A New History of the Irish in Australia
In 1986, Patrick O’Farrell published a landmark book, The Irish in Australia. This was an important volume given that after the English, the Irish were the largest population in Australia between 1788 and 1945, comprising nearly 25 per cent of all non-Indigenous Australians by 1901. Drawing on source materials unused until now, A New History of the Irish in Australia focuses on key areas previously ignored, including race. Indeed, the Irish were seen as a different, inferior ethnic group, despised and feared. Catholic Irish were often seen as a threat to the empire in their supposed failure to show loyalty to the crown. Their alleged recklessness and the moral shortcomings of Irish men and women meant they were perceived as a threat to good manners and society, often the butt of jokes in popular culture.
This book also looks at the Australian–Irish experience in the context of the worldwide Irish diaspora, revealing much about what Irish–Australians shared with Irish communities elsewhere and showing that the Irish–Australian experience was unique.
Dianne Hall, senior lecturer in History at Victoria University, Melbourne, has published widely on the Irish in nineteenth-century Australia, as well as on gender, religion and violence in Ireland.
Elizabeth Malcolm, honorary professorial fellow and formerly Gerry Higgins Professor of Irish Studies at the University of Melbourne, has published on policing, mental health, gender and popular culture in Ireland, as well as on the Irish diaspora in both Britain and Australia. Both authors are co-editors of the Australasian Journal of Irish Studies.