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Over 25,000 Irish convict women were sent to Australian penal colonies between 1788 and 1853.

25,000 Irish convict women sent to Australia honored in Cork

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Over 25,000 Irish convict women were sent to Australian penal colonies between 1788 and 1853.

Over 25,000 Irish convict women, who were sent to Australian penal colonies between 1788 and 1853, will be remembered in a memorial in Cork.

A student of visual and performance art, Christina Henri, from the University of Tasmania has collected thousand of bonnets to commemorate the life and contribution made by each of the women who were transported. So far, she has collected 15,000, similar to those the women who have worn at the time.

The memorial, called “Roses from the Heart” will commemorate the 25,566 women from Britain and Ireland who were sent to the penal colonies.

The Irish Examiner reports on one woman’s case as an example of the hardship suffered by the women at the time. Mary Walsh from Clonmel was sentenced to seven years in the colony of Van Diemen’s Land, Tasmania. The mother of one was charged with stealing cloth from a local shop and was shipped out in 1842.

Her story was mapped out through a letter which her husband sent to her in 1843. This letter is now part of the collection at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and forms a central part of the Henri’s project.

A series of events will commemorate the women, including three concerts around Cork, in West Cork, Cork Gaol and Cobh, along with a blessing of Henri’s bonnets.
 

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