||Issue No. 182||13 June 2003|
The Dead Couple
History: Nest of Traitors
Interview: A Nation of Hope
Unions: National Focus
Safety: The Shocking Truth
Tribute: A Comrade Departed
History: Working Bees
Education: The Big Picture
International: Static Labour
Economics: Budget And Fudge It
Technology: Google and Campaigning
Review: Secretary With A Difference
Poetry: The Minimale
Satire: Howard Calls for Senate to be Replaced by Clap-O-Meter
The Locker Room
Letters to the Editor
Next year is the bicentennary of Vinegar Hill and I am seeking to find others with an interest in this.
A little information on Vinegar Hill is below (for more see http://1798.blogeasy.com).
BYRNES & IRISH STUDY GROUP
PO Box 264
Summer Hill NSW 2135
Email: [email protected]
In the year 1798 uprisings occurred in Ireland and Scotland with the aim of uniting the Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter populations and to expell the English to regain native ownership of the celtic lands. Such attempted revolution was based on the same republican ideals as was the American Revolution. Both in turn had adopted the ideals of the European "Englightenment" philosophy of reason, freedom, egality and fraternity. Unlike the American Revolution, however, the uprisings in Ireland and Scotland were squashed with comparative ease by the vastly superior musket and cannon power possessed by the English controlled forces. In Ireland one of the last great battles was at Vinegar Hill in the Country of Wexford. Nowadays at Vinegar Hill in Ireland there stands a National Centre of remembrance to 1798 and a "Tree of Liberty". Some of the prisoners from 1798 were exiled to Australia, arriving in Sydney on the Friendship II and the Minerva in 1800.
Under the very class conscious system of the English, the "generals" of the revolution were treated entirely differently to the common or perceived lower class Irish. The rebellion leader Joseph Holt, was allowed to live here free in exile. Brave Dwyer, who after Vinegar Hill had lead his men into the Wicklow Mountains for a short period of further resistance, later became the Chief Constable of Liverpool.
The lower class of political prisoner was far less fortunate. Some went to the government farm at Castle Hill (now a Heritage Park, gazetted 2000). In 1804 the Napoleonic war was continuing. A rumour apparently began to circulate that Napoleon's forces had invaded Ireland and beaten the English, and that Ireland at last was free. Inspired no doubt by this, clandesine planning of rebellion began. On the night of the 4th March 1804 the two hundred or so Irish prisoners at Castle Hill farm overcame their overseers and set off on the road to Windsor, no doubt hoping to rouse and liberate the Irish of the Hawkesbury district and there renew the 'Republic of Wexford' ideals which had very briefly reigned in 1798. The slogan was 'Liberty or Death'. The small poorly armed "army", or mob, was overtaken by a detachment of the NSW Corps at a hill in the present day suburb of Rouse Hill. There some of the convicts were killed and most fled. The military swiftly hanged the leade!
r Phillip Cunningham (foreman stonemason at Castle Hill) from the parapet of the Windsor Store. Eight other captured men were hanged, some in prominent places where the bodies were left hanging lest any others might have similar ideas. Others received floggings of up to 500 lashes, and others were sent to the iron gangs as labour for road-making. According to folklore (memoirs of J.T. Ryan) some 60-70 bodies may have been left around Vinegar Hill and 10 years later the government had the bones collected and buried. In 1820 the government tried to suppress the name "Vinegar Hill" (1820 Apr 15 - Finger-board with name Belle Vue to be placed on top of hill called Vinegar Hill; Colonial Secretary Records, Reel 6049; 4/1744, pp.257-60) but the name has lived on regardless.
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