The Switherby Pilgrims
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 in these years of England’s grim factory growth in the early 1820s. Her plan, quite 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” led 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.