Historical information

Mrs. R. Gordon is the President of the Victorian branch of the National Council of Women. The Memorial plaque to Caroline Chisholm stands on a rock in front of the Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS) Essendon Centre, and was unveiled at the time of the opening of the Centre on the 30th of August 1967.


Caroline Chisholm visited the goldfields of Victoria in 1854 and was horrified by the conditions en-route. The Memorial plaque to Caroline Chisholm, in front of the RDNS Essendon Centre, is in recognition for her work in establishing, with Government assistance, shelter sheds about a days walk apart, to enable the prospectors and their families shelter whilst heading to the goldfields. Caroline Chisholm, a Philanthropist, began her work in Madras in 1834, founding a Female School of Industry for the daughters of European soldiers. They were taught to read, write, cook, keep house and were given instructions in nursing. After coming to Sydney in 1838, she set up accommodation for poor young unemployed migrant women and families. This work was extended when she arranged employment in the countryside for assisted immigrant women and families, many times travelling with groups of young women to check their employment conditions. In seven years she placed 11,000 people in homes and employment. On her return to England she fought for, and won, free passage to Australia for wives and children of former convicts, and for children left behind in England by circumstances, when the family migrated. She established the Family Colonisation Loan Society in 1849, which set up a saving scheme for emigrants, and later loaned them half of their passage to Australia. The Society's Agents found them employment on arrival, and the loan was paid back within two years by a humane payment scheme. At first they used emigrant ships for passage, but then the Society provided ships with much improved conditions, and this led to the upgrading of the passenger Act.. The Chisholm's lived in Kyneton for several years, returning to Sydney for health reasons, before going back to England where Caroline died, aged 68 years, on the 25th of March 1877.

Physical description

Black and white photograph of Mrs. R, Gordon, wearing a dark coloured coat, black shoes, and a beret style white and black hat, pointing with her left hand to the unveiled Memorial plaque to Caroline Chisholm. The dark oblong plaque is adhered to a large rock.The British Flag can be seen in the foreground. Part of a building can be seen in the background; short glass windows can be seen above the brickwork on the left, with dark fascia above, and part of a large glass window to the right.

Inscriptions & markings

Photographers stamp. Quote No. GJ 58