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You are in: Northamptonshire » A Sense Of Place

January, 2004
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Caroline Chisholm on the Australian $5 note Caroline Chisholm
1808 - 1877

Audio availableThe life of Caroline Chisholm told by David Saint and Heather Wilson (Real 56k, 3'53")

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Town tribute to forgotten heroine
BBC News on Caroline Chisholm appearing on the Australian $5 note.

1807: Caroline Jones born in Northampton, the daughter of a farmer.
1832: Marries Archibald Chisholm. Goes with his husband to Madras. Caroline founds the Female School of Industry for the Daughters of European Soldiers.
1838: Arrives in Sydney, Australia.
1846: Returns to England and forms a society to send families to Australia.
1850: First ship chartered by Caroline (the Slains Castle) sets sail for Australia.
1877: Caroline dies and is buried in Billing Road cemetery.


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By some quirk of history, Caroline Chisholm remains largely unknown in this her home county, possibly because she was a Roman Catholic, writes Heather Wilson

Mention her name to an Australian and they will be able to tell you exactly who she was and what she did.

In the 19th Century her religion caused certain people to misunderstand the nature of her work.

Although one of the greatest, if not the greatest social reformer of her time, she was accused in the Sydney Herald of wanting to take over Australia on behalf of the Vatican. This was far from true, but her faith was an inspiration to her and she led a deeply spiritual life.

Appalling conditions

Children in India
In Madras, Caroline Chisholm set up the world's first crèche.

Born on the outskirts of Northampton, the first stop on her way to Australia was in India where her husband, Capt Archibald Chisholm, was stationed. She found that conditions in Madras were appalling for the wives and daughters of the ordinary soldiers. They were wandering the streets involved in crime and prostitution, while the officers had schools for their children and educated wives who moved in elite social circles.

Caroline appealed to the Governor of Madras for help in starting a school for the poorer women.

Once the school was started she imposed strict discipline but got the girls to form committees so that they were self governing even though there was an official governing body. She encouraged the youngsters to think for themselves.

She also started the world's first ever crèche by inviting mothers to bring their children in to the school so that the girls who were studying there could learn mother craft while the parents enjoyed some much needed time away from their offspring.


The skyline of Sydney
Today Sydney is a vibrant city but Caroline Chisholm arrived in there when it was a convict town.

Caroline's thinking proved to be way ahead of her times and extremely progressive for the middle of the 19th Century.

She then went on to Australia because her husband was given furlough and everyone was going to Australia because it was the new place to go.

She arrived in Sydney, still a convict town, and found the women in similar conditions to those she had witnessed in Madras. Girls who had gone to Australia in search of a new life in a new world found themselves instead in dire poverty and need with no home or jobs. Many had resorted to prostitution, others were convicts with no hope of a future who had returned to crime in order to survive.

Emigrants' friend

Caroline decided to set to work and do something. She finally got the government on her side and took over a former immigration hostel which she renamed the Female Immigrants Home, where the girls were able to live. She set up an employment office, developed work contracts, and eventually found work for the girls or placed them with established families so that they didn't starve.

The proportion of men to women in the colony was colossally out of balance. The British Government encouraged girls to emigrate from England to redress the balance. Caroline made sure that when the girls arrived in Australia they were treated well and formed a sort of marriage agency to help ensure that they would be looked after and cared for by their prospective husbands.

Gold diggers

New School
A new school at Wootton Fields, Northampton, is to be named Caroline Chisholm School. It's due to open in September 2004 and will have around 1,700 students aged between four and 18.

When she returned to England in the mid 1840s, Caroline campaigned to allow the families of convicts free passage to Australia and also for improvement to the conditions they had to endure during the journey. She also set up a loan scheme for those not able to gain free passage. She returned to Australia to set up shops in the outback for the gold diggers during the gold rush and also started schools and hospitals throughout the country.

Caroline was also a water diviner. Settlements developed near water sources she discovered, so many towns and villages in Australia owe their origins to Caroline and named streets and roads after her.


Caroline returned to England where she died in poverty and obscurity on 25 March 1877, while her work in Australia earned her continued fame.

Her portrait adorned an Australian bank note for more than 20 years and also the 5c stamp.

She is buried in Billing Road Cemetery, Northampton, alongside her husband, Archibald. The inscription reads "Caroline Chisholm, the Emigrant's Friend".

Have your say

Send us your comments about Caroline Chisholm. Please use the form below to send us your comments.

amanda clarige
I love CCS im in the 6th form and its the best i really love all the teachers i dont know what i would do with out them. But miss haines is the best she has been there for me all year if iv needed her

This ladie is an out standing girl.

kristine hunt
wow thanks that was really useful for my homework!

Caroline Chisholm College, Glenmore Park student
Caroline chisholm was woman of iron. She stood up for poor women's rights. She sacrificed her riches to help these women. Caroline Chisholm you rock.Go Caroline Chisholm!!!!!!!!!!

What an amazing woman! It is such a shame that great and inspiring women such as Chisholm get lost to history just because they are women (and 'his'tory is written by men.

this has helped thanx!

Jessica Mercieca
I go to Caroline Chisholm Catholic College in Melbourne Australia!.I think Caroline was an inspirational woman,

Im doin a project on Caroline Chisholm for SOSE this site is kool thanx 4 da info luv u ;P xx

I intend preaching on Caroline Chisholm this Sunday as in my opinion, as a 5th generation Australian, believe her to be Australia's greatest hero. Yet nothing is done to promote her more. There has never been a feature film made on her life or,as far as I know, nor even a documentary. Austarlia should be ashamed of this although I believe she fell into disrepute among the politically correcy brigade, this could be one reason.


i need more info on her family

smartie pants NOT
interesting but what day was she born????i have a project and need a 1 page report if you have some info right on this thing please bye thankyou

I have been researching Caroline Chisholm's life and work for some while now, and hope to have a biography of her published in Melbourne later this year. I Mike Welsh would like to give a contact address, I can give him some details of the Chisholm family tree.

sian cotton CCS School
Caroline Chisholm was an amazing woman who did great things and I only wish that she could be more remembered. This has really helped me with my project but I only wish that there had been a bit more on India.

im doing a project thsnk you this website has been a great help- i got a level a plus.....thanks once again...x

Millie Brandon
Im also doing a project on Caroline and also go to the school in year 4. Your information was really helpful but made my mum upset that such an amazing women is not remembered in her home country. I think we should start a campain to have a memorial in Northampton.

Great site andCaroline was a sinsere person she helped

Caroline Chisholm was a great person

angel cake
couldn't find anything on her family but thought rest of info woz fab!! good work:) :) :)

pheebs, northampton
Yo, caroline chilsolm was a great lady (from what i have heard from this website)and i am privaliged to go to a school that goes by her name!

As my partner is Caroline's great(x3)grandson ... I find anything about her fascinating, but was wondering if anyone knew ... because I suspect I do ... how she came to be on the decimal currency in 1966?

Thanks for all the information because I'm doing a assignment on her and yeah it was really handy.

Really useful.

lucy john
I go to Caroline Chisholm wootton and I have to do a project about her and I didn't know so much about her

tom lyman
hi my name is tom lyman and i go ccs i love it der it prob the best skl ive beeen to

i love caroline chisholm especially the pe department i wouldnt know what to do with out pe lol

kristofor langford
her grave is in Billings RD cemetary

i belive caroline chisholm is a really nice and strong woman i chose he 4 my school project cause i heard lots of stuff about he

Mike Welsh
Can anyone help me with information relating to Carolines' children, grandchildren and their families? I would love to hear from any family members. Regards, Mike Welsh

Mike Welsh
I am a distant relation to Caroline and am trying to trace the family back. My great grand parents names were Donald and Marie Chisholm who are buried in Naracoorte S.Aust. My grand mother was Jean Chisholm who married Samuel Welsh. I have been hearing stories about Caroline all my life & am happy she has been remembered so dearly.

Jordana U.
I decided to do our school project on Caroline Chisholm. Also my middle name is Caroline too. She is a very clever and famous Lady of her time and it is sad to hear that she is not so famous in England. Caroline has definately helped our Country, Australia and we will never forget her either. May we never forget her ever. When we fly back to the U.K. next year, I will insure that we will see her home town, school and grave. Thanks very much. Dana

Julia k
im from melbourne and in yr 12. i decided to do my creative piece on caroline chisholm because she inspires me and was a strong women who helped those in need and was really kind and put everyone else in front of herself... a really nice thing to do...well hope i get an A!! lol

Dave, Northampton
I go to Caroline Chisholm School in Northampton aswell, i did'nt even know who she was when i first went but this has really helped! Hello there to all other ccs pupils!

Hiya ppl who Made this Site! All I Have To Say is, Your Site totally Rx! Oh, i just wanted to tell you I'm from Australia, and I'm doing a Report on Caroline Chisholm, and when i said i was doing it in her , (Because we Got to Choose), my friends where all like: "Who?" So you don't Just Mention her name to an Australian and everyone can, Like, give you a Biography on her! That's all I Wanted to Say. Kiss, Kiss, Luv Ya! Courts! xoxo

p@ri$ bL@nChEtt
heyz. i live in melbourne, victoria in australia.i also go to a catolic highschool and now in religion learning about the people who did grreat things in this world and made alot of changes. we all got different people to study. I personally got Caroline Chisholm and i have found that she is a very outstanding chik to learn about. i really lykd wat caroline chisholm did. i think she was a great person. i am currently doing an essay on her and i found that caroline chisholm was a very out there chik and i think that was awesome for someone to be so outstanding. i realli enjoy learning and finding out information i never knew about her. thank you for the time you used to read this letter. Thanx. xoxo

Debbie Williams W.A.
wow i neva new who Caroline was until i was doing a project on her and it never crossed my mind how amazing she really was so this goes to u Caroline Chisholm thanks for being a great woman you will be remembered 4 eva. love Zebrah oh n by the way this website rox ive learnt so much from it.

Andrew Chmielewski, Northampton, UK
I'm impressed with all the enthusiastic comments about this great lady, especially as we in Northampton have done little to remember her by. I would have thought the least we could do would be to erect a monument to her, but I cannot even find her grave in Billing Road cemetery, despite frequent searching (I often walk through the graveyard on my way to work). I suspect it has been overgrown completely since 1977 when Mr Langford spotted it.

Ola Ogunmola YR 5 Caroline Chisholm School.
Caroline Chisholm is the Best school eva im in YR5 and it is tottally cool.

Tony Downing
I have just met the Principal at Caroline Chisholm Catholic College in Melbourne. We hope to set up some links between his school and CCS in Northampton. It will take a few years but it will be great in future if staff and students from Northampton can spend time in Melbourne. My counterpart assures me he will have plenty of people who would be equally keen to visit us here.

Paige Walsh
I go to Caroline Chisolm school and i think that Caroline Chisolm was a great person and that she did good deeds and helps lots of people in the world even though her dad was a pig farmer.

i go to caroline chisholm school n i got lots of info from heree fanx

i lived in the uk for 10 yrs and was amazed that no-one there had heard of caroline chisholm as she was one of the greatest (if not the greatest) women your country ever produced. we have several schools and tertiary colleges called after her in melbourne. I'm presently helping my daughter do a project on influential women in history and she has chosen caroline. i was very sorry to see caroline chisholm's face removed from our $5 note in favour the queen. hopefully, the powers that be will come to their senses and return Carline to her rightful place, unless they want to put her on the $50!

Ann and Sarah
I am helping my young daughter Sarah with her project on Caroline Chisholm and I am amazed at the facts I am learning, such a great example of how we all should life,how the world could be if we all lived as Caroline did, serving humanity.I only hope that I can put into practise in some small way what I have leant from Caroline.

Kevin Lee
I'm giving a homily for an end of year Mass for Caroline Chisholm High School and being a priest I am ashamed to admit, I had to look here for some info on her as I knew diddly-squat about her apart from seeing her picture on the old $5 note. Thanks for the insights.

I go to caroline chisholm School. This website was a real help. Thankzxxx

Grace Yi
I really enjoyed this website and learnt alot from it.

Hi everyone at CCS especially all my best mates Sian, Hannah, Emma, Laura, Naomi and Rachie D!! Also a big shout out to Dan Brophy - ignore what everyone says about you you're the sweetest kid alive! As for CCS as a school ... it's a brilliant learning experience and I've learnt more in a few months than I had in a private school!! Thanks for this article - now us students can discover who our school was named after!

Jamie Brett
Hio peps from my school. I am simply amazed about how many names i know. I go CCS to and it's the best school ever. At school at the moment were putting on a production of Caroline Chisholm the musical and it's well fun if any one wants to really learn the life of miss Chisholm you might want to go alond. it's happerning around december this year.

Yo guy's sup? I really lyk dis website. im doin assignment on caz chisholm and this info's grr8! im from australia. Englanders are cool but never as kool as Aussie's r! i bet ive caused sum arguments with dat well im prepared to argue rite bak so come get sum babe's! anywayz luv ya but gotsta leave ya *buboi* xoxo

renee lee
Thanks for the information. Am doing a major 7 week assignment on Caroline Chisholm and need as much info as possible, this really helped! Thanks again, peace x

I found this site very interesting and helpful for my project so thanx anyway. 0:)

She helped to form the Family Colonisation Loan Society which lent money to families wanting to come to Australia. I'm actually Australian, and I didn't know until to day she existed.

I think Caroline Chisholm is a wonderful person and should never be forgotten!!xxx

This sight was great!I've got this project on an eminent person, and I chose Caroline Chisholm. Although the other sights were of little use, this one provided enough information to help me do most of it. This sight is great!

Dylan and Ajay
We enjoy being school.Look forward to the coming years.

I love the school

at school i am doing a project on caroline where do i gett good info

Aimee yr9
i go to caroline chisholm school in northanpton and just wanted to say that i am very lucky to be going here it is a great school and a brilliant learning experience! thankyou for a great first year! x

maddy, alex and sarah
hey! were from australia and we never knew much about caroline chisholm but this site has taught us heaps! it got lots of great info about her for our r.e assignment. thanks heaps!xoxo

Neil Maxwell
as an old Northamptonian living in Oz. I was fascinated to read of our $5 lady! Thankyou very much.

how can i find good info on caroline chishlom im doing a project on her

this site is waesome thanx heaps it helped heaps if only it said something bout her education thats all i need now but thanx ill keep looking for her educational life thanx.!

iam in grade 5 and go to a school in shepparton in australia .my school is called st.mel's.i did a progect on caroline and i gota A+

iam in grade 5.i go to a school in shepparton, my school is called st.mels. i am in mr poppers class.This year i had to do a progect on caroline chisholm, and this web site gave me lots of info. thanx.xxxx

i go 2 Caroline Chisholm (england,wooton)i wondered who caroline chisholm was and now i no thanx xxxx

Di Comley
My GG Grandparents and their 7 children came out to Adelaide South Australia on the Slains Castle under Caroline Chisholm's resettlement scheme. I have a copy of a diary of the voyage kept by another passenger and it seems like they were very lucky to have made it to Australia. Times were tough!!! It makes you wonder what conditions must have been like back in England for them to embark on such a formidable undertaking. Thanks for your page and yes we do respect Caroline here in Oz.

im in year 8 and doing a project on caroline. i just wanna say how cool she is and how much she has helped us

Aza Spaza
I got on this site to do my project and it is very easy to understand and i told all my friends to use it and they used it and they found it very cool and interesting and fun thanx for this information YOU RULE FOR THIS !!!!!

Alexandra Ross
I live in Australia and am doing a project on Caroline Chisholm at my school which is called Biddabah Public School. It is in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. I found your site to be very cool and the information very interesting. Thankyou very much for this.

There was alot of info on this site I had to do a project on Caroline Chisholm and I got a A+!!!! I was so impressed and now I use this site for all my projects!!!!!!!

hey sup thanx 4 da website!! um yer n gotta say dat i live in australia n not everyone knows hoo caroline is actually i dont think many people do!! hehe n e wayz thanx agen bubiz

I am doing an assignment about Caroline, the information is great!Thank you

i am doing a project on Caroline and this info has been a big help. THNX!!!!

Richard Conlon
I am a playwright living in northampton, i see CC's grave every day. i'm currently gathering research on her for a play which i hope to work on with the new CC school here in northampton. very little seems to be known about her eraly days, even which village she was from... anyone who wants to send on anything they think might be useful, please ffel free: CC deserves to be better known in what is the place where she started & ended her full life.

thanx heaps im doin a speech on Caroline Chisholm 4 english and i found this website VERY in4mative THANX HEAPS

chrissie and kirste x x x x x
we go caroline chism... its got loadsa new good ya hunnies x x x x

caroline chisholm is my great X [times]heaps aunty.i love to learn about my family history and this site was exelent! thanx heaps,vaness!xxx

i am making a power point on my family,which is the Chisholms! i find this infomation very helpful.thanx heaps,ness!xxx

Anisha Joshi
it was realy intersesting as caroline chishlom is me skool

I have just read a biography of Caroline Chisholm and though I do not take everything I read as accurate, I just wanted to point out a couple of inconsistencies compared with your information. Firstly, I believe that Sydney was not the place everyone was rushing to except in that when people travelled to Australia, they did tend to arrive and stay in Sydney. One of Chisholm's projects was to get the immigrants out of the city and into the country. She also had to push for people from Britain to go to Australia in favour of America which was a closer and more established and popular destination. Horror stories of Australia's heat, dryness and animals scared people away. Secondly, I am sad to say that not all Australians have heard of Chisholm. When I asked several people I know here (I am English and have just moved to Australia), the best answer I got was 'The name rings a bell...' So, Australians need some reminding of who Caroline Chisholm was and what she did for Australia. I have more research to do and I apologise if my comments are inaccurate but I hope to make people aware of Chisholm and her work both in Australia and the UK. Christmas wishes to all admirers everywhere!

i go 2 caroline chisholm school (wootton) its really good but we dont no that much bout caroline chisholm! i found out bout her on here fanx XxX

Thanx ths website helped me alot!!

Toby Grey
A feature movie is being produced in Australia and UK,it traces apart of history with Caroline and events of her time.It will be an epic,very interesting view of life, to date not seen,scary too, in cinema2005,cannot wait.Rumoured big names will star.

I go Caroline Chishlom

I'm doing a school project and i found this site most helpfull

danielle collis
i am doing a project on her and i thought it would be so boring but she really helped young women go girls!!!!

im oing a speech on caroline and this site helped alot! thanx

the school sound like a high educational school

I have recently started at Caroline Chisholm School (Wootton)and i'm doing a project on her and I fond this site the most helpful and i've looked at a lot so thanks bbc.

hey! thanks fot this infomation! it was very helpful! im doing a religion assignment on caroline chisholm. she is a very outstanding woman! thnanks:)

Thanx for the info..came in handy..skool essay!

I'm doing a project on Caroline Chisholm as well and I think this sight is very useful!

i think it was good useful information because i got alot of information from it for my assignment.

danks for de info :-) it was sort of elpful. see ya m8z

naomi cherny
I'm doin a project on Caroline Chisholm and she is great .Inever knew she did such good things.Thanxz 4 listening.bye

this info has helped me out haeps with the project i am doing on her Thanks

G Whitfield
Most informative,many thanks

yhanks 4 the info, v. useful!!

thanks for info on her she is my project person

thanx dudes. dis waz gr8 for mu reseach. thanx again m8zz

i go to a high school in which our panitrent saint is Caroline Chisholm and i very much enjoy learning about her

Brenda Chambers
I live in Kyneton, Victoria, Australia, where Caroline Chisholm lived for four years. My husband comes from North Hampton, and I was in Chisholm House when at school in the 1960s. For the past six years I have been writing a history of the women of my town. CC is prominent throughout, even in a way during the years she was forgotten by 'the rest of the world'. If you would like to know more please let me know. My email address is

I am doing a Project on caroline chisholm and I found this infomation very interesting and useful thanks

Colin William James Langford
My Father, Major Lawrence (Bill)Langford (Dec), 58th Northamptonshire Reg Born Northampton, we now reside in Australia, found Caroline Chisholm grave in 1977. This information plus photos of the grave were passed onto the Australian Gov by me when my Father died in 1999. The Langfords, whom my father and I are direct decendents, had a farm next door to Nee Caroline Jones, who's family were pig farmers in Wootton. The Langford families old farm is now Langford drive I beleive? I am glad that someone else has correctly given Caroline Chisholm the acclaim she rightly deserves. I tried to have the Oz Gov erect a plaque telling of our connection to Caroline Chisholm as a year 2000 project, & to remember our long lost neighour. Unfortunately to no avail. Kindest Regards, Colin W. J. Langford C/- Post Office YOLLA Tasmania Australia 7325



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