12-14 December 2023. Registration is now open for ISAANZ 26. A draft programme for the conference is available, subject to change. A final programme will be available closer to the date. Discounted registration rates are available for current financial members of ISAANZ, and special rates are also available for full-time students. Renew your membership if you've not done so already.
18 September 2023. Prof Anna Johnston speaking on the Irish and Australian poetry of Eliza Hamilton Dunlop (1796-1880), who emigrated to New South Wales in 1838 from Coleraine. Dunlop's best known (and highly controversial) poem, 'The Aboriginal Mother', was written in response to the 1838 Myall Creek Massacre, one of the only massacres of First Nations people by settlers that were prosecuted in the colonial Australian courts. More conventionally, Dunlop's sentimental elegies mourned Anglo-Irish family members and members of colonial society. Connecting Dunlop's literary and family history back to Northern Ireland reveals how she used a sentimental poetic discourse, popular with women publishing in new periodicals and literary albums, to grapple with 'the uncanny persistence of violence in a globalised liberal society' (Hensley, Forms of Empire, 1). The bloody history of revolution and its suppression in Ireland remained potent metaphors through Dunlop's writing career. She joins a cadre of poets who imagined liberal forms of colonialism, while also finding themselves deeply implicated in its contradictions and complicities.
12 September 2023. Limerick lace veils were used in ceremonies designed to introduce Sisters of Mercy to often-suspicious Australian communities while Perth-based Sisters wrote back to Ireland requesting coloured eyeglasses be sent to enable them to maintain their health and therefore their work. Across the world, women religious swapped tips and materials to help them to sustain their emerging communities. In turn, the Irish diaspora used the built environment to encourage a sense of belonging abroad. Looking at these religious and ethnic communities through a material culture lens allows for greater insight into the tools that women across the Irish diaspora, especially women religious, used to establish and crucially, to sustain, communities during the nineteenth century. In this paper Dr Sophie Cooper will use material culture to explore connections between women, and particularly women religious, across the Irish diaspora.
5 September 2023. Recording of a lecture by contemporary Irish poet, Vona Groarke, on the 18th century poem, Lament for Art O'Leary (Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoghaire). The poem is an Irish keen composed extempore by O'Leary's wife Eibhlin Dubh Ní Chonaill after his murder on 4 May 1773 at Carraig an Ime, County Cork.
22 August 2023. In 2018 the Board of the Queensland Irish Association appointed Rodney and Robin Sullivan as Honorary Historians, and commissioned a history to mark its 125th anniversary in 2023. When they asked President Jeff Spender what sort of book he had in mind he replied, ‘a comprehensive history, warts and all.’ They endeavoured to fulfill this request without incurring legal consequences, investigating themes that threaded their way through the history of the Club and Irish Queensland. These included sectarianism, commemoration, and gender. Club premises were a further preoccupation. This paper surveys their presence in A Hundred Thousand Welcomes, and the vistas they offer on Irish Queensland.
25 July 2023. The period between the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries saw the Australian-Catholic middle classes grow in both size and confidence. Those developments were aided in part by the temporal progress of élite Jesuit schools in Sydney and Melbourne. This paper will explore these developments, and place them within the wider context of middle-class Catholic identity, and social and sectarian divisions between the 1890s and 1920s.
21 July 2023. The Irish Government has selected Sydney this year as the international venue for the National Famine Commemoration Day. This year's Commemoration will be on Friday 21st July at 2pm, at the Australian Monument to the Great Irish Famine, at Hyde Park Barracks. Irish Minister of State Thomas Byrne TD will be in attendance. On this day we remember all those who left Ireland during the Great Irish Famine, on the long journey to Australia and other parts of the world.
15 July 2023. At the Melbourne General Cemetery, a few members of the Celtic Club had the pleasure of touring Melbourne with historian, Val Noone. This event was pioneered by Prof. Ronan McDonald and Fergal Coleman who worked together to bring their idea to fruition. Val’s vast knowledge offers incredible insight into the lives of our fellow Irishman over the last 200 years in Melbourne.
15-25 June 2023. Exiles by James Joyce, presented by Bloomsday in Melbourne. Why has James Joyce’s only play been so overlooked? Ahead of its time, featuring free love, polyamory, homoeroticism, bisexuality and thruppledom, Exiles subverts the 19th century adultery comedy in a darkly funny and strange exploration of not one but two sets of partner exchanges… and for good measure throws in a daring undercurrent of homoeroticism, in an era when the open presentation on the stage of such subject matter was strictly taboo. Even avid Joyceans will be startled. Beneath its deceptively conventional surface, Exiles is a gripping psychological drama about love, honesty and fearlessness in intimate relationships. Its characters are complex, shifting, troubled.