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“When you pick up your program, make sure you put a big circle around a performance of

The Good Girl: A Song Project.

We were delighted by it at Maldon. Helen’s songs are gritty, evocative and pull no punches. Jamie and Penelope contribute beautifully to the music on concertina and whistle and Penny and Penelope breathe life and warmth into the characters.


– Jane Harding, audience member

The Good Girl Song Project presents “Voyage”, a new theatrical song cycle that explores the precarious lives of immigrant women in 19th century Australia.

Songwriter and musician, Helen Begley and actor and singer, Penny Larkins established The Good Girl Song Project to produce original song cycles with theatrical elements and accompanying workshops that explore Australian women’s history. The Project’s main objectives are to raise awareness of women’s stories and to invite audiences and workshop participants to reflect on women’s place in their personal and community histories.

Pictured: A previous iteration of Voyage - Photo by  David Wayman

Penelope Swales, Helen Begley, Penny Larkins, Sally Taylor, Carmen O'Brien, Jamie Molloy


Liz Rushen

Voyage is largely based on the writing and research of Dr. Liz Rushen. Liz has been an enormous support to the Good Girl Song Project from its early beginnings. With books including Single and Free,  Colonial Duchesses, and The Merchant's Women, Liz' extraordinary knowledge of early migration to Australia, along with Helen's extensive research, has largely formed the historical backbone of our show.

Dr Liz Rushen is an historian, lecturer, researcher, author and publisher committed to community engagement in history and heritage.

Liz currently works in multiple fields as an historian (author, researcher and speaker), publisher (a director of Anchor Books Australia) and community engagement (a director of Melbourne Maritime Heritage Network and former chair, History Council of Victoria).

An independent scholar, Liz was awarded a PhD in history from Monash University in 1999. Writing under the name Elizabeth Rushen, she has published widely, mainly in the field of migration history and women in colonial Australia, including Single and Free: female migration to Australia, 1833-1837 and a social history, Bishopscourt Melbourne: official residence and family home. 


In 2018-2019 Liz was awarded a Creative Fellowship by the State Library Victoria to research the life and writings of Edmund Finn (‘Garryowen’), a project which is ongoing. Liz’s first biography was a study of the life of John Marshall, a nineteenth-century shipowner and emigration agent, who was actively involved in the reorganisation of Lloyd’s Register of Shipping and whose work had a huge impact on the Port Phillip District.


Liz regularly speaks at conferences, to community groups and local historical societies. She co-hosted a weekly history hour on ABC 774 in 2004 and since then has appeared on TV, in newspaper articles and has been interviewed for broadcast media.

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