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  • Open
  • Free general admission

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.

Highlights included the complete set of Kelly gang armour — seen together for the first time outside of Victoria, the Rajah quilt which was 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.

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.

Behind the scenes

Go behind the scenes to discover how curators overcame the challenges involved with handling the objects in Not Just Ned.

Go behind the scenes
Welcome messages Welcome messages from Ambassador of Ireland Máirtín Ó Fainín and Museum Director Andrew Sayers.
Irish in Australia background An essay by senior curator Richard Reid on the Irish in Australia.
Bushrangers Irish bushrangers, from the infamous Ned Kelly gang to gentleman bushranger Martin Cash.
Personal stories Visitors to Not Just Ned tell their own Irish stories through video.
Acknowledgements Not Just Ned was put together with the enthusiastic cooperation of many individuals and organisations.
Irish Studies Conference Exploration of the impact of Irish culture, religion, language and music in shaping Australian identity.

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.

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