Tuesday, 26 September 2017

LEAD UP TO IRISH FAMINE as depicted in TROVE 26th SEPT. 2017


Scene at Skibbereen during the Great Famine, by Cork artist James Mahony (1810–1879), commissioned by The Illustrated London News, 1847. Courtesy of Wikipedia

"The Great Hunger" as the Irish famine was called, was  heralded many years before it happened. Here in Australia, the press was posting all manner of articles about what could be expected. 

Here is just a small selection of articles that were published...

Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842), Thursday 5 January 1832, page 2  

National Library of Australia


Connaught and Munster were showing some of the first  signs of the forthcoming famine.

Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 - 1857), Wednesday 1 February 1832, page 2 

National Library of Australia        http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8646286  

Excerpts.. Please click on images to enlarge...

The stories were coming regularly from Ireland...

and just for interest in the same publication...

Australasian Chronicle (Sydney, NSW : 1839 - 1843), Thursday 17 November 1842, page 4 

National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article31737894 

There was an impassioned plea from the Archbishop of Tuam to Sir Robert Peel...he could see no other way to help the people.. can be enlarged..

Morning Chronicle (Sydney, NSW : 1843 - 1846), Saturday 26 October 1844, page 2

National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article31743852

 The Irish spirit prevailed... 

Morning Chronicle (Sydney, NSW : 1843 - 1846), Saturday 11 April 1846, page 1 
National Library of Australia

This article is too hard to read... so here is the transcription... 
from the Lord Mayor of Dublin..

At a meeting of the Mansion House Committee
on Wednesday, the following resolutions were una-
nimously adopted :-
" 1st. -- That we feel it an imperative duty to dis-
charge our consciences of all responsibility regarding
the undoubtedly approaching calamities, famine and
pestilence throughout Ireland, an approach which is
imminent and almost immediate, and can be obviated
only by the most prompt, universal, and efficacious
measures for procuring food and employment for
the people.
" 2nd -- That we have ascertained beyond the
shadow of doubt that considerably more than one-
third of the entire of the potato crop in Ireland has
been already destroyed by the potato disease, and
that such disease has not by any means ceased its
ravages, but on the contrary, it is daily expanding
more and more, and that no reasonable conjecture
can be formed with respect to the limits of its effects,
short of the destruction of the entire remaining
potato crop.
"3rd -- That our information upon the subject is
positive and precise, and is derived from persons
living in all the counties of Ireland. From persons
also of all political opinions, and from clergymen of
all religious persuasions.
" 4th -- We are thus unfortunately able to proclaim
to all the inhabitants of the British Empire, and in
the presence of an all-seeing Providence, that in
Ireland famine of a most hideous description must
be immediate and pressing, and that pestilence of
the most frightful kind is certain, and not remote,
unless immediately prevented.
" 5th -- That we arraign in the strongest terms
consistent with personal respect to ourselves, the
culpable conduct of the present administration, as
well in refusing to take any efficacious measure for
alleviating the existing calamity with all its ap-
proaching hideous and necessary consequences, as
also for the positive and unequivocal crime of keeping
the ports closed against the importation of foreign
provisions, thus either abdicating their duty to the
people or their sovereign, whose servants they are,
or involving themselves in the enormous guilt of
aggravating starvation and famine by unnaturally
keeping up the price of provisions, and doing this
for the benefit of a selfish class who derive at the
present awful crisis pecuniary advantages to them-
selves by the maintenance of the oppressive corn laws.
" 6th -- That the people of Ireland, in their bitter
hours of misfortune, have the strongest right to
impeach the criminality of the Ministers of the
Crown, inasmuch as it has pleased a merciful Pro-
vidence to favour Ireland In the present season with
a most abundant crop of oats. Yet, whilst the Irish
harbours are closed against the importation of
foreign food, they are left open for the exportation
of Irish oats and grain, an exportation which has
already amounted in the present season to a quantity
nearly adequate to feed the entire people of Ireland, 
and to avert the now certain famine, thus inflicting 
upon the Irish people, the abject misery of having 
their own provisions carried away to feed others 
whilst they themselves are left contemptuously to 
" 7th -- That the people of Ireland should parti- 
cularly arraign the conduct of the Ministry in 
shrinking from their duty, to open the ports for the 
introduction of provisions by royal proclamation, 
whilst they have had the inhumanity to postpone the 
meeting of Parliament till next year. 
" 8th -- That we behold in this conduct of the 
Ministry the contemptuous disregard of the lives of 
the people of Ireland, and that we therefore do pre- 
pare an address to her Majesty, most humbly pray- 
ing her Majesty to direct her Ministers to adopt, 
without any kind of delay, the most extensive and 
efficacious measures to arrest the progress of famine 
and pestilence in Ireland." 
John L. Arabin, Lord Mayor of Dublin. 

Earliest known photograph of Victoria, here with her eldest daughter, c. 1845
Courtesy of Wikipedia   

In January, 1846, the Lord Mayors of London and Dublin presented addresses to Queen Victoria... 

The South Australia Register reported this with full details...

South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), Wednesday 20 May 1846, page 1 

National Library of Australia

Henry Edward Doyle - Illustration from Preface to the First Edition of An Illustrated History of Ireland from AD 400 to 1800, by Mary Frances Cusack, Illustrated by Henry Doyle scanned into 001.jpg extracted from Gutenberg project's zip file linked from [1]. First published in 1868.
Public Domain.

Engraving of Emigrants leaving Ireland by Mary Frances Cusack

For further reading, go to     http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper or simply Google 'pre Irish Famine' or 'Irish Famine'.


  1. Were there newspapers published in Australia specifically for the Irish population, during or after the Great Hunger?

    1. Hi Kevin, good question... I just happen to be working on another post re newspapers... but I will let you in on one entry... There was at least one that I know of pre 1850. It was called the Irish Exile...however it was short lived...more details soon.
      Thanks for your comment.


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