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1 August 2017 Edition

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Help restore Irish patriots memorial in Australia

The memorial also features a plaque honouring Bobby Sands and the nine other H-Blocks Hunger Strikers who died in 1981.

CAIRDE Sinn Féin Australia are raising funds to help the Irish National Association (INA) repair the damage caused by vandals to the premier monument in Australia to honour Ireland’s patriot dead. All funds raised by this project will be publicly donated to the Irish National Association.

The 1798 Memorial in Waverley Cemetery in Sydney is the burial site of United Ireland leader Michael Dwyer. Known as ‘The Wicklow Chief’, Michael Dwyer is the most prominent Irish republican leader to be buried in the Southern Hemisphere.

“Made of marble, bronze and mosaic, Waverley’s 1798 Memorial is the finest of its kind in the world,” Cairde Sinn Féin says.

Chiselled in the monument’s stone are the names of the executed leaders of the United Irishmen from 1798 and 1803 along with the names of the executed leaders of the 1916 Rebellion. 

The memorial also features a plaque honouring Bobby Sands and the nine other H-Blocks Hunger Strikers who died in 1981.

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Michael Dwyer was the last United Ireland leader to hold out. Having fought in Wexford in 1798, Dwyer took to the Wicklow Hills and fought on until the end of 1803 when Robert Emmet’s Rebellion was finally quelled. 

Michael Dwyer arrived in Sydney on 15 February 1806 with his wife, Mary, on the convict ship Telicherry. He died in 1825 and was buried in the Devonshire Street Cemetery in Sydney. His wife, Mary, died in 1860 and was buried with Michael in a vault at Devonshire Street Cemetery.

As the centenary of the 1798 Rising approached, the Irish community rallied and bought a prestigious burial plot overlooking the sea in Waverley Cemetery.

On Easter Sunday 1898, the caskets of Michael and Mary Dwyer were taken to Waverley Cemetery in the largest funeral Sydney had seen up to that time. The caskets were placed in a vault and the foundation stone of the present monument was laid. The monument was opened on Easter Sunday 1900.

Just 16 years later, another generation of brave Irish men and women struck their blow for Irish freedom in the 1916 Easter Rebellion. 

For decades now, the Irish community still gathers at 2pm every Easter Sunday at the Waverley Monument to honour all those who fought and died for Ireland’s freedom.

Among the inscriptions decorating the memorial is the following in Gaelic: “People of Ireland, treasure the memory of the deeds of your ancestors. The warriors die but the true cause lasts forever.”

Cairde Sinn Féin Australia says:

“In that spirit, we ask you to donate what you can to repair the damage caused by mindless vandals and help restore the Waverley Monument to all its glory.”

You can contribute through the GoFundMe page gofundme.com/irishmemorial “Restore the Irish Patriots Memorial”.

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