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The Not Just Ned exhibition developed by the National Museum of Australia features objects which help to tell a story of the Irish building new lives in Australia in fields including politics, religion, education and the arts.
In 1888 Irish-born journalist James Francis Hogan felt that his countrymen and women had created a 'New Ireland in Australia'. But the truth was much more complex.
Eighty percent of the Irish emigrants in Australia were Catholic and they faced prejudice for their religious views, support of Irish nationalism and a separate school system.
Stories featured here include that of Eureka leader Peter Lalor, the Kelly gang, the Fenian political prisoners rescued from Fremantle, outspoken archbishop Daniel Mannix, prime minister Ben Chifley and poet Vincent Buckley.
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Ben and Elizabeth Chifley, 1940s
Ben and Elizabeth Chifley, 1940s. Bathurst Historical Society, New South Wales.
Ben Chifley (1885–1951) and Elizabeth McKenzie were married in a Presbyterian Church in 1914. Chifley, who later became Australia's 16th prime minister, was Irish Catholic on all sides of his family. McKenzie was a Presbyterian with Scottish parents who were not in favour of her converting to Catholicism.
Chifley never deserted his church, despite its ruling that his marriage outside the church was invalid. In Canberra he often attended mass at St Christopher's Catholic Church, now a cathedral, where he sat at the back on what is now preserved there as 'Chif's chair'.
1798 Memorial, Waverley, Sydney
1798 Memorial, Waverley Cemetery, Sydney. Photo: Lannon Harley.
In Waverley Cemetery, Sydney, is one of the greatest monuments to Irish national feeling in the world, the 1798 Memorial. It was built between 1898 and 1900 to commemorate the great rebellion of 1798 against British rule in Ireland. Hundreds of '1798' rebels were transported to Sydney.
The memorial is also a tomb. Beneath it lie the remains of Michael Dwyer and his wife, Mary. After the rebellion, Dwyer and his men successfully avoided capture in the mountains until they surrendered in 1803, on condition of being exiled to the United States. Instead, they were sent to Australia, but as political exiles, not convicts.
Portrait of Michael Dwyer
Portrait of Michael Dwyer, bronze, from the 1798 Memorial. Waverley Cemetery, Sydney. Photo: Lannon Harley.
Irishman Michael Dwyer was one of the rebels from the 1798 Rebellion who was exiled to Australia.
Known as the 'Wicklow Chief', Dwyer had great support among the ordinary people of County Wicklow. Despite many forceful house-to-house searches in the area, and the harassment of his relatives, he was never betrayed. He surrendered himself to magistrate William Hume in December 1803.
Despite his enthusiastic involvement in the armed rebellion, once he had served his sentence in Australia, Dwyer became a police constable. He never returned to Ireland.
Dwyer is buried with his wife, Mary, underneath the 1798 Memorial at Wavereley Cemetery in Sydney.
The Battle of Oulart Hill frieze
The Battle of Oulart Hill frieze, bronze, from the 1798 Memorial, Waverley Cemetery, Sydney. Photo: Lannon Harley.
Sydney's 1798 Memorial is an elaborate structure. Apart from numerous inscriptions, there are bronze bas reliefs of the heads of five significant Irish rebel leaders. They also show the arrest of Lord Edward Fitzgerald and the victory of the Irish rebels over uniformed British forces known as the Battle of Oulart Hill.