Ireland’s Empire: The Catholic Church, the Hunter Region, and the 19th Century Irish Diaspora
Dr Colin Barr, School of Divinity, History and Philosophy,
University of Aberdeen
1 – 2 pm Wednesday 17 July 2013
Cultural Collections, Level 2, Auchmuty Library
University of Newcastle (Australia)
The University of Newcastle’s Newcastle Hunter Studies group, with the sponsorship of the Humanities Research Institute, is pleased to present a talk by Visiting Fellow Dr Colin Barr of the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.
His title is “Ireland’s Empire: The Catholic Church, the Hunter Region and the Nineteenth Century Irish Diaspora.” The talk was held in Cultural Collections, Level 2, Auchmuty Library on Wednesday 17 July from 1 – 2pm.
In the nineteenth-century, the Irish spread out around the globe, pushed by conditions at home and pulled by opportunity overseas. As many were Roman Catholics, the Catholic Church both shaped Irish diaspora culture, and was in turn shaped by the Irish who came to dominate it at every level. This was a global phenomenon, the consequences of which can be seen from Boston to Ballarat, and Grahamstown to Geelong. The Hunter region, too, experienced extensive Irish Catholic immigration. What sets the region apart, however, is that its first resident Catholic Bishop, James Murray, was central to the Dublin-based network that came to dominate Catholicism in the English-speaking world, and his influence was much more than simply local. Moreover, the archives of what is now the Catholic diocese of Maitland-Newcastle is the most complete in Australia. This paper will sketch the outlines of this global Irish Catholic phenomenon, and situate the Hunter region within it, while drawing attention to the richness of the archival sources available in Newcastle and its surroundings.
Dr Barr is in Newcastle to conduct research in the archives of the Catholic diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, which is the most complete in Australia. His work on the flows of influence and ideas both to and from the Hunter Region through the Catholic Church provide a valuable model for further studies of the connections between this region and the wider world.