Thomas & Eliza Little


Thomas and Eliza Little emigrated from Ireland in 1823 and, despite the rigours of their early lives and unlike so many emigrants, found success in foreign lands. This book will be fascinating to those interested in the lives of Irish emigrants, to historians of British India and Western Australia and of the pioneer Catholic church. Thomas enlisted as a gunner in the army of the Honourable East India Company and, with Eliza, sailed to a totally new existence.

The book describes in detail the horrors of their four month sea voyage and the hard life of a soldier. However, Thomas and Eliza rose above this, to mix with the greatest in Bengal society. They sailed to set up a new enterprise in the fledgling colony of Western Australia; horse breeding and racing, farming, prize-winning wine production. The book describes the social, political and economic life of the new colony, its struggles, successes and failures. Thomas and Eliza were in the thick of all this and Thomas is still revered today as a founding father of Western Australia. Dardanip Park Thomas and Eliza built. They both played a vital part in establishing the Catholic church there. Eliza suffered the great privations and indignities of a soldier’s wife but played an active and vital part in their successful partnership. This story brings her out of the shadows as an active, intelligent and fun person. Thomas and Eliza started their lives with nothing and ended them with nothing but on life’s journey they demonstrated love, ambition, risk taking and philanthropy. They overcame discrimination and natural disaster by holding firm to their Christian belief and they are still revered as good people nearly two hundred years later.

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