Irish orphan girls to be remembered

A GYMEA genealogist is looking forward to a city ceremony which will honour her ancestor.

Orphan girl ancestor: Aileen Trinder has discovered links to her past. Picture: Anna Warr

Orphan girl ancestor: Aileen Trinder has discovered links to her past. Picture: Anna Warr

Aileen Trinder has pored through land, parish and shipping records, and even newspapers to confirm she is a descendant of one of the 4000 Irish orphan girls who came to Sydney as a result of Irish Famine conditions in the 1840s.

In Ireland the girls were destitute and many were in workhouses, but a scheme devised by the British Home Secretary Earl Grey gave them hope of jobs as domestic servants and the chance to marry the young men of the colony.

Most of the girls who arrived here were aged 14-20 years old. Mrs Trinder's ancestor was the fatherless Bridget Quigley, 16, who arrived on the last orphan girls' ship to arrive in Sydney, the Tippoo Saib, in 1850.

An older cousin accompanied her, and later Bridget's half-sister came out too.

Bridget would go on to marry an English dairyman, George Dagworthy, at St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney.

"Bridget couldn't write and when she married she just left her mark, a cross, on the paperwork," Mrs Trinder said.

The couple went on to live in a number of places including Jinglemoney near Braidwood.

Their first daughter died of tuberculosis and they went on to have six children, including twins.

It was the twin Ellen who married James Cannane, and gave birth to John Cannane, who in turn became Mrs Trinder's father.

This year is of special significance to Mrs Trinder as Sydney marks the event.

The Irish Minister for Heritage Jimmy Deeniham will attend a commemoration ceremony on Sunday, August 25, at Hyde Park Barracks, where the girls were first housed on their arrival here.

This follows a dinner at Parliament House on August 23 and there will be a seminar on the Saturday. There are varying admission prices for all events.

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