Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/125

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111
A FEW IRISH CENTRES.

scenes. Neither will it be any surprise to learn that Kilmore gave to the church in Victoria its first native nun and its first native priest. St. Patrick's Church in Kilmore contains the remains of Father O'Rourke, the devoted Irish priest who lovingly superintended its erection, and who, during life, was almost idolised by his faithful Celtic flock. An antipodean Soggarth Aroon, when priests were few and far between, he brought himself to a premature grave by the unsparing activity with which he strove to overtake the spiritual requirements of the extensive district which had been committed to his charge. The present pastor of the Kilmore mission. Father Farrelly, is the beau ideal of the genial, good-natured Irish priest, and he has achieved a widespread popularity.

Kilmore was necessarily a place of considerable political importance during the long period when it was represented in Parliament by the late Sir John O'Shanassy, the head of three Victorian Ministries. It was the platform to which the eyes of the whole colony were turned at more than one momentous crisis, and from which more than one statesmanlike policy was propounded. When Sir John retired from its representation in order to enter the Upper House, he was succeeded by his Attorney-General and the most brilliant advocate at the Victorian bar, Mr. E. D. Ireland, Q.C. The district is now well and capably represented by Mr. Thomas Hunt, the proprietor of its Free Press, and an energetic, patriotic Irish-Australian.

In his "Life in Victoria," Mr. Kelly gives an interesting account of his meeting in the early days with a countryman in Kilmore, who had been a great gainer in every respect by emigration. "During my first stroll through the town," he says, "I observed a man following me in all my move-