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Caroline Chisholm

Caroline Chisholm

Birth and Nationality

Caroline Jones Chisholm was born near Northampton, England on 30th of May 1808. Her father, William Jones, was a wealthy farmer. Sarah Jones, her mother, attended to the needs of the Jone’s large family. At an early age, her father trained Caroline and all his children to be responsible to others, and that trait influenced her to engage in charitable works.


Since the family of Jones was a large, wealthy family, her parents employed the service of a governess to give education to their children. Caroline, the youngest in the family, showed interest in math and French subjects.

Early Marriage and Children

At the age of 22, Caroline got married to East India Company’s Captain Archibald Chisholm, whom thirteen years ahead of her. The couple got wed in the Church of England, and later, Caroline was converted to his husband’s religion which was Roman Catholic. The couple had three sons.

Career and Achievements on Humanitarian Works

Caroline Chisholm joined his husband in India when he was assigned there. To assist the poor living condition of the soldiers’ families, she founded Female School of Industry for the Daughters of European Soldiers in 1834 to serve the girls and young women of Madras.

In 1838, the Chisholm family settled in Windsor, Australia. There, Caroline put up employment agencies in the provinces to provide work to the unemployed immigrants. Between 1841 and 1844, Caroline was able to provide jobs to 14,000 individuals.

In 1846 when the family returned to England, Caroline encouraged migration to Australia and promoted migration reform. In 1849, with the support of wealthy London nationals, Caroline established Family Colonization Loan Society that lent migrant families the needed money to travel to Australia, where ships to transport the colonists were also provided. Additionally, she was able to lobby for the passing of Passenger Act of 1852 that called for migrants’ better shipboard conditions.


Caroline Chisholm became popular for her concern, support, and involvement in Australia’s female immigrant welfare. Despite her wealth and her advocacy to alleviate poverty, she died poor on March 25, 1877.


  • The old $5.00 note has her image
  • A Federal electorate has her name
  • A Canberra suburb was named after her
  • Chisholm College of the La Trobe University was named after her
  • Caroline Chisholm Secondary Colleges was also named after her
  • A memorial stone at Essendon commemorated her support for the building of shelter shed along the route to the goldfields
  • The centenary of her death was symbolized by a memorial plaque found in Burston Reserve, Melbourne, opposite St. Patrick’s Cathedral

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