Tag Archives: irish famine

Goldfields Immigration 3

The Irish influence on Ballarat

Gentlemen and savages – Men of Ballarat and fellows of Bungaree” These were just some of the inflaming words spoken by the controversial Victorian politician C. E. Jones, at a political meeting in Ballarat, 1864. Jones was attempting to trade on the popular Old World idea of the Irish as lower-caste, illiterate and priest-ridden trouble makers who were intent on lowering the standards of this new society in Ballarat. In fact these ideas about the Irish presence in Ballarat were completely inaccurate.

The Irish were the second largest national group (the largest being the English), to influence the history of Australia during the gold rush and colonial periods. From 1851 to 1901 the percentage of the population considering themselves Irish remained at around 20%. Most of these immigrants came from the southwest counties of Clare, Tipperary, and Galway.

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Books for teaching History – Bridie’s Fire

Well written and accurately researched historical fiction can provide a useful window into the past and an accessible entry into another time for students (and for teachers!).

One such historical novel we love here at Sovereign Hill is Bridie’s Fire by Melbourne author Kirsty Murray (Allen & Unwin, 2003).

Bridie’s Fire published by Allen and Unwin

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