The Irish in Australia, The History Show, Sunday 28 April.


The battle of Vinegar Hill, 1804 – an Irish convict rebellion in Australia

Podcast the item here.

The Irish relationship with Australia began around the time of the landing of the first convict ships  in Botany Bay in 1788 and the riotous creation of the first British penal colony in Australia. Many more transportees followed until one by one the states of Australia refused to accept any more convict ships. By then 25,000 Irish male and female prisoners had been sent to the colony.  In addition to those transported for crimes as insignificant as stealing bread to keep their families alive, many others migrated to the Antipodes, with or without assistance, in the hope of improving their lives. A huge percentage were Irish. Some of their stories have been captured in a new book Undaunted: the Irish in Australia by John Wright. He’ll be joining me to talk about the Irish colony there, as will Dr.Ruan O’Donnell, University of Limerick historian.

We’ll hear about …

Alexander Pearce, from Monaghan – the cannibal convict


Ned Kelly, the colony’s most famous outlaw, and his Irish nemesis Justice Redmond Barry


as well as the tragic expedition of Burke and Wills, Bridget Partridge (‘The Runaway nun’) and others.