Sunday, 29 April 2012

Taphophile Tragics - Remember '98

Who fears to speak of '98?
When cowards mock the patriot's fate.
Who blushes at the name?
Who hangs his head in shame?


Erected in 1898, this monument contains the bodies of Michael Dwyer, the "Wicklow Chief", a survivor of the Fenian Uprising, and his wife Mary. Also inscribed upon the walls are the names of patriots murdered during the Easter 1916 Uprising, and those who died on hunger strikes against the British Government in the early 1980s.

Born in 1772, Michael Dwyer was a Society of the United Irishmen leader in the 1798 rebellion. He later fought a guerilla campaign against the British Army in the Wicklow Mountains. In August 1805, Dwyer was transported to New South Wales as an unsentenced exile.

However, when he arrived in February 1806 in the Tellicherry, Dwyer was given free settler status. He was given a grant of 100 acres of land on Cabramatta Creek in Sydney. He was later to become Chief of Police (1813–1820) at Liverpool but was dismissed for drunken conduct and mislaying important documents. In December 1822 he was sued for aggrandizing his farm. Bankrupted, he was forced to sell off most of his assets, although this did not save him from several weeks incarceration in the Sydney debtors' prison in May 1825. Here he contracted dysentery, to which he succumbed in August 1825, aged 53.

Originally interred at Liverpool, his remains were reburied in the Devonshire Street cemetery, Sydney, in 1878 by his grandson John Dwyer, dean of St Mary's Cathedral. In May 1898 the coincidence of the planned closure of the Devonshire Street cemetery due to the creation of Central Railway Station, and the centenary celebrations for the 1798 rebellion, suggested s second re-interment of Dwyer and his wife, this time in Waverley Cemetery, where this massive memorial was erected. The crowds attending Dwyer's re-burial and the unveiling of the monument, testified to the esteem in which Irish-Australians held the former Wicklow hero.



This is my contribution to the Taphophile Tragics community.

15 comments:

Kay L. Davies said...

Oh, the sad history of Ireland.
I don't quite understand why someone would be sued for aggrandizing his farm, unless that means taking someone else's land to add to his own.
Nevertheless, a very interesting post, Julie.
K

paul said...

A very interesting story spanning many years. And the last image is superb.

Ann said...

The rebellious Irish - the basis of the Anglo/Celt Australian character. Very imposing memorial. I'm with Kay, strange thing to be sued for, unless "aggrandizing" meant something different in the law of the time, to what we understand today.

Julie said...

I think it meant 'knicking' or even squatting'n'fencing ...

Hilda said...

A sad way to end a heroic life but I'm glad people still remember. The "remember 98" panel in your first photo is just beautiful!

hamilton said...

He sounds like quite the rabble rouser.
No idea how that word popped into my head, but had to share it ;)

The are beautiful, crisp photos, too

Gemma Wiseman said...

So strange that a man who was convicted should become Chief of Police! Quite a turn around! And I did not know that the creation of Central Railway Station required cemetery relocation. Fascinating post!

JM said...

Absolutely beautiful details and interesting story, Julie.

Jim said...

That's huge. Have not seen this one before.

NixBlog said...

A remarkable post, Julie! Things like this could only happen in Australia, I think!
Great photos.

Sondra said...

WELL he lived a tragic life, but he always STOOD up for what he believed...I dont know why some people are born to speak for many, but suffer alone. MY 5 times great Uncle was the Chief of Police of NYC..he wrote a book about it, which is quite remarkable!

The Paw Relations said...

Wow! What an elaborate monument. Such a shame his life was ended because of his short stay in the debtor's prison.

Herding Cats

http://seathreepeeo.blogspot.co.uk

VioletSky said...

That is quite the monument! I like the tile mosaic on the ground, too.

Julie said...

This monument is a melange of all things Irish, to mine eyes. There is the soft and there is the ruthless thuggery. It is a very impressive tomb and memorial, and impressively well maintained. It commands a major site in the middle of the cemetery.

CaT said...

yes, the pictures are great! i often have trouble taking good pictures of "just" details.
nobody learns from history, it seems. violence, more violence. then they erect monuments. then there is violence again. people are really stupid, actually!