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Not Just Ned: A true history of the Irish in Australia

Not Just Ned: A true history of the Irish in Australia revealed the extraordinary influence of the Irish in Australia, from the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, to the continuing influx of young Irish backpackers today. From politics and religion, to industry, art, music and dance, the Irish have had a far-reaching influence on Australia.

A locket containing an image of Les Darcy
Les Darcy locket. Photo: Jason McCarthy.

Highlights included the complete set of Kelly gang armour — seen together for the first time outside of Victoria; the Rajah quilt, sewn by convict women as they sailed from England to Tasmania in 1841; the pistol which explorer Robert O'Hara Burke had in his hand when he died in 1861; Cardinal Patrick Moran's magnificent replica of the Cross of Cong brought to Australia in the 1890s; and the 1993 Melbourne Cup won by Vintage Crop.

Featuring nearly 500 rare and unique objects from Australian and international collections, this exhibition remembered the Irish immigrants, and their descendants, who made this continent their home, and helped create a uniquely Australian way of life.

Learn more about the exhibition

Explore stories of the Irish Arriving, Settling, Building a new life, and maintaining A continuing presence 

See conservators working with the Kelly gang armour

Not Just Ned: A true history of the Irish in Australia was on show at the National Museum of Australia from 17 March to 31 July 2011 in the Temporary Exhibition Gallery.

Irish family history

The exhibition may be over but you can still explore your Irish family history on our website. We've sorted through some of the many websites developed by and for family history researchers to bring you a quick overview with tips to get you started, a gateway to Irish family history sites, a timeline of key events and surprising pathways to research Irish convict history.

Exhibition Sponsors

The History Channel, Major Sponsor
Embassy of Ireland, Partner.

Resource Room Supporters

ancestry.com.au

Heraldry and Genealogy Society of Canberra


Waterford Crystal
Department of Foreign Affairs of Ireland


Tourism Ireland



Plush, think sofas

Buttlers Chocolates


Public Program Supporter

Culture Ireland, promoting Irish arts worldwide

Banner image: Armour worn by Ned Kelly, State Library of Victoria.