Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/279

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CHAPTER XII.


A GROUP OF STATESMEN.


SIR JOHN O'SHANASSY—ORANGE OUTRAGES— RIOTING IN MELBOURNE—ST. PATRICK'S SOCIETY—SIR CHARLES GAVAN DUFFY—HIS ENTHUSIASTIC WELCOME TO AUSTRALIA—THE FATHER OF AUSTRALIAN FEDERATION—SETTLING THE PEOPLE ON THE LANDS—THE DUFFY LAND ACT—A SERIES OF STRIKING LECTURES—SIR BRYAN O'LOGHLEN—HIS RAPID POLITICAL PROMOTION—WILSON GRAY, PRESIDENT OF THE LAND CONVENTION—MICHAEL O'GRADY—THE GLENVEIGH EXILES—A BENEFACTOR TO HIS RACE—THE HON. NICHOLAS FITZGERALD—WILLIAM CHARLES WENTWORTH, "THE AUSTRALIAN PATRIOT."


The somewhat remarkable and frequently quoted fact that Irishmen attain the most exalted positions in every country save their own, has been consistently exemplified throughout the Australian colonies, and nowhere more strikingly than in the career of the late Sir John O'Shanassy, thrice Prime Minister of Victoria. For more than thirty years he was the commanding figure of Victorian public life—brilliant in speech, ready in debate, able in administration, skilful in organising, a popular leader of his countrymen, and an ardent defender of Catholic rights. His first appearance on the scene of his future energetic and useful life is thus graphically narrated by his old and intimate friend, Mr. W. H. Archer:

"When John O'Shanassy sailed from Plymouth in the 'William Metcalf' on July 26, 1839, he never thought of settling in Melbourne. A near relative of his had already emigrated to New South Wales, and had induced him to go