The Switherby Pilgrims

The Switherby Pilgrims


by Eleanor Spence

The setting for this story is the1820's immigration and is a suggested read aloud for Language Lessons from Australian History.

Miss Arabella Braithewaite of Switherby knows there is no future for the ten orphans--a remarkable mix of genteel and working class children--she has gathered together these years of England's grim factory growth in the early 1820s. Her plan, outrageous in the eyes of most, is to take the children to Australia to take up a land grant. Thus, one day the townsfolk gather to watch a line of departing "pilgrims" lead by the fearless "Missabella."

On a new continent, and after a daunting ocean voyage, the challenges begin. To the orphans it becomes a life-giving adventure, even when serious unexpected threats must be overcome. Australian author Eleanor Spence, writing with keen personal insight, sketches each child and adult's engagement with the new land and its people and with one another. From their courage we glimpse the futures of this unlikely band beginning to emerge with hope and personal dignity. Recommended for ages 10 and up.

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