The memorial to the Great Irish Famine and the young women who came from the workhouses of Ireland to Australia between 1848 and 1850 on a special emigration scheme is the vision of the Irish community in Sydney. The Irish Famine Monument was commissioned by the Historic Houses Trust of NSW (HHT) [name changed to Sydney Living Museums in 2014] and funded by donations from Government bodies, the Land Titles Office and the Irish Community. It was inspired by the call of the President of Ireland, Mary Robinson during her Sydney visit in 1995, that all Irish communities remember the Irish Famine and strive to alieviate poverty in the world today.
The 420 names etched in the glass panels of the memorial represent all 4114 workhouse emigrants. By extension the names reflect ALL those people who died or fled the Famine. As this is an artwork is is not possible to add or remove any of the names. These names were put there at the request of relatives following replies to advertisments in various newspapers when the Memorial was being designed. The fading is part of the memorial - as their names fade on the glass so does the memory of some of these young female immigrants. The workhouse orphans' stories are being gathered in the database section of this website for all to share in Australia, Ireland and worldwide