Commemorating the Great Irish Famine at Hyde Park Barracks


On Sunday 30 August 2020 the Annual Famine Commemoration was held at The Australian Monument to the Great Irish Famine at Hyde Park Barracks.

This was the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Great Irish Famine Commemoration Committee (GIFCC), who worked tirelessly to establish a memorial to the millions who died during the famine or were forced to emigrate to find a better life.

Presented in partnership with Sydney Living Museums (SLM), this year’s event was restricted to 20 attendees due to COVID-19 but was live streamed to many more across the globe.

Attending the event were Owen Feeney, Irish Consul-General, Sydney Consulate; GIFCC Acting Chair Trish Power; members of the committee; SLM’s Executive Director Adam Lindsay and Lisa Morisset, Manager Development Office of Advancement, Western Sydney University.

The event was marked by the singing of the Australian and Irish anthems, performances by harpist Cliona Molins and vocalist Jacquie McPhee, tributes, laying of wreaths at the monument and the presentation of two awards:

  • The 2020 Irish Famine Memorial History Honours Prize was presented to Maximillian Barnett who is undertaking his Masters in global famines at Macquarie University.
  • The GIFCC support an annual refugee scholarship and prize at Western Sydney University for current refugees to Australia. The 2020 Irish Famine Memorial Prize for Excellence at Western Sydney University was awarded to Zainab Khavary who fled Afghanistan as a refugee with her one-year-old son. Zainab’s moving speech was a modern reminder of the sacrifices and hardships endured by the Irish orphan girls who came to Australia between 1848-1850, many staying at the Hyde Park Barracks while it was Sydney’s female Immigration Depot.

You can watch the full event here: 


About the Author

Portrait of woman standing against stone wall.
Susan Sedgwick
Head, City Museums Portfolio
As Head of the City Museums Portfolio, Susan manages the Hyde Park Barracks Museum, Justice & Police Museum, The Mint, Museum of Sydney and...

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