Carly Mills, Pioneer Girl by Jane Smith

May 15, 2020

Carly Mills, Pioneer Girl is a series about a little girl – Carly – who travels back in time to have adventures with some of the strong and influential women of the past.

In the first episode, A New World, country girl Carly is visiting family friends in Sydney when, with the aid of a magic shawl discarded in a museum, she travels back to 1841 and finds herself face-to-face with the ‘Emigrant’s Friend’, Caroline Chisholm. Each episode will feature a different historical figure, such as Dr Lilian Cooper, Dame Nellie Melba, Florence Nightingale and Amelia Earhart. Carly and her friends travel backwards and forwards in time, meeting these icons at different periods of their life. They experience first-hand the hazards faced by women throughout history: servant life and chamber pots; limited career options; unscrupulous men preying on vulnerable immigrants; unchecked sexism; a lack of electricity; horse-drawn vehicles – and corsets. Carly sees women overcoming these difficulties and, by applying their lessons to modern life, discovers the timeless value of friendship, kindness and courage. 

Carly made a brief appearance in the ‘Tommy Bell, Bushranger Boy’ series, but I thought that this straight-talking, no-nonsense girl needed a series of her own. And what better way to bring her to life than to let her share the stage with some of the female pioneers who paved the way to a better world?

The role of women in shaping our history is not as well documented as it should be. Through Carly Mills’ adventures with remarkable historical women, I wanted to show children – without being didactic or preachy – what extraordinary contributions they made to our society. 

And above all, my main hope with the Carly Mills books is that young readers will simply enjoy a rollicking good story!

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