was a take-no-prisoners game-changer of Colonial Australia - as well as a charming, wholly committed, and utterly determined force of nature. Arriving in Australia in 1838, she was appalled by the plight of young female immigrants in Australia - there were no jobs for them, no accommodation, and many of them resorted to prostitution to survive. In response to this need, Caroline became a woman on a mission. She met every immigrant ship and became a familiar figure on the wharves, finding positions for immigrant girls and sheltering many of them in her home. As the government of the day refused to help, Chisholm established accommodation, services and the first emloyment office in the colony, drawing up the first ever employment contracts in Australia. She established minimum wages, found jobs and homes, created employment agencies in a dozen rural centres as well, and she managed to do all this without any assistance from the government of the time. In many ways a proto-feminist and committed social activist, she transformed life in Australia. This is a long overdue, contemporary and lively reassessment of Caroline, bringing to life her spirited character, her modern relevance, her feminist credentials and her egalitarian spirit.