The Kerry Girls: Emigration and the Earl Grey Scheme

By Kay Moloney Caball

Kerry Girls BookAs part of the controversial Earl Grey Scheme, this is the true story of the Kerry girls who were shipped to Australia from the four Kerry Workhouses of Dingle, Kenmare, Killarney and Listowel in 1849 and 1850.

Leaving behind scenes of destitution and misery, the girls, some of whom spoke only Irish, set off to the other side of the world without any idea of what lay ahead.

This book tells of the ‘selection’ and transportation to Australia of these Irish ‘Orphans’ their subsequent apprenticeship, and finally of their marriage and attempts to rebuild a life far from home.








  1.  Background to the Famine in Kerry
  2. Life in the Workhouse
  3. Circumstances in Australia
  4. Workhouse Decisions
  5. Background to the girls
  6. Voyage and Arrival
  7. Working Life & Marriage in Australia
  8. Pawns in an Imperial Struggle?

Conclusion:  An Opportunity or a Tragedy?

Appendix:    Orphan Database

Notes, Bibliography, Index