The Global Irish Diaspora Congress, held at University College Dublin, presented an excellent opportunity for Irish historians in Australia and New Zealand, as well as historians and archaeologists of the Irish in Australia and New Zealand based elsewhere, to connect with scholars from elsewhere. There were at least 19 papers presented by scholars from Australia and New Zealand, or based on the Irish experience in Australia and New Zealand, and this strong international showing was noted on a number of occasions. These papers were largely live-tweeted by Sophie Cooper (@SophcoCooper) and Fidelma Breen (@DivaDiaspora), and then re-tweeted by the ISAANZ twitter account (@ISAANZ).
As well as facilitating new connections and the overlaps in research that’s being carried out around the world – particularly with studies into the Pacific World and the British Empire – the GIDC suggested ways that scholars within and outwith the academy could work together. Overall, it was a useful and enjoyable conference which helped to raise the profile of Irish Studies in Australia and New Zealand, and promote the variety of experience in the Irish diaspora over a long period of time. It was also excellent to see Richard Andrews, Australian Ambassador to Ireland, at the wine reception and for him to meet a number of the scholars who had travelled across.
A number of the presenters who touched on ISAANZ-related subjects in their papers have kindly provided their contact details and abstracts to help to continue the connections made at the Global Irish Diaspora Congress. We will continue to add to this list.
Affiliation: University of Otago University/Lincoln University
Title: ‘The Orange Diaspora’: Loyalist Communities Abroad.
Since its beginnings in the agrarian conflicts between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland in 1795, the Orange Order spread rapidly across the British World. With its mix of loyalism and pan-Protestantism, the Orange Order adapted to a variety of countries from Australia to Togo. The term ‘Orange diaspora’ has been used to express its spread.
But to what extent can we conceptualise an overarching Orange diaspora? This paper addresses that key question by examining Orange sources and other archival research in an international comparative context. How different was the Orange diaspora compared to Ireland? Who belonged to it? And to what extent were transnational ties maintained between Ireland and the Orange diaspora and why?
These issues are important for they illuminate aspects of Irish Protestant migration, enable exploration of the fraternity’s ideology, and facilitate reflections on broader conceptual issues relating to diaspora and transnationalism.
Contact: S.E.Cooper@ed.ac.uk and @SophcoCooper
Affiliation: University of Edinburgh/Northumbria University
Title: Moments of convergence: Irish lives in Melbourne and Chicago, 1850-1890.
Melbourne and Chicago in the nineteenth century were worlds apart. One was a proud part of the British Empire, a beacon of imperial loyalty and made up principally of emigrants from Great Britain and Ireland. The other was quickly becoming the second city of the United States, a heartland for crime and wealth, and increasingly ethnically pluralistic. However, the Irish-born communities in Melbourne and Chicago made up a very similar size relative to the local population throughout this time period. Sizeable Irish populations were also present when these cities were settled by Europeans, and benefited from the social and economic booms that both cities experienced during the 1850s. They are therefore useful case studies for a comparison of the ways that Irish communities carved their place in the diaspora, and how elements of each community maintained links to organisations and family members elsewhere in the world.
The Irish people who made their lives in Melbourne and Chicago interacted with politics and Irish nationalism in different ways, and filtered their Irish identities through different lenses. However, there were a number of ways in which these Irish communities converged: through their interaction with ethnic associationalism, their generosity to constitutional nationalism, and through their engagement with the Catholic Church. Using these communities as case studies, this paper will compare these two distinct groups of Irish emigrants to understand some of the transnational influences and links across the diaspora. While this paper will highlight the differences of the communities, it will also explore the ways that these very distinct groups were similar by focusing in on the ways that Ireland was portrayed in the press and speeches, and the reactions of the Irish in Melbourne and Chicago to this imagery.
Affiliation: Victoria University, Melbourne.
Title: Gender, Irishness and the Chinese in Australian popular culture 1880-1930.
This paper analyses how Irish and Chinese were portrayed in popular plays, poetry, cartoons and newspaper reports from 1880 to about 1930. Mainstream fears about the place of Chinese in Australian communities were often expressed through popular stereotypes of relations between Irish women and Chinese men that particularly emphasised aberrant gender roles. The political and social contexts of hostile interactions between Chinese and Irish men were elided in these stereotypes which served to further emphasise the feminisation of the Chinese.
Affiliation: University of Flinders.
Felix M. Larkin
Contact: email@example.com and @felixmlarkin
Title: Edmund Dwyer-Gray, An Irishman in Tasmania.
There are many connections between Ireland and Tasmania, and not only because of the latter’s status as a penal colony in the first half of the nineteenth century. My paper will focus on the career of probably the most significant Irishman in Tasmanian political life in the twentieth century, Edmund Dwyer-Gray (1890-1945). It will draw on some recent research conducted in Hobart.
A scion of the Gray family who owned the Freeman’s Journal newspaper from 1841 to 1892, Dwyer-Gray was the grandson of Sir John Gray, whose statue stands in O’Connell Street, Dublin. He emigrated to Australia when his family lost control of the Freeman as a consequence of the ‘Parnell split’. He eventually settled in Tasmania, where he became a journalist and politician of note. Elected to the Tasmanian parliament in 1928 for the Labour Party, he was treasurer and deputy premier from 1934 until his death, except for six months in 1939 when he served as interim premier.
The Gray family had some prior connections with Australia. Dwyer-Gray’s mother was a daughter of Caroline Chisholm, the philanthropist celebrated as ‘the emigrants’ friend’ for her work with female immigrants to Australia. His great-uncle, Moses Wilson Gray, had emigrated to the colony of Victoria in 1855 and was associated with Sir Charles Gavan Duffy in the land reform movement there. My paper will outline their life stories, as well as that of Edmund Dwyer-Gray.
Affiliation: New York University.
Title: The Irish and Chinese in the Pacific World
This paper examines the nature and significance of relations between the Irish and Chinese in the Pacific world during the second half of the nineteenth century. The mid-nineteenth-century gold rushes in California, New South Wales, Victoria, Otago, and British Columbia brought thousands of Irish and Chinese into close proximity and over the next half century the labor and ingenuity of both groups helped expand Britain’s Anglophone empire and paved the way for the rise of the United States to world-power status. At the same time, this paper argues that the Irish diaspora was also a significant force behind anti-Chinese movements that gave rise to Chinese immigration restriction laws in Australia, Canada, and the United States, caused major friction in U.S.-Chinese and Anglo-Chinese relations, and threatened to undermine the interests of the British Empire and the United States in China and the broader Pacific world. There is a sizeable body of literature on the Irish diaspora and extensive scholarship on the Chinese diaspora, but no study has thoroughly examined the combined experience of, and interactions between, both groups in comparative and transnational contexts. This paper demonstrates that although the dominant pattern in relations between the Pacific Irish and Chinese was racial conflict and economic competition, there were cases of intergroup cooperation and solidarity.
Dr Dianne Snowden AM
Affiliation: University of Tasmania.
Rodney and Robin Sullivan
Contact: Rodney: firstname.lastname@example.org and Robin email@example.com
Affiliation: University of Queensland.
Title: Monuments and Diasporic Memory in Southeast Queensland, an Australian case study.
This paper investigates Irish-Australian memorialisation in Southeast Queensland from 1872 to 2017. It focuses on three funerary monuments over the graves of Irish rebels: those commemorating the Fenian John Flood (1911), the Young Irelanders, Kevin and Eva O’Doherty (1912), and the Easter 1916 Dublin GPO Volunteer, William Ryan (2017). It also examines a memorial book, the 1909 edition of Eva O’Doherty’s Poems.
The paper considers the commemorative salience of temporal context as well as the varying memory roles of individuals, families and organisations. It highlights the transnational and diasporic dimensions of Irish-Australian memorialisation in Southeast Queensland. The conclusion points to some implications of these memorials, and their attendant processes, for the interplay between history and memory.