Irish Orphans in Tasmania


Two ships, the Beulah and the Calcutta arrived in Hobart in 1851. The girls on these two ships probably came by other means than the Earl Grey Scheme but they were nonetheless victims of the Irish Famine. Their origins were foundling hospitals and workhouses in Co Cork and Co Clare.

The 300+ girls who arrived on these ships are listed in Trevor McClaughlin’s “Barefoot and Pregnant?” [Vol 2 publ 2001]; the ships are not, however, included in the GIFCC’s Orphan Database. Trevor refers to historians, genealogists and the Archives Office in Tasmania who assisted him with researching shipping lists and certificates of employment and refers to Michael MacMahon’s  essay “From Clare to Van Dieman’s Land – Some forgotten mothers of Tasmania” published in Tasmanian Ancestry, September 1998, pp 78-86 which describes the voyage of the Calcutta in detail.

On arrival in Hobart, the girls were placed in the Immigration depot situated on the ‘Old Wharf’ until they were placed in employment. The Depot remains as a physical symbol of the beginning of the girl’s new life in Tasmania. These days it houses a seafood restaurant called The Drunken Admiral.

If you are a descendant of one of the Tasmanian orphans and/or have any information relating to the girls, please get in touch with GIFCC at: