The exhibition was my last stop this morning before travelling back home after a few days break in Canberra. As Mr Geniaus was busy with work I dragged a friend, who also has Irish heritage, along with me. My friend hadn't heard much about the exhibition even though he lives in Canberra, not far from the National Museum of Australia where the exhibition is housed, and had no idea of what he would see.
The excellent exhibition, that shows many artefacts begged and borrowed from institutions and individuals from Australia and overseas, has a wealth of information about the Irish in Australia. Highlighted in the exhibition, in addition to Ned Kelly and his notorious gang, are many famous and infamous Australians of Irish heritage, their stories are told with photos, maps, video, sound and artefacts.
There is a reading area that has a collection of books on Ireland, the Irish in Australia and Irish genealogy; unfortunately, as there were no copies of these for sale, the Museum is probably missing out on some extra revenue. I did manage to buy a couple of books from the small collection that was for sale. Additionally in a corner of the retail/reading area there is a family history area with a few PCs that visitors can use to research their family history. It would be useful if there was a person available to help budding genealogists use the resources on these PCs.
|Les Darcy - Locket|
Hearing a recording of "Hail Queen of Heaven" reminded me of my years in a catholic school and seeing the model of Tarmons, the first site of St Vincent's Hospital, and later part of St. Vincent's College caused me to reflect on my schooldays and the influence the Sisters of Charity.
When I saw the chalice that Father Therry, the pioneer priest, used in the early years of the colony tears welled up. Father Therry baptised my 2 x great grandfather, Patrick Curry. Patrick's parents, my convict ancestors Patrick Curry and Ellen Moore, would have taken communion from this cup when Father Therry visited the area near Camden Park where they lived. I was glad that I had a friend with me with whom I could share my joy at seeing that object. Sadly, as photography is not allowed, I was not able to take a photo of the chalice to add to my family story.
I learnt so much about Australia from this exhibition and have added too many books to my "to buy" and "to read" lists; I am now anxious to organise another more leisurely trip to Ireland than my last one. My friend was thrilled that I had taken him along and, as our tickets allowed re-entry on the day, was returning to continue his exploration after dropping me back to my hotel.
|Not just Ned - Catalogue|
I would have liked more time at the exhibition but am pleased that I was able to have a couple of hours there. The beautiful catalogue of the exhibition that I purchased will ensure that I can revisit and read about the event for years to come. If only it had a picture of Father Therry's chalice it would be perfect.
I would recommend this exhibition to anyone irrespective of their heritage, it is a must for those with a connection to Ireland who should head for Canberra before the exhibition closes on July 31.