Get your 2022 Wild Goose Lecture tix now!

The last convict ship to Australia, the Hougoumont, arrived in Fremantle in January 1868. On board were 62 Irish Fenians, political prisoners, who published a hand-written newspaper, the Wild Goose, on their 90 day journey.

To commemorate their literary achievement, the Wild Goose Lecture is presented annually by Fenians Fremantle and Freedom Inc, the organisation created to honour the Fenians, their arrival in and departure from Fremantle, and the impact their lives had on Irish, Australian and United States culture.

The 2022 Wild Goose Lecture will be presented in the NWS Shipping Theatre at the Western Australian Maritime Museum in Fremantle by the accomplished Dr Kate Gregory, Battye Historian at the State Library of Western Australia at 3pm on Sunday 16 October.

The lecture – titled ‘Cracking O’Reilly’s Code – Assessing the significance of John Boyle O’Reilly’s 1868 Book of Poetry’ – will explore the story of an original handwritten book of poetry by Irish Fenian poet, writer and political activist John Boyle O’Reilly. The book, held within the Western Australian State Library’s collection and dated 1868, was written during his time as a prisoner in Western Australia.

The book of poetry is bound in vellum with stenography shorthand code written across the front and back cover. A brass clasp opens to reveal a dedication to Father Patrick McCabe, a Bunbury Priest, who assisted O’Reilly’s escape aboard The Gazelle to America in 1869. When the book was donated to the State Library in 1989, although signed by O’Reilly, its authenticity was verified through extensive research, ultimately leading to the stenography code being cracked and enabling it to be partially deciphered, and without a doubt establishing O’Reilly as the author.

Get your tickets here now, as the they are flying out the door fast.

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