Skip to main content

To help keep our visitors and staff safe, please book your spot before visiting.

Menu

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Caroline Chisholm

In their own words

Caroline Chisholm
Audio: 2 minutes

Near Petty's Hotel, I caught sight of a frail beauty. Her dress told her fate. She evidently knew me, and wished to avoid me. I laid my hand on her arm, and the wreck of my Highland beauty stood before me. Alas, how different from the lovely girl she once was! The ruddy rose of the Highlands was changed for the tinge of rum; she had been drinking, but well knew what she was about.

‘Tell me where you are going?’ ‘To hell!’ was her answer. I continued to walk by her side; she became insolent, but I was determined not to leave her. She made for Lavender's Ferry, and said, ‘My mistress lives over there’. I said, ‘I’ll go to the other side with you, as I want to say a few words to you’.

She was unwilling, but I persisted. We crossed over. I felt certain from her manner she meditated suicide. I bade her sit down.

‘Are you a mother?’ She seized my hand and placed it on her heart. ‘God is merciful!’ She shook her head.

I saw a letter in her bosom; I drew it out with her nodded consent. It was from her brother; he felt her disgrace, he taunted her with being the first in the family who had known shame. ‘Were there any in your family that ever committed murder?’ She shook with horror. ‘Then why will you?’ ‘It's there I meant to drown myself,’ she said, pointing to a distant spot. ‘It's there we met often, and there I would die!’

I did not leave until I heard her vow never to attempt self-destruction. I procured her lodgings. My spirits returned; I felt God's blessing was on my work. From the hour I was on the beach with Flora, fear left me.

Acknowledgements

Chisholm, Caroline (1842) Female Immigration Considered in a Brief Account of the Sydney Immigrants’ Home, 1842, Sydney, James Tegg

Attribution

Voiced by Karen Vickery

Related people

Caroline Chisholm

Related information

The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

The Gallery

Visit us, learn with us, support us or work with us! Here’s a range of information about planning your visit, our history and more!

The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night

Support your Portrait Gallery

We depend on your support to keep creating our programs, exhibitions, publications and building the amazing portrait collection!

Visiting the Gallery
Visiting the Gallery
Visiting the Gallery
Visiting the Gallery

Plan your visit

Timed ticketing, location, accessibility and amenities

© National Portrait Gallery 2022
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency