THE ROMAN EMPEROR 1848The "ROMAN EMPEROR" was one of six ships participating in the PAUPER IMMIGRATION SCHEME,
and departed London via Plymouth in July 1848 with Captain Chapman, bound for South Australia.
She arrived in Adelaide on October 26th 1848, and followed in 1849
by the RAMILIES (arrived Adelaide March 24th, 1849, possible with some Irish orphans),
the "INCONSTANT", with 186 orphans, and afterwards by the ELGIN" with 196 orphans,
making in all 606 orphan girls sent from the Irish Workhouses to Adelaide.
The SOUTH AUSTRALIAN REGISTER (October 23, 1848) reported: This splendid emigrant ship has made a passage of less than three calendar months from England. The orphans were Irish girls from the Union houses of the North of Ireland, and professed Protestants. |
When the ROMAN EMPEROR arrived at Port Adelaide on October 26th 1848, they were not made to feel welcome. This was partly due to the newspapers warning that the colony would become a receptacle for thieves, juvenile bastards and prostitutes.
However, the girls on board on the ROMAN EMPEROR were reported as having been especially clean and orderly. By the time these female orphans arrived in Port Adelaide, almost half of them had their period for the first time.
The secretary of the Orphan Immigration Committee, M. Moorhouse informed parties 'desirous of engaging the services of any of these immigrants are requested to apply to the Emigration Agent or at the Native School'.|
The book IRISH ORPHAN GIRLS, BAREFOOT AND PREGNANT? stated that all the 246 orphans (238 female, 8 male) from the Irish Workhouses, were engaged by the Colonists within 14 days from their arrival in the Colony. To use the words of the Lieutenant Governor, "the first twenty who entered service having conducted themselves so creditably as to create a feeling as much in favour of the Emigrants as it had before been adverse".