Western Australia Irish Famine Commemoration Inc.
Annual International Famine Commemoration 2021
and Unveiling of Interpretive Panel
Sunday, 16th May, 2021 at 2pm.
Commemoration Report from Perth's Irish Scene magazine:
GOOD WEATHER AND A LARGE CROWD TURNED
OUT FOR THE 2021 ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL FAMINE
COMMEMORATION IN SUBIACO
An interpretative panel for An Gorta Mor sculpture in Market Square Park was officially unveiled by former mayors of Subiaco, Tony Costa and Heather Henderson.
Fred Rea, chairman of the Western Australia Famine Commemoration Committee, said the new panel "completed" the memorial, first unveiled by President Michael D Higgins in October 2017.
As well as the fine weather, event goers enjoyed an incredible showcase of Irish creative culture themed around the Famine.
Fiona Rea sang her new song 'An Gorta Mor', dedicated to the women who fled lreland for Australia. This haunting number led into a spectacular Irish dance performance taken from The Journey, a production due to be staged in The Regal Theatre in Subiaco later this year.
Actor Michael Anthony then stunned the gathering with his powerful enactment of two very different Irish Famine era characters, a Cottier Farmer and Sir Charles Trevelyan, best known for his administration of the famine relief effort in Ireland during The Great Hunger.
Mr Jim Egan read the Famine prayer, and Honorary Irish Consulate Marty Kavanagh also addressed the event that was hosted by Tom Murphy.
At the end of the ceremony members of the audience were invited to leave flowers at An Gorta Mor memorial. Following the commemoration, all went back to The Irish Club for an afternoon of Traditional Irish Music from Perth Comhaltas and refreshments.
Photos: Lloyd Gorman • assisted by Ewan Gorman.
The first International Famine Commemoration was held in Ireland in 2008, following the Irish Government’s decision to commemorate the Great Famine with an annual Memorial Day. Each year the commemoration represents an opportunity for the modern generation to remember the devastating impact which the Great Famine had on the country.
The WA commemoration has been held in Perth at the Famine Memorial in Market Square, Subiaco since its unveiling by the Irish President, Michael D Higgins in 2017.
This memorial remembers the young Irish women who, from 1853, came to Western Australia from Irish workhouses following the Great Hunger of 1847 – 1850.
The Western Australia Famine Commemoration ceremony is special this year as we will be unveiling the Memorial Interpretive Panel. The WAIFC would like to thank Denis Burke and Frank Smyth for their continuing support of the memorial, especially the installation of the Interpretive Panel, go raibh míle maith agat. Thanks also to Joan and Charlie Smith of Smith Sculptors for their design of the Interpretive panel. This now completes the memorial.
From the Interpretive Panel:
“The spiral leads to the bronze sculpture of the keening ‘Childless Mother’, which is a personification of “Uaigneas” the eternal expression of loneliness in the Irish language, voicing the enormous sense of inconsolable loss and emptiness of parents left behind”.
The Famine Commemoration will be held at the memorial in Market Square, Subiaco form 2pm to 4.30pm. You are invited and to bring flowers if you wish to place on the memorial. The ceremony will be compered by Tom Murphy.
Sad, sad is my fate in this weary exile
Dark, dark is the night cloud o’er lone Shanakyle
Where the murdered sleep silently pile upon pile
In the coffinless graves of poor Éireann.