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Type: Thesis
Title: 'Yet we are told that Australians do not sympathise with Ireland': a study of South Australian support for Irish Home Rule, 1883 to 1912.
Author: Breen, Fidelma E.M.
Issue Date: 2013
School/Discipline: School of History and Politics
Abstract: Although a small cohort, often deemed insignificant, the Irish in South Australia developed an extensive network of social, business and political connections with the wider colonial society which aided them in their support of the long constitutional struggle for self-government taking place in Ireland during the four decades from 1870. Through the lens of the colonial press and an investigation of the support given to Irish nationalists this study shows the extent to which that small cohort extended its influence to the wider South Australian community to the benefit of the Home Rule movement. This was no mean feat considering the established view of scholars that the group faced the ‘unquestionable primacy of Anglo-Scottish colonisation’. Looking at the visits of the envoys of the Irish Parliamentary Party which took place between 1883 and 1912, this study, through a consideration of fundraising, the reputation of the Irish in the colony, the colonial press’ treatment of Irish issues and a lack of Orange opposition to Home Rule, investigates the impact and reach of this small Irish community during the years of Ireland’s foremost constitutional political movement. In its conclusion the research shows that underlying the long assumed quiet assimilation of this ethnic group into the general ‘Britishness’ of the colony, the Irish, from the outset, were aware of and consistently maintained a separate cultural identity and, during the period under consideration, this was augmented by an increased politicisation amongst the group – a world development which affected the Irish at both the macro and micro level. This thesis further reveals that in South Australia the Irish Home Rule movement garnered strong support in a colony where the majority of the inhabitants were neither Irish nor Catholic and this was due to a number of factors. Amongst these were factors which contrast sharply with characteristics of the Irish and the Home Rule movement in other Australian colonies, particularly the size, unity and nature of South Australian Irish nationalists, the lack of a structured opposition to Home Rule, the colony’s natural affinity with the notion of self-government and the fraternal bonds which came about through the issue of land ownership and control. While fundraising was the prime object of a series of visits to Australia by Irish MPs between 1883 and 1912, acceptance of the Irish claim for Home Rule amongst Australians in general proved equally important. Despite the small community of Irish people residing in South Australia during the most active years of the movement the colony subscribed generously to the cause. While the loyalty and support of the Irish-born and perhaps even the next generation might be expected more surprising is the widespread involvement of the non-Irish and non-Catholic citizens of the colony.
Advisor: Foster, Robert Kenneth Gordon
Sendziuk, Paul John
Dissertation Note: Thesis (M.Phil.) -- University of Adelaide, School of History and Politics, 2013
Keywords: Irish Nationalism; colonial identity; fundraising; Irish Parliamentary Party
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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