Caroline (Jones) Chisholm

Caroline Elizabeth (Jones) Chisholm (1808 - 1877)

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Caroline Elizabeth Chisholm formerly Jones
Born in Wootton, Northampton,Englandmap
[sibling(s) unknown]
Wife of — married [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died in Highgate,North London ,Englandmap
Profile last modified | Created 27 Apr 2014 | Last significant change: 19 Nov 2018
13:49: Nicolas LaPointe edited the Biography for Caroline Elizabeth (Jones) Chisholm (1808-1877). [Thank Nicolas for this | 1 thank-you received]
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Categories: Australian Notables | British Philanthropists | Billing Road Cemetery, Northampton, Northamptonshire | This Day In History May 30 | This Day In History March 25 | English Notables.


Caroline (Jones) Chisholm is Notable.

Caroline Chisholm was a 19th-century English philanthropist and humanitarian known mostly for her involvement with female immigrant welfare in Australia, she helped these new immigrants in New South Wales during the 1840s and 1850s, and later in the goldfields region of Victoria. The BBC described her as one of the greatest, if not the greatest social reformer of her time. Her image marked the Australian $5 bill for 25 years, the first women who was not a monarch to appear on Australian currency. She is commemorated on 16 May in the Calendar of saints of the Church of England. There are proposals for the Catholic Church to also recognise her as a saint

Caroline Elizabeth Chisholm

Caroline Chishom was born in Wootton, England. Her parents were William and Sarah Jones. He was a land owner and pig farmer. She was the youngest a large family and was educated by a governess. Caroline married Captain Archibald Chisholm when she was 22 years old, he worked for the East India Company and was thirteen years older than Caroline. They were married in a Church of England church, but Caroline converted to her husband's religion Roman Catholic.

Captain Chisholm was posted to Madras in India in 1832, a year later Caroline joined her husband there. She asked the Governor of Madras for assistance in establishing a school after had she noticed that the wives and daughters of British soldiers were living in poverty and involved in crime and prostitution.[1]Caroline Chisholm founded the Female School of Industry for the Daughters of European Soldiers in 1834 .They were given instruction in reading, writing and religion, cooking, housekeeping and nursing.[2]The school was taken over by the government when Caroline and her husband left.

The Chisholms decided to spend leave in Australia and arrived in Sydney on the ship Emerald Isle in September 1838 and settled at Windsor, when her husband was recalled to active service in 1840 Caroline and the children remained there. Caroline Chisholm established employment agencies in rural centres she found positions for immigrant girls and sheltered many of them in her home. In January 1841 she approached Governor and Lady Gipps and the proprietors of the Sydney Herald with a plan for a girls home, she was given use of part of the old immigration barracks for her Female Immigrants Home. This was dependent on public subscription. It held up to ninety-six women, attached was the only free employment registry in Sydney. In 1842 the Female Immigrants Home was closed because of her success in finding work for unemployed immigrants Chisholm later extended her work to include families as well as single women, and between 1841 and 1844 assisted 14,000 people to settle in New South Wales.

When Captain Chisholm retired from the army in 1845 he returned to Australia to work with his wife. Denied assistance from the government, the Chisholms travelled throughout New South Wales and collected over 600 statements from immigrants about their lives in Australia, this voluntary information to serve as a guide to those in England who wished to emigrate. With her husband she left for England in 1846 in the Dublin, Caroline Chisholm gave evidence before two committees in the House of Lords and gained support for some of her initiatives, including free passage to Australia for the wives and children of former convicts, but there was little official support for family migration.

Caroline Chisholm established the [3] Family Colonization Loan Society in 1849, with the support of wealthy Londoners. The Society lent migrant families the money they needed to travel to Australia, the emigrants belonging to her Society had to save most of the cost of their fares, and small loans were made to complete the cost. The loans were to be repaid within two years of arrival in Australia, and once they reached Australia agents would find them employment and would collect the loan repayments. By 1854 the Society had assisted more than 3000 people to travel to Australia. Chisholm continued to agitate for reform, and the Passenger Act of 1852 was passed to ensure better shipboard conditions for migrants. Captain Archibald Chisholm left for Australia in March 1851 as colonial agent, leaving Caroline in England with her duties Caroline toured Britain, Germany, France and Italy, where she visited Pope Pius IX. Her comments on shipboard conditions made the passing of the Passenger Act of 1852[4] possible.

Caroline Chisholm returned to Australia aboard the Ballarat in 1854 and toured the Victorian goldfields. Caroline Chisholm wanted the construction of shelters for people travelling to the goldfields, a project which received support from the government. Chisholm also campaigned for land to be made available so that migrant families could establish small farms. Caroline developed a kidney disease in 1857, and in November the family moved to Kyneton, where Archibald sat on the magistrates bench and their two elder sons ran a store. Caroline still fought for reforms

The Chisholms returned to England in June 1866 and were granted a pension of £100, they lived first in Liverpool, then at lodgings at Highgate, London. Caroline Chisholm died on 25 March 1877 and her husband died the 17 August just 5 months after Caroline. They are buried in the same grave at Northampton [5] it bears a headstone inscribed The emigrant's friend Of your charity pray for the repose of the souls of Caroline Chisholm... and of Archibald Chisholm.


  1. Google Books - Encyclopedia of Women Social Reformers, Volume 1 page 151
  2. Unfeigned Love - Historical Accounts of Caroline Chisholm and Her Work - Memoir and the accounts of Mrs Chisholm's Philanthropic labours in India page 97
  3. Trove Digitised Newspapers - South Australian Register 26th June 1851 newspaper article Family Colonization Loan Society
  4. Trove Digisted Newspapers - South Australian Register Monday 17 January 1853 Article Passenger Act 1852 passed
  5. Find a Grave -Caroline and her husband Archibald are buried together at Billing Road Cemetery also known as Northampton, Billing Road Cemetery

Published Biographies

  • Goldman, Sarah “Caroline Chisholm: An irresistible force” Harper Collins, 2017. ISBN 9781460753439

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No known carriers of Caroline's mitochondrial DNA have taken an mtDNA test and no close relatives have taken a 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or Family Tree DNA "Family Finder" test.

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Caroline Chisholm
Caroline Chisholm

Caroline Chisholm
Caroline Chisholm


Caroline is 39 degrees from Rosa Parks, 24 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 25 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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