Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/42

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labour market, or propping up the portals of the lowest class of public-houses. Perhaps the explanation is to be found in the fact that any change from the impoverished and degraded condition of the Irish peasant on his native soil must necessarily have been one for the better, and that therefore, on arrival, he was only too glad to embrace the first opportunity that presented itself. However, whatever the reason, all impartial observers will agree, and statistics will bear me out in the assertion, that Irishmen constituted a very small proportion of the loafing population, or of the criminal crowd that filled the gaols and asylums; while I may affirm, without fear of contradiction, that the proverbial chastity of the Irish female was nobly sustained by those poor girls who found themselves standing alone, without parents or protectors, in the midst of the staring contaminations of the Victorian metropolis."

A few hundred yards to the east of St. Francis' is a magnificent block of buildings comprising the Public Library, the Museum, and the National Gallery, all founded by a distinguished, philanthropic, and scholarly Irish-Australian, Sir Redmond Barry, a native of Cork, and a fellow-graduate of Isaac Butt, with whom he was called to the Irish bar in 1838. According to one of his biographers, "Barry had scarcely been called to the bar when he formed the determination of emigrating to some less overcrowded field; for the Irish bar then presented no immediate prospects, but a very long and dreary expectation of the demise of a sufficient number of judges and leading barristers to raise the juniors to an amount of business sufficient for their support." In 1839 he arrived in Sydney, but only remained there for a few weeks, preferring to make the southern city his home. Even as early as 1841 he was the recognised leader of the