top of page


Liz Rushen writes under the name Elizabeth Rushen


Elizabeth Rushen 

Garryowen Unmasked: The Life of Edmund Finn

Anchor Books Australia, Melbourne, 2022

ISBN: 97809 8033 5491-1, paperback, pp.195

Edmund Finn (1819-98), Irish immigrant, journalist, raconteur and eyewitness to the development of the Port Phillip District, is best known as ‘Garryowen’, author of The Chronicles of Early Melbourne 1835-1852. His lively writing, essential to any appreciation of pre-separation Victoria, brings to life this often-neglected period and place. Yet little has been written about the man himself, his actions or attitudes, or the influences that shaped him.


Finn’s exposure to troubled times in Ireland during his youth was a major influence on his later politics and world view. Migrating to Melbourne in 1841, this well-educated man lived for more than fifty years in colonial Melbourne, passionate about his religion, actively engaged with his community while never forgetting the home he had left behind. This book explores the life of this talented man and the ways in which he contributed to the creation of a new society in Melbourne through his writing, his speeches and his leadership of the St Patrick’s Society.

Victorian Community History Award 2023

Frank O’Shea, ‘The Story of Early Melbourne’, Tinteán, 10 January 2023

Marshall cover (002).JPG

Elizabeth Rushen 

John Marshall: Shipowner, Lloyd's reformer and emigration agent

Anchor Books Australia, Sydney, 2020

ISBN 9780648061663, paperback, pp.206

John Marshall assisted thousands of people to migrate in the nineteenth century from Great Britain and Ireland to the British colonies of Australia, Canada, Cape Town, New Zealand and North America. Immigration was as controversial in the nineteenth century as it is today. This book tells the story of the most active emigration agent of the nineteenth-century, John Marshall, and the processes he developed to ensure a smooth process from departure at his emigration depot at Plymouth to arrival in the colonies.


Marshall’s work also impacts the world today through Lloyd's Register of Shipping by instigating a review of the classification of ships and the merger of the red and green registers used by Lloyd’s shipowners and underwriters. This book explains how an unknown insurance broker from Yorkshire could rise to be a key player in London’s ship owning and merchant world of the early nineteenth century.

Stephen Wilks, Victorian Historical Journal, Journal of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria, Vol. 92, No. 1, June 2021, pp.217-220
Christine Sanderson, Descent, Journal of the Society of Australian Genealogists, June 2020, Vol. 50, Part 2, p.44


Elizabeth Rushen

Single & Free: female migration to Australia, 1833-1837

Anchor Books Australia, Melbourne, Updated Edition 2011

ISBN 9780648009214, paperback, pp.350

Single & Free is about the scheme administered by the London Emigration Committee to assist free women to migrate to Australia from Great Britain and IreIand. In the 1830s, approximately 3,000 women took advantage of this scheme, representing an enormous influx to the population of the two eastern colonies of Australia.

The book analyses the women's motivations and life-experiences, challenging contemporary criticisms that  they were the 'sweepings of the gutters'. Many women migrated in family groups, or were joining family and friends in the colonies. They came from a wide cross-section of nineteenth-century society. They were bold and enterprising, and made ideal workers and wives in the new colonies.

Single & Free provides life histories of many of the women who took part in this scheme and provides an  index of all the women and their ship of arrival.

Miranda Walker, Lilith, No 13, 2004, pp144-145
Kirsten McKenzie, University of Sydney, Journal of Australian Studies Review of Books, Online Issue 26, August 2004


Elizabeth Rushen and Kathlyn Gibson

Anastasia: from Callan to Stockyard Creek

Anchor Books Australia, Sydney, 2017

ISBN 9780002467197, paperback, pp.172

In 1855 Anastasia Burke, a 27 year old woman from Callan, County Kilkenny, Ireland, migrated to Adelaide, South Australia. For many post-Famine Irish emigrants there was no guarantee of a welcome in the host country and the following year, the South Australian government launched an enquiry into the influx of single Irishwomen to its shores.

Anastasia stayed in South Australia for ten years before joining the exodus to the new goldfields in Victoria. Stockyard Creek, a goldfield in South Gippsland, ultimately became her permanent home. Widowed after a brief marriage to William Thornley, Anastasia was a successful businesswoman who owned several gold mines and blocks of land in South Gippsland and the biggest hotel in town, the Exchange. Anastasia visited her homeland in 1901 and returned to Victoria to renovate her hotel in palatial style. She was tough and she was a survivor.

This is the story of one remarkable Irish immigrant to nineteenth-century Australia and her never-failing support of Irish causes. Her legacy resonates today in both Callan and Foster (formerly Stockyard Creek).


Elizabeth Rushen and Perry McIntyre

Fair Game: Australia’s first immigrant women

Anchor Books Australia, Sydney, 2010

ISBN 9780980335439, paperback, pp.245

Young women as fair game?


In 1832, the British government sent 400 young single women to Sydney and Hobart on two ships–the Red Rover from Cork and Princess Royal from London–to balance the male-dominated societies. Viewed as colourful butterflies alighting on the antipodean shores, the women were ‘fair game’ for employers and potential husbands.


This book analyses how this migration was allowed to happen while telling the women’s stories, describing who netted them in the hiring scramble and how they ultimately spread their wings.


Elizabeth Rushen and Perry McIntyre

The Merchant's Women

Anchor Books Australia, Sydney, 2008

ISBN 9780980335415, paperback, pp.259

The Merchant’s Women is the story of over 200 young single women who left Britain in 1833 in the first ship to carry women from England to settle in the emerging colony of New South Wales. The title of the book reflects the ship’s name, the Bussorah Merchant, and the concept that the sex and labour of the female passengers were saleable commodities.

While their labour and potential as wives and mothers were valued in the colony, the authors contend that the female migrants on the Bussorah Merchant were enterprising women who responded to advertisements which attracted them to migrate to far-away Australia. Each woman’s story is told in this book.


Lucy Frost: Australasian Journal of Irish Studies, Vol. 12, 2012, pp.164-66


Elizabeth Rushen

Colonial Duchesses: the migration of Irish women to New South Wales before the Great Famine

Anchor Books Australia, Sydney 2014

ISBN 9780992467104, paperback, pp.246

In just two years, 750 young Irish women sailed from Cork to Sydney on the Duchess of Northumberland in 1834 and again in 1836 the James Pattison in 1835. For the women who took the courageous decision to emigrate, the pain of leaving Ireland was mixed with the excitement of forging a new life in the colony of New South Wales. This book examines the backgrounds and lives of these young women whose experiences are representative of countless single women who migrated to Australia during the nineteenth century. This book adds to the scholarship of Irish-Australian inter-relationships.


Babette Smith, Journal of Australian Colonial History, Vol. 17, 2015, pp.192-193

Patrick FitzGerald, Australasian Journal of Irish Studies, Vol. 15, 2015, pp.111-113

Quarantined cover.jpg

Perry McIntyre and Elizabeth Rushen

Quarantined! The 1837 Lady Macnaghten immigrants

Anchor Books Australia, Sydney, 2007

ISBN 97809980335408, paperback, pp.206

Quarantined! is about the first full ship to bring Irish family migrants to Australia. When the Lady Macnaghten   set sail from Cork Harbour in October 1836 it contained over 400 emigrants, including 80 single women.

When the ship limped into Sydney Harbour in February 1837, disease was raging on board and the immigrants and crew were dying from typhoid. It was one of the first uses of Spring Cove as a quarantine station and one of the most deadly.

This is the story of these brave people who chose to leave Britain and pre-Famine Ireland in search of a new beginning in a new country.


Janet McCalman, Australasian Journal of Irish Studies, Vol. 7, 2007/08, pp.98-100


Elizabeth Rushen

Bishopscourt Melbourne: official residence and family home

Mosaic Publications, Melbourne 2013, Anglican Diocese of Melbourne 2017

ISBN 9780648009214, paperback, pp.350

Bishopscourt is one of the last surviving pre-gold rush house and garden complexes within the City of Melbourne. Set in an Arcadian landscape, it was designed as an Italianate villa by James Blackburn, one of Melbourne's leading architects. The building was extended fifty years later by Arts and Crafts advocate Walter Richmond Butler, and although it has been renovated and refurbished over the years, the original building remains largely intact. The centre of diocesan life, Bishopscourt was built as the family home of Melbourne's Anglican bishops and archbishops and their wives. For the fourteen women whose task it was to manage her private household, Bishopscourt represented a unique challenge. Each of these women interpreted her role in her own way and each maintained the tradition of generous hospitality, but such a life was not without cost. This illustrated book focuses on the work and lives of these women


Liz Rushen, ‘Anastasia Burke: female immigrant, businesswoman, community leader’ in Irish Women in the Antipodes, Wakefield Press, South Australia, 2024


Liz Rushen, 'John Dixey' in Alison Alexander (ed.), Repression, Reform & Resilience: a history of the Cascades Female Factory Convict Women’s Press, Hobart, 2016


Liz Rushen (ed.), Prom Country: a history, Foster & District Historical Society, South Gippsland, 2014

Liz Rushen, ‘Mobile female immigrants: escapism or enterprise?’, in Margrette Kleinig and Eris Richards (eds), On The Wing: mobility before and after emigration to Australia, Visible Immigrants Seven, School of International Studies, Flinders University, South Australia, 2013, pp.35-50

Liz Rushen, 'An immigrant woman in the convict system: Ann Winfield' in Alison Alexander (ed.) Convict Lives: the Launceston Female Factory, Convict Women’s Press, Hobart, 2013

Andrew Brown-May and Shurlee Swaine (eds), Encyclopaedia of Melbourne, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, 2005



Liz Rushen, ‘The Bishop and the Lieutenant-Governor’, La Trobeana, Journal of the C.J. La Trobe Society, Vol. 22, No. 1, March 2023, pp.27-35, ISSN 1447-4026


Liz Rushen, ‘Memoralising Early Melbourne: ‘Garryowen’s’ Historical, Anecdotal and Personal Perspective’, The Australasian Journal of Irish Studies, Vol. 22, 2022, pp.32-52, ISSN 1837-1094


Liz Rushen, John Marshall and the Peopling of Australia, The Great Circle, Journal of the Australian Association for Maritime History, Vol. 42, No. 1, 2020, pp.1-21

Liz Rushen, 'Garryowen: the voice of early Melbourne', La Trobeana, Journal of the C.J. La Trobe Society, Vol. 18, No. 3, November 2019, pp.18-26

Liz Rushen, ‘James Denham Pinnock: A Gentleman in Society’, Victorian Historical Journal, Vol. 88, No. 2, November 2017, pp.170-188

Liz Rushen, ‘Marriage Options for Immigrant Women in Colonial Australia in the 1830s’ Journal of Australian Colonial History, August 2014, pp.111-126

Liz Rushen, ‘Bettering their condition: female emigration to Australia before the Great Famine’, Old Limerick Journal, No. 48, Winter, 2014, pp.12-16


Liz Rushen, ‘Margaret Mclean and the Monster Petition: ‘We want laws which will make it easy to do right and difficult to do wrong’, Circa, Journal of Professional Historians, Issue 1, 2010, pp.47-52

Elizabeth Rushen, 'Not the very lowest and poorest classes’: Irish Female Assisted Immigration to Australia in the 1830s’, The Australasian Journal of Irish Studies, Vol. 9, 2009, pp.52-72


Elizabeth Rushen, ‘The Colonisation of Australia: Evangelicals and Emigration’, Our Yesterdays, Journal of the BHSV, Vol. 13, 2006, pp.24-45

Liz Rushen, ‘The Refuge for the Destitute and female emigration to Australia’, Hackney History, Journal of the Friends of Hackney Archives, London, Vol. 10, 2004, pp.11-18.


Elizabeth Rushen, ‘Margaret McLean: caring power in social reform’, Our Yesterdays, Journal of the BHSV, Vol. 10, 2002, pp.122-131


Liz Rushen, ‘The role of the Refuge for the Destitute in Immigration to Australia 1832-1836’, Australian Studies, Journal of the British Australian Studies Association, Vol. 12, No. 1, Summer 1997, pp.54-70

bottom of page