The Consulate General of Ireland in Sydney was delighted to support and promote an exciting programme of events to commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising in New South Wales
The projects and events in New South Wales were part of a wider programme across Australia supported by the Embassy of Ireland in Canberra. The programme covered a wide range of disciplines - music, theatre, film, the visual arts, academia and more, ranging from ‘Blood: Not for the Faint-Hearted’, an exhibition in Melbourne created by Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin with works by Irish and international artists, to the ‘Journey of a Nation Rising’, a musical celebration of Ireland at Australia’s National Folk Festival held in Canberra at Easter.
Theatre, music and song were well-represented throughout the programme. In Adelaide, ‘Border Crossings’ brought together contemporary artists from Ireland and Australia with works on cross-cultural issues surrounding ethnic conflict, the legacy of colonialism and the challenges of reconciliation. ‘Exile: Songs of Irish Australia’ featuring Shane Howard, Paul Kelly and Pauline Scanlon was staged in Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, and told the story of the Australian-Irish in song, imagery, poetry and spoken. At the State Library in Sydney, ‘Wherever Green is Worn’ brought to life the events of the Rising through musical performances and narration, while in Perth, ‘A Sense of Ireland’ celebrated the musical tradition of our country.
Conferences were organised at the University of New South Wales, where leading international academics reflected on the international legacies of the Rising, and at the University of Melbourne where the Rising’s impacts and its Australasian contexts were explored. The 22nd annual Australasian Irish Studies Conference took place in Adelaide and also had a focus on the centenary.
The Embassy partnered with the Australia National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra for a special evening at which a documentary on the Rising produced by the University of Notre Dame was screened as the centre-piece of its Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations. The documentary was also shown in Sydney as part of the Irish Film Festival which was supported by the Consulate. The Consulate also supported the development of a short documentary film examining the role of Australian soldiers in Dublin during the Easter Rising.
The Embassy and Consulate were also delighted to provide support to a large number of events organised by Irish community clubs and societies across the region.
In addition to once-off events, the Embassy and the Consulate also supported projects which will serve as a legacy of the commemoration for future generations. These included the digitisation of Australian newspaper clippings from the period and creation of a database of Irish rebel songs in Australia.