Disorder in the House

The Victorian parliament is in the news a lot these days, mostly for the wrong reasons. Google “Victorian parliament” and the results over the past month frequently include words such as “chaotic scenes”, “turmoil”, “mess”. In this finely balanced parliament, with the speaker under fire from the Labor opposition and from an independent member who holds the balance of power, members are not behaving as paragons of propriety.… Read the rest

Searching for Irish-Australia in Canada

Next week I am off to North America to see what I can find out about Hugh Mahon’s time there from 1869 to 1880. Mahon, the Irish-Australian politician who is the subject of a biography I am researching was a 12 year old schoolboy when the family landed in New York City in March 1869. From there they travelled to Ontario, Canada, where they lived for four years on a farm in Oxford County before returning to New York State and settling in Albany, where Hugh trained as a printer and journalist.… Read the rest

2013 International Irish Famine Commemoration in Sydney

Sydney played host this weekend (23-25 August) to the 5th International Famine Commemoration, marking the occasion with a dinner, a seminar and the annual gathering at the monument to the Great Irish Famine in the grounds of the Hyde Park Barracks. Previously, the event has been held in Toronto (2009), New York (2010), Liverpool (2011) and Boston (2012).… Read the rest

Cricket: When Irish Eyes are Smiling

My wife and I have just returned from a cricketing tour of England with the Sydney Cricket Ground XI that included two days at Lord’s for the second Ashes Test. The atmosphere at Lord’s was fantastic – too bad about the cricket. It was not long ago that as an Irish-Australian I took delight in the way Australia used to put England to the sword whenever the two teams played the game the English had invented.… Read the rest

Digitised Newspapers on Irish-Australia

The good news for those interested in Irish-Australian history is that two Australian Catholic newspapers The Freeman’s Journal (1850-1932) and The Catholic Press (1895-1942) are now being made available online. Trove, the National Library of Australia’s online research service, has for a number of years been digitising Australian newspapers and uploading them to its digitised newspapers website.… Read the rest

Redmond Brothers’ Tour of Australia 1883

For ten months in 1883 John Redmond and his brother William toured Australia and New Zealand promoting the cause of Irish self-government and raising funds for the Irish National League. The Redmond brothers’ tour has received limited coverage in the published literature despite the length of the visit, the public controversy it caused and the significance which some historians have ascribed to it.… Read the rest

Anzac Day and the Irish Anzacs

For Australians, April brings to mind Anzac Day, the annual commemoration of those Australians who died or served in all conflicts in which Australia has been involved. The day itself – 25 April – is the anniversary of the landing in 1915 of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) at Gallipoli in Turkey. Eight months later the troops were evacuated having gained little more in ground than that which they had captured on the first day.… Read the rest

Easter Rising

The 97th anniversary of the Easter Rising falls on 24 April. Commemorations of this momentous event in Irish history usually occur on Easter weekend but it is not often that the calendar anniversary and Easter coincide. This year they are almost a month apart. In Sydney we had the usual Easter Sunday Mass at the 1798 Memorial in Waverley Cemetery, where Kerry Casey gave an interesting address on the participation in the Irish War of Independence of Australian soldiers from the First World War.… Read the rest

Saint Patrick’s Day in Sydney

Saint Patrick’s Day has come and gone, yet again. In Sydney the day was marked with many events stretching over a couple of weeks. St Patrick’s Day is very rapidly becoming St Patrick’s month. A ball, many lunches and dinners and the annual parade were all well attended. But it has not always been so. The celebrations of St Patrick’s Day have waxed and waned over the years and have taken many forms. … Read the rest