Volume 19

VOLUME nineteen · 2019

Notes on Contributors

David Patrick Brian Fitzpatrick.
The Editors

Irish Women and Men in Victoria’s Prisons, 1850s–1880s.
Elizabeth Malcolm

ABSTRACT: Claims that the Catholic Irish-born community in colonial Australia was characterised by high rates of criminal offending were accepted by many contemporaries and have been widely repeated by historians since. Poverty, drunkenness, alienation and prejudice have all been put forward as explanations for lawbreaking. This article, through an analysis of samples of Irish prisoners in late nineteenth-century Victoria, challenges assessments of the levels and nature of Irish crime and the reasons offered for them. It shows that a large proportion of offenders were middle-aged women, not young men as is frequently assumed, and that most were convicted of non-violent, victimless public order offences that even at the time were acknowledged to be hardly crimes in any meaningful sense.  

Irish Symbols in Warwick 1872–1917.
Rodney Sullivan and Robin Sullivan

ABSTRACT: This paper identifies symbols of Irishness deployed in Warwick, Queensland, one of the State’s most Irish towns, from 1871 to November 1917. It shows their potency as memory carriers and instruments of ethnic cohesion. Employing an ethno-graphic approach, it traces the periodic deployment, activation and emotional power of Irish symbols, Green and Orange, from both group and individual perspectives. It questions the standard interpretation of the Warwick Egg Incident of November 1917 as an anomaly and, also, the Dublin 1916 Rising and conscription as sectarian triggers. We focus on episodes in the town’s history when Irish symbols, including the green harp flag, an Orange banner, green ribbons and a shillelagh, figured in performances of Irishness, evoking both solidarity and hostility.  The episodes were erased from the town’s civic narrative but retained the capacity for retrieval. They lay dormant in family memory and local repositories but could be revived through changing generational perspectives or commemorative activities.  

‘Make it Too Hot for Them to Stop in the Colony’: Irish and Chinese Relations in Australia, 1851–1901.
Barry McCarron

ABSTRACT: There is a rich body of work on the history of the Irish in Australia. The same can be said for the Chinese. However, scholars have only scratched the surface in exploring the comparative experiences and contributions of both groups in Australia. Looking at a broad range of individuals such as miners, labourers, trade union leaders, politicians, diplomats, and merchants, and drawing on an array of primary sources including archival records, newspapers, and memoirs, this article examines the nature and significance of relations between Irish and Chinese people in Australia from the mid-nineteenth-century gold rushes to Federation in 1901. This article finds that the dominant pattern in relations between Irish and Chinese people was racial conflict, economic competition, and uneasy coexistence. Irish immigrants played a central role in the anti-Chinese movement in Australia to advance their socioeconomic mobility, maintain boundaries between themselves and Chinese immigrants, and project themselves into positions of power and influence. This restricted Chinese mobility, undermined Britain’s relations with China and colonial Australia, and helped lay the foundations for a White Australia Policy. Irish actions, attitudes, and perceptions towards the Chinese were not a monolith. A few Irish publicly denounced the anti-Chinese movement, a small number of Irish women married Chinese men, and there was coexistence and cordial relations between both groups. While the Chinese viewed some Irish as allies in their fight for a better life, they more commonly clashed with their Irish adversaries. 

The Irish-American Novel in Australia: Mary-Anne Sadlier, Christine Faber and Nineteenth-century Diaspora Fiction
Kevin Molloy

ABSTRACT: For most nineteenth century newspapers the ‘serial story’ was a commercial imperative, one that featured extensively in British and North American publications. It was a feature soon adopted by the Irish in the British colonies, with one difference, that the serial writing featured was almost exclusively ‘Irish’. Within the newspaper, the serial story – whether fiction, history or memoir – formed an integral, inter-textual component of the information fabric for the migrant reader, read within the context of topical news of the day that framed such publications. While works by Irish novelists featured heavily in Irish-Australian newspapers, from the 1860s the influence of the Irish-American novel began to make itself felt. This paper examines the role of two Irish-American female writers, Mary Anne Sadlier and Christine Faber, and through two of their novels serialised in the Irish-Australian press examines why such works were crucial in both framing, and providing perspective, on complex political, social and cultural issues for the intergenerational Irish migrant cohort. 

ISAANZ Postgraduate Essay Prize 2019
The Politics of Silence: Navigating Violence and the Nation in Seamus Heaney’s North and Roberto Bolaño’s By Night in Chile
Victoria Addis

ABSTRACT: This essay addresses the question of how writers exercise their responsibility to address recent/contemporary national violence. If they do, how do they ethically represent their homelands as places of violence? It examines two works that wrestle with these questions: Seamus Heaney’s 1975 poetry collection, North, and Roberto Bolaño’s novella, By Night in Chile. Placing these works in dialogue with key theorists of nationhood and literature—Fredric Jameson, Homi K. Bhabha, and Giles Deleuze and Felix Guattari—this essay foregrounds the power of literature to shape national discourse and discusses the opportunities and the challenges that result from that power for writers, like Heaney and Bolaño, seeking to parse sensitive contexts. 

Research Notes
A Corpus of Inscriptions in the Irish Language from Australia: Lapidary Inscriptions
Greg Byrnes, Val Noone and Jonathan M. Wooding, with the assistance of Robert Lindsey

Sheila’s Day: Myth or Memory?
Dymphna Lonergan

Book Reviews

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