Celebrating the Centenary of the Warwick Egg Incident

Saturday, 18 November 2017 saw a long day of celebrations at Warwick, Queensland to commemorate the centenary of the Warwick Egg Incident (WEGGI), when a couple of local lads egged the Australian prime minister, Billy Hughes. While it might be a little known incident today, 100 years ago it excited the nation.

The egging occurred on 29 November 1917 when Hughes, on his way back from Brisbane to Sydney by train, stopped at Warwick to deliver a pro-conscription address at the railway station.… Read the rest

18th Annual Gathering at the Great Irish Famine Monument

On 27 August 2017 I had the honour of giving an address at the 18th Annual Gathering at the Great Irish Famine Monument at Sydney’s Hyde Park Barracks. The monument commemorates the more than 4000 girls and young women who between 1848 and 1850 were recruited from workhouses run by the local Poor Law Unions in famine-ravaged Ireland and sent to Australia under a scheme attributed to the Secretary of State for the Colonies Earl Grey.… Read the rest

Battle of Messines: False Dawn for Soldiers Anzac and Irish

Jeff Kildea speaking on Battle of Messines in his 2017 Anzac Day Dawn Service address in Dublin

June 7 marks the centenary of the Battle of Messines, a battle in which Anzacs and Irishmen fought alongside each other.

Messines was a battle that promised hope on many levels: it was a battle well planned and well executed, one designed to minimise casualties, and a battle which had a successful outcome, up to then a rare occurrence for the Allies after 1914.… Read the rest

The 1967 referendum on Aborigines: influence of the Irish troika

The referendum of 27 May 1967 approved two amendments to the Australian constitution relating to Indigenous Australians. Endorsed by 90.77% of the votes cast and a majority of votes in all six states, the amendments empowered the federal parliament to legislate for the Aboriginal race in the states and included Aboriginal Australians in determinations of the population.… Read the rest

Hugh Mahon Biography

In the early years of the Common-wealth Hugh Mahon was one of Australia’s most controversial politicians, both revered and reviled. He has the distinction of being the only member expelled from the Commonwealth parliament. That was in 1920 after he criticised British rule in Ireland, leading the prime minister WM Hughes to accuse him of “seditious and disloyal utterances”.… Read the rest

Anzacs and The Rising: A Film by Stephen Kearney

As 2016, the centenary year of the Easter Rising, draws to a close a new film has just been released about the Anzacs who were caught up in the fighting in Dublin. The film “Anzacs and The Rising” by Stephen Kearney focuses on the death of Gerald Keogh, a rebel messenger shot dead by Anzac soldiers posted on the roof of Trinity College.… Read the rest

Battle of Kosturino: the Irish-Australian connection

December 7 marks the 101st anniversary of the Battle of Kosturino, a little-known action in the little-known Macedonian campaign during the very well-known First World War. While this minor clash in the Balkans in December 1915 is of little significance in the overall context of the war, its interest for me as an Australian is that the battle involved troops from the 10th (Irish) Division, recently transferred from Gallipoli where the division’s 29th Brigade had served alongside the Anzacs during the August offensive at Lone Pine, Quinn’s Post, Chunuk Bair and Hill 60.… Read the rest

22nd Australasian Irish Studies Conference, Adelaide

The Irish Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand held its 22nd conference at Flinders University, Adelaide from 29 November to 2 December 2016. The keynote speakers were Professor David Fitzpatrick (Trinity College Dublin), Professor Melanie Oppenheimer (Flinders University) and Dr Maggie Ivanova (Flinders University). Numerous other papers were given on various topics under the common theme of “Change, Commemoration, Community”.… Read the rest

Centenary of the 1916 Conscription Referendum

During the First World War the Australian government in 1916 and again in 1917 asked the Australian people to approve the introduction of military conscription for overseas service. On each occasion the Australian people by a narrow margin said no. The first referendum was held on 28 October 1916, just six months after the Easter rising in Dublin.

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Sydney Commemorates the Easter Rising



Sydney commemorates the Easter Rising: Outside Mitchell Library during a break in the screening of films on the Rising (Mike O’Flynn)

Under grey skies, reminiscent of weather in Dublin, a crowd of more than 300 gathered outside the GPO in Martin Place at 10 am on Easter Monday to hear Irish-Australian actor Maeliosa Stafford read the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, first read 100 years ago outside the GPO in Dublin.… Read the rest