In this episode of Free Thinking, Michaela Benson joins Laurence Scott to discuss emigration stories. The episode also features Eliza Showell’s great niece Black Country poet Liz Berry, Leanne McCormick and Elaine Farrell presenters of the Bad Bridget podcast which tells the stories of crime poverty and survival experienced by the thousands of 19th-century Irish women who saw their American Dream become a nightmare, banditry historian Meg Foster who has written about the history of bushrangers – symbols of Australian identity with roots in English highway robbery.
In 1908 twelve-year-old orphan Eliza Showell was sent from Birmingham to Nova Scotia as a ‘Home Child’ to work in domestic service. In 1891 eighteen-year-old Marion Canning not long arrived in New York City from County Leitrim went ‘up the Bowery to have some supper with a gentleman friend’, and ended up sentenced to seven years in prison. In 1827 Bolton born bricklayer turned burglar Ralph Entwistle arrived in Sydney with 187 other convicts; three years later he sparked the ‘Bathurst Rebellion’.
Producer: Ruth Thomson