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The Tuam Workhouse girls who made a new life in Australia

Thursday, 13th June, 2019 2:41pm
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The Tuam Workhouse girls who made a new life  in Australia

RESEARCHER Martin Curley in Tuam.

The Tuam Workhouse girls who made a new life  in Australia

RESEARCHER Martin Curley in Tuam.

By Cathriona Coleman

THE sun-burnt landscape of Australia must have come as a shock to Mary Green when she landed in Sydney 170 years ago.
Fresh from the lushness of Galway, Mary was one of the second group of girls sent from the Tuam Workhouse to Australia as part of a scheme to provide wives for the overwhelmingly male population of the colony of New South Wales. When she arrived aboard the Inchinnan in 1849 she had left her mother Margaret behind her in Tuam.
Mary was successful in making a new life for herself in Australia. She married a Welsh blacksmith, Thomas Davis, in 1852 and they had 13 children.
One of their sons, Arthur, went on to become a well-known Australian writer who published under the pen name Steele Rudd.
Mary’s story has been uncovered by genealogist Martin Curley, who spoke about the Tuam girls who were sent to Australia at a recent meeting of the Old Tuam Society.
“Arthur’s son credits his Tuam grandmother with giving his father the chance at having an education, and a great sense of humour; Tuam humour!
“Mary valued education, something she possibly picked up in the Tuam area,” says Martin. “She got her son a job as a clerk, kind of like one of the local dignitaries. It was through this work that he was able to start writing about the experiences his parents went through living in Ireland.”

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