Other Irish names distinguished in Australasian literature are those of the New Zealand poet, Thomas Bracken; Roderick Quinn; Desmond Byrne; J.B. O’Hara; the eccentric convict-writer, George “Barrington” Waldron; Victor J. Daley; Bernard O’Dowd; Edwin J. Brady; the Rev. J.J. Malone; and the Rev. W. Kelly.
Finally, the Irish in Australia have done more than their share in the work of education and social service. Under Irish auspices several of the Catholic teaching congregations, including the Christian Brothers and the Presentation Nuns, were introduced, and their work has borne goodly fruit. A mighty power for good is the Hibernian Australasian Benefit Society. The organization, which was founded in 1871, has spread rapidly and has a large active membership.
Truly the land of the Southern Cross is not the dimmest jewel in the coronet of Ireland’s glories.
Hogan: The Irish in Australia (1888), The Gladstone Colony (1898); Mennell: Dictionary of Australian Biography (1892); Duffy: Life in Two Hemispheres (1903); Kenny: The Catholic Church in Australia to the Year 1840; Moran: History of the Catholic Church in Australasia (1898); Davitt: Life and Progress in Australasia (1898); Bonwick: The First Twenty Years of Australia (1883); Flanagan: History of New South Wales (1862); Byrne: Australian Writers (1896); Wilson: The Church in New Zealand (1910); Hocken: A Bibliography of the Literature Relating to New Zealand (1909).
By A. MILLIARD ATTERIDGE.
The tide of emigration from Ireland has set chiefly towards America and Australia. In South Africa, therefore, the Irish element among the colonists has never been a large one. But, despite its comparatively small numbers, it has been an important factor in the life of South Africa. Here, as in so many other countries, it has been the glory of the sons of Erin to be a missionary people. To their coming is due the very existence of the Catholic Church in these southern lands.
When Dr. Ullathorne touched at the Cape on his way to Australia in 1832, he found at Cape Town “a single priest for the whole of South Africa,” an English Benedictine, who soon afterwards returned to Europe in broken health. Few Irish immigrants had by that time found their way to the Cape. They began to arrive in numbers only after the famine year.
The founder of the Catholic hierarchy in South Africa was the Irish Dominican, Patrick R. Griffith, who, in 1837, was sent to Cape Town by Gregory XVI. as the first Vicar Apostolic of Cape Colony. His successors at the Cape, Bishops Grimley, Leonard, and Rooney, have all been Irishmen, and nine in every ten of their flock have from the first been Irish by birth or descent. In the earlier years of Bishop Griffith’s episcopate there was a large garrison in South Africa on account of the Kaffir wars. Many of these soldiers were Irishmen. At Grahamstown in 1844 the soldiers of an Irish regiment stationed there did most of the work of building St. Patrick’s Church, one of the oldest Catholic churches in South Africa. They worked without wages or reward of any kind, purely out of their devotion to their Faith, giving up most of their leisure to this voluntary labor.