2023 Irish Famine Orphan Girls Commemoration

19 November 2023, 2:00 – 4:00pm
Famine Rock, Burgoyne Reserve, The Strand (near Stevedore Street), Williamstown, Victoria.

The annual commemoration event this year marks a dual anniversary; 175 years since the start of the Earl Grey Scheme (1848-1850) and the first ships to Australia, and 25 years since the Famine Rock memorial was erected at Williamstown (1998).  

Guest speakers will share fascinating insights into this important moment in Irish-Australian history.

Dr Val Noone OAM, who was on the committee that erected the Famine Rock memorial standing stone, will speak to An Gorta Mór the Great Hunger, the Earl Grey Scheme and the history of the Famine Rock. 

Cr Peter Hemphill of Hobsons Bay who has extensively researched Williamstown’s maritime  history, give us a glimpse into the early days of Williamstown and what the orphan girls would have seen as their ships anchored in Hobson’s Bay. 

 Our Special Presentation will feature orphan girl Ellen Boyle who came to Port Phillip on the Lady Kennaway in 1848. Ellen’s descendant Jennifer Jones will present Ellen’s story, ‘Is mise Ellen Boyle’

The  Irish Embassy representative will be Mr Daniel Lowe, Deputy Head of Mission.

Joining our other guest speakers will also be Cr Tony Briffa, Mayor of Hobson’s Bay [she/her].

There will be live music and the moving Laying of Flowers tribute. 

Join the commemoration of all the young orphan girls who made the brave journey to a new life and new land across the world.  

Siobhan Walsh presented the Irish program on 3ZZZ on Sunday 29 October, and this is available online. Joining Siobhan in the studio was Dr Val Noone OAM, speaking on the Great Hunger, Earl Grey Scheme and Famine Rock anniversaries. The show also features an interview with Jennifer Jones, a descendant of Ellen Boyle (Lady Kennaway).