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THE IRISH IN AUSTRALIA.



b



BY THE SAME AUTHOR.

AN AUSTRALIAN CHRISTMAS COLLECTION..

A Series of Colonial Stories, Sketches, and Literary Essays. \

203 Pages, handsomely bound in green and gold. Price Five Shillings.



A VEKY pleasant and entertaining book has reached us from Melbourne. The
author, Mr. J. F. Hogan, is a young Irish- Australian, who, if we are to judge
from the captivating style of the present work, has a brilliant future before him.
Mr. Hogan is well known in the literary and Catholic circles of the Australian
Colonies, and we sincerely trust that the volume befoi-e us will have the effect of
making him known to the Irish people at home and in America. Under the title
of "An Australian Christmas Collection," Mr. Hogan has repubhshed a series of
fugitive writings which he had previously contributed to Australian periodicals,
and which have won for the author a high place in the literary world of the
Southern hemisphere. Some of the papers deal with Irish and Catholic subjects.
They are written in a racy and elegant style, and contain an amount of highly
interesting matter relative to our co-religionists and fellow-countrymen under the
Southern Cross. A few papers deal with inter-Colonial politics, and we think that '
home readers will find these even more entertaining than those which deal more
immediately with the Irish element.

*******
We have quoted sufficiently from this charming book to show its merits. Our
readers will soon hear of Mr. Hogan again, for he has in preparation a work on |'
the "Irish in Australia,'" which, we are confident, will prove very interesting to\\
the Irish people in every land. We know too little about the fortimes of our '
countrymen abroad. We are, unhappily, so engrossed in the mighty struggle
which we are waging with wrong and oppression that we sometimes forget to
think of those whom the fortunes of the strife sent forth from our shores, and
anything which helps to foster that spirit of union, which is so charn.teristic of
the Ireland of the present day, ought to be received as a boon for which we could
not be too grateful. We must not forget, too, how nobly the Au.'^tralian Irish
have stood by us in the pre.sent struggle, and that time and distance have but
strengthened their love and devotion to the land of their forefathers. In con-
clusion, we feel great pleasure in acknowledging how much credit is due to
Mr. Hogan for devoting abilities of great promise to cement the union existing
b«tween Ireland and her exiled children in Au.stralia.

TJu Xtiiiou, Dublin, February 19, 1887.



THE IRISH



IN



AUSTRALIA



JAMES FRANCIS HOGAN.



AUSTRALIAN EDITION



GEOKGE ROBERTSON & CO., MELBOURNE & SYDNEY



PKINTED BY

KELI/Y AND CO., GATK STREET, LINCOLN'S INN FIELDS, \f.C.

AND MIDDLE MILL, KINGSTON-ON-THAMES.



LOAN STACK






PREFACE



It is now some tive years since T ronceived the idea of
writing a history of my fellow-countrymen in Australasia,
but it was only within the last year or two that I could
find sufficient time to make any material progress with
the undertaking, although I had been collecting the
materials for some period in advance. To all those old
Irish colonists, to whom I applied for general reminis-
cences or specific information, and who very kindly,
readily, and fully complied with my request, I am deeply
indebted for a variety of interesting details concerning the
events of the early days that were not otherwise obtain-
able. Written for the most part in Melbourne, the work
was subjected to a thorough revision during my recent
three weeks' voyage across the Pacific from Sydney to
San Francisco, and the seven days on the Atlantic
between New York and Liverpool. We are now at the
close of the first century of colonisation in Australia, and
the time is therefore opportune for an estimate of the
influence exercised by the Irish element of the population
on the remarkable growth and development of the 0-reater
Britain of the South. Having lived in Australia from
childhood, I have endeavoured, not I hope without some
success, to present in this volume a faithful panorama of
Irish life, Irish history, and Irish achievements in the
land I know and love so well.



^^^ J. F. HOGAN.



London, October bth, 1887.



CONTENTS.



CHAP. PJ^Of.

I. — A Survey of the South 1

II. — Greater Britain's Metropolis 18

III. — The Story of Burke and Will* 45

IV. — A Birthplace of Freedom ....... 57

V. — A Golden City ......... 88

VI.— A Few Irish Centres 100

VII. — Irish Immigrants in the Colonies 130

V^IU. — The Voyage op the " Erin-go-Bragh '* .... 155

IX.— The Mother of the Australia* 179

X.— Four of the Family . . 195

XI. — The Church in the Colonies 225

XII. — A Group of STATEttAiEN ....... 265

XIU. — Notable Irish-Australians 308

XIV. — Literature, Science and Art 328

XV. — Irish-Australian CHAKACTKRi*Tir« 341



THE IRISH IN AUSTRALIA.



CHAPTER I.

A SURVEY OF THE SOUTH.

A NEW IRELAND IN AUSTRALIA-TWO STREAMS OF EMIGRATION-HOME
RULE IN THE COLONIES— FOUR IRISH SPEAKERS— SUCCESSES OF IRISH-
AUSTRALIANS IN SEVERAL SPHERES— FRATERNAL SYMPATHY WITH THE
IRISH AT HOME— HISTORY OF COLONIZATION— BUCKLEY, "THE WILD
WHITE MAN"— SIR RICHARD BOURKE, BEST OF COLONIAL GOVERNORS—
THE AGITATION FOR HOME RULE IN VICTORIA— DISCOVERY OF GOLD—
THE IRISH ARMY OF DIGGERS— COLONIAL PROGRESS.

" A NEW Ireland in America " is a familiar phrase to Celtic
and Saxon ears, but a " New Ireland in Australia " will
perhaps be a rather novel expression to many. Yet the
words in the latter case convey the idea of an accomplished
fact, equally as well as in the former. For more than thirty
years two great streams of emigration have been flowing
from Ireland, the larger shaping its course across the
Atlantic and discharging its human freight on the shores
of the Great Republic of the West, the smaller in volume
turning to the South, and, after traversing half the circum-
ference of the globe, striking against the sunny shores of
Australia. As a consequence of the comparative proximity
of America to the Old World, no difficulty whatever has been
experienced in arriving at a true estimate of the position and
prospects of the Irish transplanted to the West. Friends
and foes alike have been enabled to closely follow their

1



2 THE IRISH IN AUSTRALIA.

movements, to study their mode of life under altered con-
ditions, to ascertain the opinion held respecting them by
people of other nationalities, and to determine whether or
not the virtues characteristic of the old land flourish on
the soil of the new. And splendidly have the Irish-
Americans as a body borne this crucial test. Xot on the
authority of friendly critics alone, but many foes of his faith
and fatherland have been forced to acknowledge the genuine
worth of the typical Irish-American. They have given,
perhaps unwillingly, the most conclusive testimony to his
value as a citizen, his fidelity as a husband, his devotion as a
father, and though last, not least, his loyalty as a Catholic.
The Irish at home are proud to know, from the mouths of
independent and even hostile witnesses, that though a
stormy ocean separates their exiled brethren from the landj
of their affections, they are still as Irish in heart and feelin
as ever ; they still cherish the memories of the historic past
and their aspirations for national unity and local self-govern
ment are only intensified by distance. The ])00y persecute
peasant, whom, with weak wife and helpless family, a bruta
landlord or pitiless agent has evicted in the depth of winte
from the hallowed home of his ancestors, is traced across th
Atlantic, followed into a newly-settled district and theri
discovered — a respected resident, a good neighbour, and, ve:
often, an independent man. The ardent young patriot, who
employs his talents in the cause of his country's freedom, and
pays the orthodox penalty for loving one's country " not
wisely but too well " by a compulsory residence for a season
amongst convicted criminals, is seen receiving a cordial
welcome on landing in the Empire City, and soon his nanif
is referred to as being the occupant of a distinguished and
honourable position, won by the exercise of those abilities for



i>



A SURVEY OF THE SOUTH. 3

which no scope existed in the land of his birth. And it has
been a source of surprise to the host of individuals, whose
knowledge of Ireland is confined to what they read in
partisan books and newspapers, to find that the people, who
when in their native land were described as senseless rioters
and incorrigible landlord-shooters, are conspicuous in America
for their quiet behaviour and respect for law and order.
These facts have come out in the published evidence of
foreign tourists in America, and are a splendid testimonial to
the noble ingredients of the Irish character when developed
under free and favourable conditions.

But, whilst the western Irish exodus has formed the
subject of much European investigation, the southern branch
of the great emigration stream has not been traced and
examined with the same attention. The reasons are obvious.
It is only of late years that the Australian colonies have
completely recovered from the delirium of the gold fever, and
have begun to assume the recognised aspect of settled com-
munities. Hitherto, it would have been unsafe to describe
the evidences of possibly fleeting appearances as facts indica-
tive of the future, or to draw elaborate conclusions in the
absence of substantial information. Besides, the immense
watery gulf of thirteen thousand miles that separates the
Australian colonies from the great centres of Europe, and the
anticipated difficulty of reaching the scattered settlements of
a continent only partially explored, damped the ardour of
adventurous travellers and inquiring students. Hence the
number of literary tourists in Australia has, until very
recently, been comparatively small. Now, however, the
case is far difi"erent. The Australian " Empire of the
South" has advanced to an important position; the slow
and tedious voyage of several months' duration has been

1—2



4 THE IRISH IN AUSTRALIA.

1
superseded by the fleets of fast-going steamers, that travers'e

the distance between London and Melbourne in little

more than a month. The various colonies are no longer fe

isolated settlements ; all the leading cities of the Australian

continent are connected by railway and telegraph, and the ■[

grand idea of an "Australian Federal Union," advocated ii

for many years with all the earnestness of an eloquent Irish- |]

Australian statesman,* is rapidly approaching the practical %

stage of accomplishment. {

The Irish in Australia form a most interesting study. $

True to their national character, they have come to the i|

front in all the colonies. In every colonial parliament,];

Irishmen will be found distinguishing themselves as j

political leaders. Eesponsible parliamentary government, ;<

or, in simpler words, Home Eule, is in operation in all j

the Australian colonies save one, and it is, therefore, not j

surprising that colonial legislatures should have a large j

proportion of Irishmen, when it is remembered that the>[j

choice of efficient representatives is left unreservedly in f|

the hands of the people. As a striking proof of the signal :;;,

political ability displayed by Irish leaders in Australia,,;

it is worthy of note that, since the inception of parlia-g

mentary government in the leading colony, Victoria, slWi

the Speakers of the Legislative Assembly have, without ^

exception, been Irishmen. There can be no disj^ute about ■

the nationality of gentlemen bearing such names as Sir j

Francis Murphy, Sir Charles MacMahon, Sir Charles Gavanij

Duffy, and the Hon. Peter Lalor, the last mentioned L

being the present first commoner of Victoria. And it.'r

must be borne in mind that the selection of these gentlemen i||

* Sir Charles Gav.m Duffy, avIio has made "Australian FoJoration" thft
aubject of several brilliant addresses. .



A SURVEY OF THE SOUTH. 6

to fill successively so high and honourable an office, was
solely on account of their recognised superiority, as, in
every case, the majority of the assembly was composed
of English and Scotch representatives. But it is not in
politics alone that the Irish in Australia have made their
mark. In colonial literature and art, not a few of the
most distinguished names will be recognised as Irish ; and,
in humbler capacities, the great body of the Irish- Australians
have done good service for their adopted land in a silent
and unobtrusive manner. They were amongst the earliest
pioneers in the development of the gold-mining industry ;
thousands of them wisely left the towns and, favoured
by liberal land legislation, established homes for themselves
in the bush, whilst hundreds, of scholarly attainments,
found ready admission into the Government service. But,
no matter what social position they may occupy, the Irish
in Australia, no less than their American brethren, are
thoroughly Irish and Catholic ; and, if any proof of this
were '.wanting, it is abundantly supplied by the munificent
offering sent by Australia for the relief of the famine-
stricken at home. When, a few years ago, the telegraph
flashed the dire intelligence that the hideous pall of
hunger was darkening the face of the old land, a simul-
taneous movement stirred the whole of the Australian
continent. Local committees were everywhere organised,
donations poured in from all ranks of society, and soon the
magnificent sum of £94,916 16s. 8d. was raised by a
population of less than four millions as a spontaneous
gift of fraternal sympathy. The time has now arrived,
I think, when the record of the Irish in Australia should
be written, and I entertain not the slightest doubt that
that record will not only be perused with patriotic interest,



6 THE lEISH IN AUSTRALIA.

but treasured with national pride, wherever the sons and
daughters of Hibernia have found a home. What other
writers have done for the Irish in America, I propose ij
attempting to do, in some measure, for the Irish in L
Australia ; and, by way of introduction to the subject, a
few historical and descriptive details will be serviceable. [

Australia is the great island-continent of the globe. It \
has an area nearly equal in extent to the whole of Europe, [
although its population falls short of four millions. Until \
very recently, its interior was a ie7^ra incognita, but the j
systematic efforts of explorers have succeeded in thoroughly l
opening up the central regions, so that it has been found
practicable to run a telegraph wire across the continent )
from north to south — a distance of nearly two thousand c
miles. The mainland of Australia is politically divided
into five colonies, which, in the order of their birth, are ^
as follow: — New South Wales, Western Australia, Victoria, i
South Australia, and Queensland. There are also two
insular colonies — Tasmania, or, as it was known in bygone
days. Van Diemen's Land, an island of about the size of
Ireland lying to the south of Victoria ; and New Zealand,
the " Grreat Britain of the South," a chain of islands in the
Pacific at a distance of more than a thousand miles from
the mainland in a south-easterly direction.

Though New South Wales is the parent colony of the
Australian group, she has been outstripped in the race of
progress by one of her youngest children — Victoria, the
wealthiest, most populous, and most important of the
antipodean states. Thirty years ago the present colony of
Victoria was only the Port Phillip district of New South
Wales, the latter geographical term being at that time
synonymous with the whole eastern half of the continent.



A SURVEY OF THE SOUTH.. 7

Victoria occupies the south-eastern corner of Australia, and
comprises that small but rich strip of territory lying between
the 34th and 39th parallels of south latitude, and the 141st
and 150th degrees of east longitude, embracing an area of
88,198 square miles, or 56,446,720 acres. The noble Murray
Eiver is the northern boundary that separates young Victoria
from old New South Wales ; the boisterous Bass Straits lie on
the south between the " tight little island " of Tasmania and
the mainland,whilst on the western side. South Australia — the
granary of the antipodes— displays her exuberant treasures.
The first attempt to plant a settlement in this quarter of
Australia was made in 1 803, when Colonel Collins, a British
officer, was placed in command of an expedition to found a
new penal colony. Three hundred and sixty- seven male
convicts were placed on board the " Ocean " transport, and,
escorted by the " Calcutta " man-of-war, 18 guns and 170
men, were despatched from England in May, 1803. After a
tedious voyage of six months, Colonel Collins landed his
party on a point at the eastern entrance to Port Phillip
Bay, the site of the present Sorrento, a fashionable sea-side
resort in the summer months. Happily for the future of
Victoria, the attempt to plant a penal settlement proved a
complete failure, and the premier colony was spared the
odium of ever having given a permanent abode to the scum
of the English prisons. The reasons that induced Colonel
Collins to abandon the settlement have never been satis-
factorily explained, though the general opinion is that his
inability to discover a permanent supply of fresh water was
the principal cause. He could not have made a very
diligent search for the precious fluid ; for had he done so, it
would have been found in abundance not many miles from
his camp. However, after a stay of three months, orders



8 THE IRISH IN AUSTEAIJA.

were given to re-embark, and the two vessels sailed across
the straits to Van Diemen's Land. In this lovely little
island, on the site of its present capital — Hobart — Collins
succeeded in planting his penal colony. Here he reigned
as lieutenant-governor for a period of six years, until
his sudden death on March 24th, 1810. Twenty-eight
years afterwards. Sir John Franklin, the then governor, who )
afterwards perished in the frozen wastes of the Arctic, had a
monument erected to his memory in the city whose founda-
tion he laid.

For nearly ^thirty years after this unsuccessful attempt to f
colonize Port Phillip, no further effort was made to plant a
colony on the southern shores of Australia. The blacks were
left in undisputed possession of the province, though one
effect of Colonel Collins's brief sojourn was the addition of a
new chief to their ranks. During the three months that
the colonel remained encamped on the shore, several
prisoners succeeded in escaping into the bush, but, with the
exception of one, the fugitives either perished miserably in
the unknown land, or returned in an agony of starvation to
the camp and begged for forgiveness. One, however, was
determined to obtain his freedom at all hazards, and this
man, who had been a soldier, and was transported for
assaulting his superior officer, concealed himself in a cave,
and managed to subsist for some time on berries and shell-
fish. Having observed from his hiding-place the prepara-
tions of Colonel Collins for leaving the settlement, he came
forth, when the vessels were disappearing in the distance,
and found himself a free man. In a weak and exhausted
condition William Buckley, for such was his name, walked
at random into the interior and soon came upon an encamp-
ment of aborigines, by whom he was kindly treated and



A SURVEY OF THE SOUTH. 9

subsequently adopted into the tribe. He was presented with
two " lubras," or wives, and, acting in what he, no doubt,
considered the most philosophical manner under the peculiar
circumstances, he completely forgot the world of civilization,
and, sinking to the low level of his savage companions, he
led a merely animal existence for the long period of thirty-
two years. This remarkable character lived to be useful in
his latter days as a medium of communication between the
whites and the blacks.

In 1835, Port Phillip was permanently colonised under
the auspices of freemen. The leader of the successful ex-
pedition and the founder of the colony of Victoria was John
Batman, a young farmer resident in Van Diemen's Land,
and a man of energy, perseverance, and self-reliance. With
twelve others he formed a colonising association, under
whose auspices the country smTounding Port Phillip Bay
was thoroughly explored, and the excellence of the soil, both
for agricultural and pastoral purposes, was abundantly
demonstrated. Twelve months after Batman's arrival, the
incipient colony had a population of two hundred settlers,
who were owners of fifteen thousand sheep. In March, 1 837,
the first representative of Eoyalty visited the new settle-
ment in the person of Major-Greneral Sir Richard Bourke,
Governor of New^ South Wales. Sir Richard won his spurs
in the Peninsula, and, as one of the best colonial governors,
his name will appear again in these pages. He was of course
an Irishman, having been born in Limerick in 1778, and in
the same city he died in 1855. Bourke remained in the
infant colony for a month, and during his brief stay laid out
the sites of Melbourne (the metropolis), Greelong, and
Williamstown. The first place was named after the then
English Premier, Lord Melbourne ; the second was allowed



10 THE IRISH IN AUSTRALIA.

to retain its native name, whilst the third received its title |
from the reigning monarch, William IV. At His Excel-
lency's departure, the entire population of the settlement —
five hundred souls — assembled to give him a parting cheer.
These five hundred settlers were possessed of 140,000 sheep,
2,500 head of cattle, and 150 horses — a very satisfactory
state of progress. In this year (1837) the first government [
land sale in Melbourne took place, and the event is worthy i
of note as showing how enormously the value of land may
increase by unforeseen circumstances. A small allotment i
in Collins Street (the aristocratic thoroughfare of Melbourne) i
purchased originally for £S5 was afterwards bought for \
£24,000, and, at the present time, the average price of land i
in the same locality is £900 per foot. A gentleman was
considered very foolish for having paid what was then re-
garded as the excessive sum of £80 for half-an-acre, but
after the lapse of two years the same land realized £5,000, ^
and twelve years later it was sold for £40,000. These are -
only two examples out of many that might be recorded. :
Mr. "William Kelly, a contemporary eye-witness, states the (
following facts : " Innumerable small lots, making in their
aggregate immense breadths of property, were sold at nom- 1
inal prices in the early part of 1851, which, ere its close, J
were * pearls beyond price,' translated into the seventh ^
heaven of appreciation by the fortuitous discovery of the 'i
Ballarat shepherd. I know the particulars of numerous cases
of constrained fortune. One I will relate which occurred in
the person of an humble m;m from my native country, who
accumulated a very modest competence in Melbourne under
the old regime — first by manual labour and then by carting ll
at the moderate rates of the day. He purchased a town lot
in Swanston Street, and erected a wooden house upon it, in



A SURVEY OL- THE .SOUTH. 11

which during the progress of his industrial prosperity he
opened a little shop for the good woman. His decent thrift
was as remarkable as his industry, so that in homely phrase
he * got the name of having a little dry money always by
him ; ' and at the period in question he was beset by im-
portunate neighbours and friends, imploring him, as he
intended remaining, to purchase their town allotments at
his own price. In some cases he yielded, not so much with
the view of benefiting himself as of helping a few friends
on the road to fortune, and much against his own will or
conviction he secured, for some £450, property which in less
than fifteen months he sold for £15,000, and which was re-
sold within the subsequent year for nearly three times that
amount. Had my humble countryman purchased to the
full amount of his means and held over like other stay-at-
home townsmen, he might now be side by side in the
Legislative Council of Victoria with another Sligo man who
came to Port Phillip without any capital but his brains and
his hands, but who is reputed at present as possessed of
property worth half-a-million sterling."



Online LibraryJames Francis HoganThe Irish in Australia → online text (page 1 of 27)