A SUMMARY OF ANNUAL EVENTS WITH LINKS TO MORE DETAILS, WHERE AVAILABLE.
2012, 26 August - Thirteenth Anniversary
Our guests of honour were Brendan Graham, Irish composer and novelist, Singer, songwriter Sarah Calderwood and the Australian Girls choir. Descendant Melissa Plant also spoke
2012, 26 August - The Australian Girls Choir
The Austrlaian Girls Choir performed at the 13th anniversary.
2011, 28 August—Twelfth Anniversary
Guests of honour were members of the Irish Diplomatic Corp including the Irish Consul-General Ms Caitriona Ingoldsby. Wreaths were laid and music and song mingle with friends, both old and new. Traditional Irish hospitality was shared by all. Attached is the text of the speech of our honoured guest, Fr Frank Brennan SJ AO.
2010, 29 August—Eleventh Anniversary
Our guest of honour was Irish author, Evelyn Conlon whose address was entitled ‘Disembarking Silence’.
2009, 30 August—Tenth Anniversary
Introduction by Chairman, Tom Power followed by an address by Reverend Professor James Haire, PhD DD DLitt, Executive Director, Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, Canberra.
2008, 31 August—Ninth Anniversary
The rain held off, the music and catering was as good as always, attendance was up on previous years. The occasional address was delivered with by Dr Richard Reid, the curator of a major exhibition on the Irish in Australia at Australian Museum in Canberra to open in 2011.
2007, 27 August—Eighth Anniversary
Master of ceremonies was Mike Bailey. Today we had poetry readings and a booklaunch and presented our Macquarie University prize for the first time.
2006, 2 September—Seventh Anniversary
Guest speaker was Queensland historian, Dr Jennifer Harrison. Guest of honour was Mr Patrick Scullion, Consul-General of Ireland who moved the vote of thanks.
2005, 27 August—Sixth Anniversary
In his address Thomas Keneally likened the misery of the Irish orphan girls who came through Hyde Park Barracks to the desperate plight of the Sudanese refugees in Darfur today.
2004, 29 August—Fifth Anniversary
Tom Power, Chairman, thanked many of the people involved and introduced the speaker for the day, the Hon Susan Ryan.
2003, 17 August—Forth Anniversary
The speaker for this anniversary was Cheryl Mongan, co-author of ‘A Decent Set of Girls’: The Irish Famine orphans of the ‘Thomas Arbuthont’ 1849-185. She focused on those who went to Yass, initially accompanied by Surgeon Charles Strutt, who had cared for them on their voyage.
2002, 8 September—Third Anniversary
The new Irish Ambassador to Australia, Declan Kelly and his wife, Bernadette, were was welcomed by Tom Power and our speaker for the day, Dr Shirley Fitzgerald, City of Sydney Historian was introduced.
Attended by Mr Seamus Brennan, Minister of State in the Department of the Taoiseach, Minister of State in the Department of Defense and Government Chief Whip. An address was delivered by Dr Trevor McClaughlin.
2000—First Anniversary–no formal get together
1999, 28 August—Unveiling the Monument to the Great Irish Famine
On this day the Master of Ceremonies was Martin Coleman supported by Claire Dunn and a message was send from President Mary McAleese.
1998, 2 September—President Mary McAleese inaugurated the monument
1998, 7 August—fundraising dinner where Premier Bob Carr spoke
Sunday 31 August 2014 Gathering starts at 12.30. Our speaker this year is former Irish Ambassador Richard O'Brien who will give a 'Retrospective' of the Memorial. Brendan Graham's songs, 'Orphan Girl', 'The Whitest Flower' & 'You Raise Me Up' will be sung by Sarah Calderwood & the Australian Girls' Choir and be released on CD-ROM that day for sale for $10. Refreshments will be served at the end of the formalities and you are invited to place flowers at the memoral. Entry fee to cover expenses is $10 and includes free entry to the Hyde Park Barracks Musuem
Since the unveiling of the Famine Orphan Monument on 28 August 1998 the Great Irish Famine Commemoration Committee (GIFCC) with the support of Sydney Living Museums (formerly Historic Houses Trust) and the Irish Government has held an annual gathering at the Monument. A summary of these events is on the website with links to speeches and photographs.
These events keep the memory of the orphan girls and the Famine alive. The monument was erected following the work of Tom Power and a group of unsung volunteers. Dignitaries from Ireland have included President Mary McAleese in 1998 when she inaugurated the Memorial. She visited again on 13 March 2003. President Mary Robinson visited the Memorial in 2002 and was greatly impressed. Other representatives from the Irish Government have included the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in March 2000, Minister of State, Seamus Brennan (2001) and a large delegation of Irish parliamentarians from Dáil Éireann (the Irish House of Representatives) who came in October 2003 and laid a wreath. An Irish Minister often visits during ‘Irish week’, around St Patrick’s Day. Making the monument a focal point for the Irish community has benefited greatly from representatives of the Irish government in Australia such as Ambassadors Richard O'Brien, Declan Kelly and Máirtín Ó Fainín and Consuls General Anne Webster, Patrick Scullion and Caitriona Ingoldsby. Long may the association continue.