The Irish and Australia — страница 3

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whereabouts or customs of the native aboriginal inhabitants of the outback. Burke's party, on their outward journey, was given sustenance by them on one occasion, when they were lost and without food. The expedition's sole survivor, Irishman ]ohn King, owed his life to the natives who took care of him for several months, feeding him on native plants unknown to white men. Today, the once uncharted and unknown outback is a tourist attraction with air-conditioned coaches traveling to see the rock cuttings and drawings of the Australian aboriginals, who carefully preserve their sacred rocks and caves and mysterious folklore -- their places as holy to them as any Christian holy shrine is to us. Nevertheless, all too little is known of the folklore and worship of the original native

inhabitants. For the first Irish settlers in Australia, it must have been an extraordinary change to see kangaroo, wallabies, emus, the black swan, the duck-billed platypus and a thousand different species of fish -- a sharp contrast to the Emerald Isle. The last chapter of Irish convicts in Australia was written in the adventures of the old whaling ship, The Catalpa. She was purchased by American Fenians and, flying the flag of the United States, succeeded in rescuing six Fenians -- Thomas Darragh, Martin Hogan, Michael Harrington, Thomas Hasset, Robert Cranston and James Wilson -- from Fremantle in April, 1876. The freed prisoners were released in New York in August, having successfully evaded capture by the British naval cutter, The Georgette. The exciting stories of the

adventures of the Irish convict political prisoners in Australia would make a dozen epic, action-packed movies! The average Australian with Irish roots today is generally aware that about half of the population has some link with Ireland, and that while only a small percentage of the original convict population were there for political "crimes, " the majority of ordinary coonvicts were being punished for offences which simply reflected the appalling defects of the landlord system which kept ordinary Irish people in hunger and in poverty. Many prisoners, who served their sentences as servants to their masters, became landowners in due course. In the late 1800s, the rush to get rid of as many poor and hungry people as possible resulted in assisted passage schemes taking

more than 100, 000 emigrants of Irish origin to the new colony, where they worked to repay the cost of their fares. Of these assisted emigrants, the majority came from Cork and Kerry, with counties Clare and Tipperary well to the fore, followed by many Presbyterians from the province of Ulster. Naturally, women were in short supply, and in the new wave of emigration, wives often came out free. The famous Caroline Chisolm devoted her life to encouraging girls to come out and marry in Australia, and she was particularly successful in attracting Irish girls as ideal wives for farmers. Irish names keep appearing in the limelight of Australia's literary and public life. From Armagh came Victor James Daley, reckoned by many to be one of the leading poets of Australia by virtue of two

volumes of his verse published there while he was a journalist. He died in Sydney in 1905. A contemporary of the poet was Sir Frederick Mathew Darley, a native of Wicklow, who became a lawyer in New South Wales, a member of the legislature, and chief justice in 1886. Before his death in 1910, he had reached the rank of Governor. From Elphin, in County Roscommon, came Roderick Flanagan who founded The Sydney Chroanicle and edited The Empire as well as being the author of The History of New South Wales, the province where he died in 1861. If you look at the map of North Western Australia today, you can see the first gold-mining area of Kimberley. It was discovered by the Irish geologist and surveyor, Edward Townley Hardman, who was born in the town of Drogheda in County Louth, in

1845, and who has a range of mountains named after him in Kimberley. One of Hardman's contemporaries was William Edward Hearn, born in Belturbet in the County of Cavan. Educated at the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity in Dublin, he became professor of Greek at Queen's University, Galway, and emigrated to Australia to become Dean of the University of Melbourne, where he was also a member of the legislative council of Victoria between 1845 and 1870. Well known for his political and academic works, he died in Melbourne in 1888. As with Irish emigration to the United States of America and to England, it was the custom for brothers and sisters, once established, to send for other members of their families, and frequently those families came from the same counties in Ireland