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Scenic Saturday – Irish Famine Memorial, Sydney

The Australian Memorial to the Great Irish Famine (1845-1852) is located at the Hyde Park Barracks on Macquarie Street Sydney. It commemorates the arrival in Australia of over 4,000 single young women, most of whom were teenagers. (1)

The girls arrived under Earl Grey’s Famine Orphan Scheme (1848-1850), a scheme designed to resettle destitute girls from the workhouses of Ireland during the Great Famine.(2)

The memorial is simple but evocative. It features a sandstone wall representing the physical dislocation to the girls’s lives. Set into the wall are two glass panels inscribed with the names of 400 of these girls. These names are designed to fade in the sun just as memories fade over time. A table cast in bronze, split in two on each side of the wall, has a simple table with a bowl on one end and a simple institutional table setting with utensils on the other end.

Figure 1: Irish Famine Memorial, Sydney (3)

One of these young women was my 3 x great grandmother Anne Muldoon (1831-1872).(4) Ann left the Ballyshannon Workhouse in 1848 and arrived in Sydney on the Inchinnan on 13 February 1849.(5)

To read more about Ann Muldoon’s very sad life click here for a recent post Trove Tuesday – A cry for help.



(1) Irish Famine Memorial Sydney, ‘Irish Famine Memorial,’ Accessed 12 September 2019.

(2) Irish Famine Memorial Sydney, “Irish Famine Memorial’.

(3) Brian Harris, ‘Irish Famine Memorial Sydney’, 2018, digital image.

(4) Ancestry, Immigration record for Ann Muldoon, New South Wales, Australia, Assisted Immigrant Passenger Lists, 1828-1896, State Records Authority of NSW; Kingswood NSW, Accessed 13 September 2019.

(5) Ancestry, Immigration record for Ann Muldoon.

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