Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/149

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135
IRISH IMMIGRANTS IN THE COLONIES.

cution, which Mrs. Chisholm compelled the Governor to institute against parties who had driven a girl mad by their violence. When Sir George Gipps, hesitating, said, "A Government prosecution is a very serious matter," she answered, "I am ready to prosecute; I have the necessary evidence, and if it be a risk whether I or these men shall go to prison, I am ready to stand the risk." That trial established a precedent, and corrected a crying evil.

Mrs. Chisholm, having now successfully established her Female Emigrants' Home in Sydney, threw all her energies into the supplementary work of obtaining honest employment for her protégés. She saw clearly that, for the most of them, the Home would be but a brief respite from destruction unless, in their unprotected state, they were speedily removed from the dangers and pitfalls of the city, and placed in the way of earning an honourable livelihood in the country. To this end, the indefatigable lady went boldly into the interior, visited every provincial centre, established local Homes as branches of the central institution in Sydney, and formed local committees for the purposes of management and supervision. At first she had some little difficulty in consequence of the natural dislike of the girls to venture into "the bush," as the whole of the back country was called, but her commanding personal influence always prevailed in the end.

Thus was commenced Mrs. Chisholm's memorable series of "bush journeys," during which she travelled through all the settled districts of the colony, accompanied by successive batches of emigrant girls, whom she placed, one by one, in domestic service, chiefly in the houses of respectable farmers. Just as in the city she was invariably under the roof of her Emigrants' Home, so in the country this devoted apostle of her