The Emigrants' Friend

Author: Richanrd Conlon, Publisher: Phoenix

The Emigrant’s Friend is a play suitable for students Years 7 to 10 which charts the life of philanthropist Caroline Chisholm from her girlhood in an English village at the start of the 19th century to the good works she did in India and Australia. It mixes imagined dialogue with factual records and reportage to weave the tale of a life which touched so many others. The play chronicles the school she established for the daughters of servicemen in Madras and her subsequent work on ‘feminising’ the penal colony of Sydney before she pushed on into the rest of Australia.

The re-telling of this life is seen through the eyes of six contemporary characters: young drama students who have been charged with making a piece about Chisholm. They debate how a play can ever articulate a whole life, what liberties they can take and whether it is fair to see a 19th century character through 21st century eyes. The students also ask if everything Chisholm did was actually ‘good’, or did she just look after her own at the expense of indigenous people?

A complex play which asks serious questions about our responsibilities to the wider worlds and the role of drama within it, the text spans six decades in the life of a woman who may not have been a saint, but was certainly extraordinary.

More Information
Year Level Year 7, Year 8, Year 9, Year 10
ISBN 9781921586729
Subject Creative Arts, Drama