Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wreck site of Irish convict ship heritage listed

A piece of Irish-Australian convict history will be preserved for future generations after being placed on the NSW State Heritage Register.

The NSW Minister for Planning, Tony Kelly has announced that the wreck of the convict prison ship Hive was officially on the register. The announcement was made when he visited Wreck Bay (pictured above) in Booderee National Park, near Jervis Bay, south of Sydney.

The Hive ran aground in Wreck Bay in 1835 with 250 Irish convicts, guards, the ship’s crew, women, children and a cargo of coin worth £10,000 on board. A crew member, the Boatswain, drowned while convicts and passengers were being transported from the foundering ship to shore. The crew established a bush camp in the adjacent sand hills of Bherwerre Beach, in Wreck Bay, to await rescue while they stripped the vessel of anything they could salvage.

Mr Kelly said the wreck of the Hive had to be protected because it was the only known ship wrecked on mainland Australia while carrying convicts. “It has considerable heritage significance as it meets all seven Heritage Council criteria for listing on the State Heritage Register,” Mr Kelly said.

Mr Kelly said the events surrounding the loss of the Hive demonstrate early contact with local Aboriginal communities.

“The co-operation and support of the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community members and other Aboriginal peoples in assisting the survivors and in passing word to distant Sydney is a key element of the site’s significance,” the Minister said.

Because the Hive is buried under sand, an important sonar survey of the shipwreck will be undertaken by maritime archaeologists from the Heritage Branch and the Commonwealth’s GeoScience Australia, to determine the amount of buried hull timbers remaining.

Wreck Bay gained its name following the loss of the Hive and another 10 subsequent shipwrecks.

What else is on the State Heritage Register?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Irish in Australia exhibition in 2011

The National Museum of Australia is developing a major exhibition on the Irish in Australia, to open on St Patrick's Day 2011. The exhibition will cover the Irish presence in Australia from 1788 to the continuing arrival in our own time of young Irish backpackers.

Irish in Australia will open at the National Museum of Australia on 17 March, 2011 (St Patrick's Day) and later travel to Dublin, Ireland.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Settlers' Guide - in store this week!

This is just some of the medical advice given by Dr William Bell to the colonists of New South Wales.

Born in Ireland in 1815, Dr Bell studied medicine at London's Royal College of Surgeons, then came to Sydney in 1839.

He wrote The Settlers' Guide in 1849 to enable those in medical need to help themselves or others in times of difficulty. Warming to his task, The Settlers' Guide eventually contained more that 85,000 words and is in two parts. He advertised it as "soon to be published" but sadly, this did not occur.

The manuscript was lost for 160 years, until Lois Sabine discovered it at the bottom of a box of papers in the Mitchell Library, Sydney.

We're delighted to be stocking Lois' newly published book in our online store. Read more about The Settlers' Guide.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Secondhand books added to our online shop

Irish Wattle has added second hand books to its online shop and will be adding many more soon!

'An unfailing source of inspiration and delight' was how Havelock Ellis described the library over 100 years ago. Today's reader will delight in this lively and entertaining account of the State Library from its earliest days - in warehouses, 'dingy caverns' and 'awful dungeons' - to its latest elegant buildings in Sydney's Macquarie Street.

David Jones tells of the battle for buildings which were never built, and the stories behind those that were. How the fate of the Bronze Doors was sealed on a golf course. And many more anecdotes. The terrific book also takes the reader on a tour, in words and pictures, through the new complex, fully documenting each feature of this intriguing library.

This year the Mitchell Library at the State Library of New South Wales celebrates its centenary. Read about the exhibition here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

St Patrick's Day tomorrow!

Irish Wattle is looking forward to St Patrick's Day tomorrow and the parade in Sydney on Sunday!

The whole world is going green!