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Major exhibition on the Irish in Australia opens at the National Museum

17 MARCH 2011

The epic story of the Irish in the history of Australia is told in a major exhibition at the National Museum of Australia which opens in Canberra on St Patrick's Day, March 17, 2011.

The exhibition, Not Just Ned: A true history of the Irish in Australia, takes visitors on a journey to Australia with the Irish, from the dawn of European settlement to the present day. On display are more than 450 objects, large and small, from public institutions and private collections all over Australia, Ireland, the United States and New Zealand.

The remarkable objects tell the story of emigration and settlement in every State and Territory, of how the Catholic education system preserved the culture of ancient Ireland. For the first time, in a national exhibition, all four suits of the Kelly Gang armour stand together.

"The history of the Irish in Australia is the type of history the National Museum of Australia is ideally placed to tell. One of the National Museum's important roles is to bring the past to life and connect it with the present. And true to this idea, this exhibition does not leave the great story dangling in centuries gone but brings it right up to today," said Andrew Sayers, Director of the National Museum of Australia.

"The National Museum has had great support from associations, museums, libraries and archives in loaning objects for the exhibition. I would like to acknowledge the enthusiastic support we have had from the Ambassador and Embassy of Ireland and the Australian Irish community, far and wide," Mr Sayers said.

Not Just Ned: A true history of the Irish in Australia is on show at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra from March 17 to 31 July 2011. Admission charges apply. For more information about the exhibition visit: http://www.nma.gov.au/exhibitions/irish_in_australia/

Stories of objects in the exhibition from every State and Territory and an overview of Not Just Ned: A true history of the Irish in Australia by Senior Curator Richard Reid are available on the National Museum's website: Media resources: Not Just Ned.

For interviews, images and more information please contact Dennis Grant on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481 or Caroline Vero on 02 6208 5338, 0438 620 710 or media@nma.gov.au