Call for Irish descendants to join in commemorative march
DESCENDANTS of Queensland's early Irish settlers are calling for people to get involved in this year's St Patrick's Day festivities in Brisbane.
Relatives of Irish immigrants who arrived on the infamous Erin-Go-Bragh participate each year in the Brisbane St Patrick's Day March and are inviting more descendants to join them.
"The Erin-Go-Bragh was the first mainly Irish free settler ship to come to Queensland and those hardy souls faced many challenges including a leaky ship, 57 deaths and a dangerous journey that took almost twice as long as expected" according to Chris Kelly, a fifth-generation Australian descendant of the Erin-Go-Bragh.
"These mainly impoverished Catholic immigrants also faced significant discrimination and opposition upon their arrival".
"They settled all around South East Queensland and among their numerous descendants are former World Number 1 tennis player Pat Rafter, former Queensland Attorney-General and noted historian Denver Beanland and John Burke who lends his name to Captain John Burke Park under Brisbane's iconic Story Bridge".
"We get together every year at the St Patrick's Day March to commemorate those brave settlers fleeing persecution and poverty, as well as catch up with relatives and friends old and new."
"We would love to have more descendants participate in the march and then join us at the Livewire Bar in the nearby Treasury Casino".
For more information or to see if you are an Erin-Go-Bragh descendant please visit www.eringobraghship.com or join the Facebook page "Erin go Bragh ship".
- When: 10.30am Saturday 11 March 2017
- Where: Gather at Queens Garden, corner Elizabeth and George Streets, Brisbane. March will take approximately one hour
- After March: Gather at the Livewire Bar, Treasury Casino, George Street, Brisbane afterwards
- Cost: No cost to be involved. There is a cash bar and food is available for purchase at the Treasury Casino.
The Erin-Go-Bragh set out from Cobh, Ireland on 7 February 1862 arriving in Moreton Bay on 2 August 1862. The journey was troubled in many ways:
- The journey took 25 weeks instead of the usual 100 days
- Sailed at the worst time of the year experiencing severe weather
- 300 miles out of Capetown the ship developed a leak which required constant pumping to keep the ship afloat
- 57 of the original 430 passengers perished on the journey.
- The ship was quarantined for two weeks off Moreton Bay due to Scarlett Fever fears.
- The largely impoverished Catholic immigrants faced significant discrimination and opposition upon their arrival in Brisbane.