On St Patrick’s Day, I like to reflect upon our strong links to the Emerald Isle.
Four of our prime ministers were born to Irish parents, whilst a further 3 prime ministers have strong Irish heritage.
As at 2011, 72,000 Australians were born in Ireland, whilst 1.8 million claimed Irish ancestry.
1.8 million! That’s almost 10% of our population, and almost 50% of Ireland’s entire population!
Some more quick Irish facts:
- 1791: The first wave of Irish migration took the form of 155 Irish convicts who were sent to Australia in 1791 from County Cork.
- 1791 to 1871: 50,000 Irish convicts, and 350,000 free Irish Settlers followed suit.
- 1871 to 2011: Australia’s Irish population falls from over 220,000 in the 1880s to less than 40,000 at the time of the 1966 Census, and 72,000 in 2011.
- Ireland has provided us with four Prime Ministers in the first half of the twentieth century (James Scullin, Joseph Lyons, John Curtin and Ben Chifley). All four were born to Irish parents.
- Three other former Prime Ministers have Irish ancestry (William McMahon, Paul Keating and Kevin Rudd).
- We are the third most popular destination for Irish emigrants after the UK and US.
- Ireland has recently joined the ranks of our top 10 migrant source countries – a position it last achieved a quarter of a century ago.
- In 2011, Australia granted 22,000 working holiday visas to Irish citizens – a 50% increase on 2010.
The Migration Place is a division of Irish Bentley Lawyers and obviously the founder of the Firm, Alan Irish, has strong Irish heritage.
Australians like to claim Irish and convict heritage.
Our Principal Migration Lawyer, Zeke Bentley can claim Irish heritage stemming from his mother’s great great grandfather who come out from Limerick to Australia in the early 1800s and discovered one of Australia’s largest gold fields at Kalgoorlie.
On his father’s side, Zeke’s heritage goes back to Joshua Bentley, who was the first born Caucasian in Australia – Joshua was conceived on the First Fleet following a romance between a convict girl, and a sailor, and he was born shortly after the First Fleet landed.
People are proud to be Irish, proud to know the Irish and, let’s not forget, proud to claim some form of Irishness, especially on St Patrick’s Day.