Dymphna Lonergan was born in Dublin, Ireland, where she studied the Irish language
in school. She immigrated to Australia in 1972. In 1994 she was awarded a Masters
degree by Flinders University for her study of Irish language words in Anglo-Irish
writing. She was awarded a PhD from Flinders in 2002 for her thesis on ‘The
Irish language in Australia’. Currently teaching in the English department
at Flinders University, she continues to research the Irish influence on Australian English.
Other interests include teaching and conversing in Irish in Adelaide, and attending
annual daonscoileanna (folkschools) in Melbourne and Sydney.
(Historical Society of South Australia Inc., 2009) Lonergan, Dymphna
Little of the Irish South Australian story has been available in the public domain. Even in historical circles, research into Irish South Australia has been sparse, and mostly concentrated on post-Famine times: especially the arrival of the Irish orphan girls in the late 1840s and the 1850s. A study of place names in South Australia, however, reveals the presence of the Irish from the beginning.
In celebrating its centennial in an Irish way, despite having little Irish background, The Dublin Progress Association chose to exploit what Pierre Bourdieu would call the ‘economic’, ‘cultural’ and ‘social capital’ associated with the name of their town. We can see that an ‘Irish’ place name in South Australia can have meaning and value that extends beyond its role as a geographic indicator and an historic reminder. Recognition of the economic, cultural, and social value of place names reveals new insights and possibilities. This paper explores Bourdieu’s concepts through the naming of, in the main, Irish related places in South Australia.
Fionán Mac Cártha was born in Roscommon, in the West of Ireland in 1886. As a young man he took an interest in the Irish language. Self-taught, he gained fluency in Irish through conversing with the old people in the district and attendance at language schools. As a twenty-year-old, he was a member of Conradh na Gaeilge, (The Gaelic League), an organisation which was founded in 1893 with the purpose of keeping the Irish language spoken in Ireland. For Mac Cártha the poet there was but one home, Ireland, and one language that spoke of home, the Irish language.
In 1879 the illiterate Ned Kelly dictated a letter to his friend, Joe Byrne before the gang held up a bank in the town of Jerilderie. Kelly expected the letter to be
published and it was dictated to Byrne so that the record of the Kelly gang (and Ned’s in particular) could be put straight. The Jerilderie Letter, as it was later
called, provides details of the episodes that led to Kelly’s his boyhood run-ins with the law and the circumstances that led to the Kelly gang later becoming
notorious bank robbers. This article discusses the language used by Ned Kelly in the famous letter.
In his introduction to the 2002 reprint of D’Arcy Niland’s book, "The Shiralee" (originally published in 1955), Les Murray comments that when the book was first issued the word shiralee had little currency in Australia and abroad, but at the same time it had appeal because it sounded ‘exotic or plausible’. A quick Internet search today reveals that not much has changed. The melodious shiralee has surprisingly few occurrences. This article examines the origins of the word 'shiralee'.
When I arrived in Adelaide in the 1970s, they were called 'cobbers'. Those small, chocolate covered squares of hard caramel now go by the name 'mates'. The word 'mate' has nudged ahead of 'cobber' in popularity, probably since the republican debate in the 1990s when 'mateship' was widely discussed as a proposed term for inclusion in the Constitution of Australia. By the time of the republican debate, the word 'cobber' had been in print for just over one hundred years. Appearing first in the 'Worker' in Sydney in 1893, it points to a rural origin. This article discusses the origins of the word 'cobber'.