Frank Hurley remembered in Ireland and Australia on centenary of his death

CAPTAIN FRANK HURLEY (1891-1921)

3rd West Cork Brigade Irish Republican Army

Submitted by his family

On 9 May 2021, the 100th Anniversary of the death of Captain Frank Hurley, 3rd West Cork Brigade will be remembered by his descendants in Ireland, USA and Australia. They honour and remember him for giving his life for freedom in Ireland.  

On 9 May 1921 while in custody of the Essex Regiment he met his death, making a gallant bid to escape into the woods at Castle Mahon/ Bernard, Bandon, Co Cork, Ireland. An account of his death is mentioned in ‘Towards Ireland Free – The West Cork Brigade in the War of Independence 1917-1921’ by Liam Deasy and other books on Ireland’s War of Independence, including ‘Guerilla Days in Ireland’ by Tom Barry.

John Francis (Frank) Hurley, lived at Laragh, outside Bandon, with his parents on a small farm. He was the youngest of 11 children to Daniel Hurley and Julia Lynch. He was born in 1891, some 25 years after the eldest, Mary, my grandmother was born. Mary came to Australia when 17 and a half years old, following Timothy (Tim) Mahony, my grandfather from Murragh, near Bandon. Tim was a labourer and may have been working on the Hurley farm.

They married in 1888 in Brisbane, Queensland. Later in that year, they came to Yangan, near Warwick in Queensland, where Tim was working on re-erecting the railway bridge that was washed away in the 1887 floods. Mary and Tim had 11 children, of which one died as a baby. They purchased land at Swanfels, near Yangan, where they eventually established a modest-sized farm. When they died, their eldest son, Timothy, inherited the farm and on his death, the youngest son Thomas (Tom) inherited it.  On his death, Tom’s eldest son Timothy inherited the farm and today his son Stephen and family have the farm.

Frank and some of his siblings never met their sister Mary, being born after she emigrated. Mary died in 1957 and many years later, letters from Frank were found behind a framed picture among Mary’s possessions. I suspect this Irish lady was all too careful about the contents of his letters, considering her brother was active in the IRA fighting British Forces known as the Black and Tans. Australia was a country founded by the British which at that time still held close military ties with England.

Mary wrote on an envelope in which she kept the letters, ‘Last letter I had from Frank. Died 9th May 1921” She then wrote “Far dearer the grave or the prison illumed by one patriot name than the trophies of all who have risen on liberty’s ruins to fame.

 Although never seeing each other, this quote to me obviously shows her love and support for her brother in his death for the cause in Ireland’s freedom. The words are taken from Augustin Thierry (1795-1856), the French Classical liberal historian, who admired the habit of the conquered Irish to sing about their lost liberties.

The letters from Frank give an insight of his involvement in the Irish War of Independence, and his transportation by Destroyer to Belfast from Cobh, then after a week onto England. They were written from the Wormwood Scrubs Prison in London in 1920, where he spent time, prior to his release and death in 1921. He mentions the actions of the police who disguised at night fire into houses, and who have murdered several. Of his situation he said that ’It is Freedom now or slavery for another generation.’ Further stating, ‘Anyway we are not lonely here for we have the best men in Ireland here.’  Mention of a hunger strike was also made.

Frank organised that his letters to his sister Mary in Australia would be smuggled out of the prison by ‘Maggie’.  It is assumed that this is his sister Margaret. Another sister Anna was the leader of the Cumann na mBan (Irish Republican Women’s Paramilitary) of the Bandon district at that time.

Tom Barry in his book ‘Guerilla Days in Ireland’ wrote, ‘Frank, a veteran Volunteer, Captain of the Laragh Company, was a fine soldier and comrade, and had fought conspicuously with the Brigade Flying Column in many of its engagements.’ He was at Crossbarry with the Mount Pleasant /Farnivane Company. 

Flor Begley (Piper of Crossbarry fame), father of Diamuid Begley who wrote the book ‘The Road to Crossbarry’ where his father Flor saw action, was interned in 1920 with Frank Hurley in Wormwood Scrubs, along with ‘over one hundred and sixty men.’  Diarmuid has a quote by Grace Lorenza O’Malley which I think along with Thierry shows the feelings of the time –‘What can ye know of spirits such as these or of the powers that move them to great deeds ‘gainst frightful odds?. What did they do? You say who will not see, Nor judge their merits further than their gains, They gave their lives –no more!’

Captain Frank Hurley is buried with family in the Kilbrogan Cemetery, Bandon, Co Cork, Ireland.

REST IN PEACE FRANK HURLEY 

Your many descendants remember you.

You can read Frank’s letters below

Isla’s poem about Irish hero Michael Collins goes viral

Isla Corbett in Brisbane

A poem about Micheal Collins written by a 12-year-old Irish girl, Isla Corbett, who lives in Brisbane, has gone viral online and she will be interviewed about the experience on Cork radio station 96FM and 103FM tomorrow.

Isla penned The Ballad of Michael Collins for a school English assignment at The Gap High School. The class had been asked to write about their hero. Isla’s teacher awarded her an A for her efforts.

Isla was born in Cork and her family moved to Australia in 2011, first to Sydney and then settling in Brisbane. The family moved back to Ireland for several years to care for Isla’s elderly grandparents.

Isla took a great interest in Irish history at school in Whitegate, County Cork. Her great-grandfather and great-granduncles had all fought alongside Michael Collins and served in the Free State Army under his leadership.

Despite being just 12 years old, Isla shows great promise as a poet and her poem has reached more than 50,000 people all over the world on Facebook. It was also shared by Micheal Collins House, a museum dedicated to the life and times of the revolutionary, soldier and politician, in Clonakilty, County Cork.

You can hear Isla’s interview at 11.30am Irish time (9.30pm Queensland time) on December 17 at www.96fm.ie

The Ballad of Michael Collins

1916 was the start, the war in full commence,
When British troops were swarming in to slaughter and dispense,
Against the Empire’s daunting might, Ireland stood no chance,
When Michael Collins heard the news and came to take a stance.

He joined the Easter Rising, allied by Plunkett n’ Pearse,
They seized the grandest buildings to face a battle fierce,
The British were enraged and the Rebels they engaged,
Using brutal force, war on Dublin had been waged.

Furious were the citizens, their home had been destroyed,
Their relatives deceased and their souls devoid of joy,
The once thriving streets, now blown up and aflame,
And so they thought the Rebels were the only ones to blame.

Cornered up with guns, the rebellion’s state was bleak,
Arrested by the British with their spirits far from weak,
The cruel retribution saw 2,000 sent to camps,
And the brave leaders’ fates were sealed harshly with a stamp.

15 killed by firing squad, without a trial or care,
Connolly so wounded he was shot tied in a chair,
With the barbarism shown, Irish anger had arose,
And turned the former traitors into national heroes.

By the time of Collin’s release, plans were brewing in his head,
Of how he could prevent Ireland’s suffering and dread,
He motivated an army and beat the British crown,
Guerrilla tactics he invented were used to bring them down.

Dáil Éireann was established, but it came with a price,
Half a country only, the rich north the Brits would slice,
Civil war engulfed the land, Collins ambushed with a gun,
Ireland’s greatest hero shot down at 31.

1916 was the start, the war in full commence,
When British troops were swarming in to slaughter and dispense,
He’d fought strong like a lion, saving Ireland Collins swore,
He hadn’t won the battle, but he had won the war.

Family appeals for help for car-crash victim Seán

Seán Ryan Shiner is a valued member of the Melbourne Shamrocks and the Golden/Kilfeacle GAA clubs.

An Irish family has launched an urgent appeal for funds towards the treatment of a Tipperary man who was left with life-changing injuries after a car crash in Melbourne.

Seán Ryan Shiner was involved in a horrific car accident on November 21. It has left him with life-changing injuries.

A passionate hurler, Seán had to have emergency surgery to try to save his right foot, which proved unsuccessful. He had to have his foot amputated and plates put into his left hip.

His parents have already flown out to be by his side while his undergoes treatment and rehabilitation at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne. Seán will need to undergo a number of additional surgeries in the coming weeks and months.

Seán’s sister Denise said: “Seán is a true sportsman. He has played across many disciplines with different clubs over the years, endearing himself to club mates and competitors alike. Those who know him will have seen him on rugby and football pitches but we all know that it is hurling and, of course, greyhounds that are his big loves.”

Seán had originally been planning to spend the next five years living and working in Australia but those plans now look likely to change. He will likely need to remain in Australia while his recovery continues and the Shiner family are appealing for help in funding the coasts of his ongoing care and rehab.

Seán’s family say they are “grateful and blessed” that he is still here with them and added: “We are hoping to raise adequate money to help with the enormous expenses that he will incur in the coming weeks, months and beyond to help with his rehabilitation. “

If you can help, go to the Seán Ryan Shiner Injury Fund page on Go Fund Me.

Former Shebeen manager and Aussie resident Terry has living wake

Terry Murphy’s living wake video, as shared on Justin McNulty MLA’s Facebook page.

Imagine having a huge living wake, a funeral where all your friends and family come together to celebrate your life and say goodbye while you’re still alive?

That was exactly what Terry Murphy, a former resident in Australia who ran a famous Shebeen bar in Lislea, County Armagh, did over the weekend. Terry had been recently diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Justin McNulty MLA, left, with Terry Murphy.

On Saturday night, he had a living wake in the bar that he used to run, and around 500 people came along to pay their respects to him. There was plenty of food and drink on the night and local newspaper The Cross Examiner reports that “the craic was 90”.

John Egan, a friend of Terry’s, told the newspaper: “He wanted all his old friends and everyone he knew to come along. Every room was full of music and craic. The man himself was there and in good form.”

He added: “That man woke up this morning knowing he is loved by so many and got to see his send-off.”

Meanwhile, local MLA Justin McNulty, speaking to Joe.ie, said: “Terry is a character and there is widespread affection for him locally in Lislea, in South Armagh, in Newry, and in Australia where he lived for a time.”

Put your family name on display at EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum in Dublin

You can add your family to The Power of a Name exhibition at the museum or online.

Calling all descendants of Irish emigrants to Australia. EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum in Dublin is offering you the chance to take part in their The Power of a Name exhibition by adding your emigrant ancestor’s name to their Emigrant Wall.

This new, interactive exhibition will be seen by visitors from all over the world and invites you to bring their name home. The museum honours Irish emigrants by telling their stories and keeping their memories alive.

Patrick Greene, CEO and Museum Director of EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, said: “Every person who left Ireland is part of our emigration history.

“The life they started in a new country is part of the impact of the Irish abroad and this exhibition aims to pay tribute to them and spotlight a powerful part of their story – their name.”

He added: “These journeys were not taken lightly and this exhibition marks the decisions they made to leave and celebrates the journeys they made and the lives they went on to build.”

The Power of a Name exhibition is now open at the museum in Dublin’s Docklands.

If you would like to take part and add your Irish ancestors who emigrated to Australia, simply fill in their names, where they emigrated from and the year they left on the online form by clicking here.

To learn more, visit www.epicchq.com.

Epic Ned Kelly movie set to premiere on Australia Day

Oscar winner Russell Crowe starring in True History of the Kelly Gang.

An epic fictionalised telling of the story of Irish-Australian bushranger and outlaw Ned Kelly, True History of the Kelly Gang, will open in select Australian cinemas on January 9, just 17 days before it makes its Australia Day television premiere on streaming service Stan.

The cast features BAFTA award-winner George MacKay as Ned Kelly. Nicholas Hoult, Essie Davis, Charlie Hunnam and Russell Crowe co-star. 

Inspired by Peter Carey’s Booker prize-winning novel, Justin Kurzel’s film shatters the mythology of the notorious icon to reveal the essence behind the life of Ned Kelly.

Spanning the younger years of Ned’s life to the time leading up to his death, the film explores the blurred boundaries between what is bad and what is good, and the motivations for the demise of its hero. Youth and tragedy collide in the Kelly Gang, and at the beating heart of this tale is the fractured and powerful love story between a mother and a son.

Justin Kurzel, director and producer said: “I am thrilled in the boldness and daring by Stan to embrace our ambitious film. For Australians to see our take on Peter Carey’s extraordinary book in cinemas and on Stan over the summer is very exciting. I hope as many eyes as possible get the opportunity to see a film the makers are deeply proud of.”

It will be released into Irish cinemas on February 28, 2020.

Brisbane Irish are digging deep to help drought-affected farmers

Brisbane Irish SEQ Drought Run

A group of Irish friends living in Brisbane are planning to do a Christmas drought run to help farmers in the Southern Downs.

Organiser Richard Lenihan said: “Australia is currently facing its worst drought to date and farmers in rural towns will face their toughest summer yet, if it doesn’t rain in the next few months.

“So, we as a group of friends living in Brisbane, together with your help, have decided we want to help where we can this Christmas.”

The group will concentrate their efforts around the town of Stanthorpe which is facing a critical water shortage.

Richard added: “We are going straight to the front lines, personally handing out donations from a dedicated collection yard and heading out to a few farms that are doing it worst, meeting with the farmers first-hand and seeing the affects of this drought with our own eyes.

“We are going ensure that every single cent raised raised and donations made are going straight to those doing it extra tough.”

If you would like to help, you can donate at the group’s Go Fund Me! page here.

The group is also looking for local businesses to come forward with their services. They are looking for trucks, trailers or work utes, plus drivers, to cart supplies on a Saturday from Brisbane to Stanthorpe. They also need donations of water and animal fodder, as well as gift cards which can be distributed to needy families.

For more information, go to the group’s Facebook page here.

Letterkenny museum puts farmers’ gold find on display

Tullydonnell Gold Hoard which dates from the Bronze Age.

The heaviest intact prehistoric gold hoard ever found in Ireland has gone on public display at the Donegal County Museum in Letterkenny.

The four large gold rings were found last year by farmers in Tullydonnell lower in east Donegal.

One of the farmers, Norman Witherow, said they were just finishing up working on drainage in a field when they discovered the rings beneath a stone.

He said he did not think much of them at first and put them aside, but showed them to a goldsmith friend some days later. He was advised to contact the National Museum in Dublin and the rings were brought to the capital that night.

Now, Donegal County Museum has brought the Tullydonnell Lower Gold Hoard back home to Donegal, where it will be on display until Saturday, 30 November.

A spokesperson for Donegal County Museum said: “This exceptional gold hoard, dating from the Late Bronze Age (1200 to 800BC), was discovered by chance in June 2018, when farmers took the opportunity of a dry summer to improve drainage at the base of a field at Tullydonnell Lower in East Donegal. They uncovered a small pit covered by a boulder which contained four solid gold overlapping rings. Together these objects weigh over 4kg (8.8lbs). They are the heaviest intact prehistoric gold hoard ever found in Ireland.”


The museum is encouraging people to take the opportunity to view these national treasures. Admission is free and all are welcome.

International Rules series to return in 2020

Croke Park stadium in Dublin.

The International Rules series, between the AFL and GAA, is set to return in 2020, the first time since 2017.

The two sides agreed to the next series of hybrid games between Australia and Ireland, with provisional dates being Sunday, November 15 and Saturday, November 21, with the games being played in Ireland, according to afl.com.au

The November 21 game coincides with the 100th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, when 32 people were killed or fatally wounded and hundreds more injured at Croke Park stadium in Dublin, when British soldiers opened fire on the crowd attending a football match.

The location of the 2020 games has yet to be confirmed. The series will then be held in Australia after the 2022 AFL season finishes.

GAA Director General Tom Ryan said: “We are pleased to announce the return of the International Rules Series in 2020 and look forward to re-connecting with our friends and colleagues in the AFL, both on and off the field.

“The series offers our players the chance to wear the green jersey and represent Ireland and it also provides them with an opportunity to pit themselves against the best from another code while showcasing the best skills of Gaelic football,” he added.

Australia reclaimed the Cormac McAnallen Cup in 2017, winning both games, held in Perth and Adelaide.

Community Groups for the Irish in Queensland

Queensland Irish Association

Queensland Irish Association, established in 1898, is a club that supports those with Irish heritage or aspirations. The QIA’s activities for members include bowls, golf, bridge and The Rose of Tralee quest. It hosts popular annual dinners on St Patrick’s Day and St Brigid’s Day.
Queensland Irish Association website


Queensland Gaelic Football and Hurling Association

Formed and affiliated to the Gaelic Athletic Association in 1975, the Queensland state branch of the GAA includes football, hurling and camogie teams. They are based at Gaelic Park in Willawong, Brisbane.
Queensland Gaelic Football and Hurling Association website


Irish Australian Support Association Queensland

Irish Australian Support Association Queensland is a charity organisation that looks after the welfare of Irish Australians. It is funded by the Irish government and based at Woolloongabba in Brisbane.
Irish Australian Support Association Queensland website


Embassy of Ireland, Australia

The Irish Embassy in Canberra works to promote Irish interests in Australia and also provides a range of key consular services to Irish citizens.
Embassy of Ireland, Australia website


Darling Downs Irish Club

The Darling Downs Irish Club is a social club for people of Irish descent living in the Darling Downs area of Queensland. It is based in the Irish Club Hotel in Toowoomba City.
Darling Downs Irish Club website


Mount Isa Irish Club

The Mount Isa Irish Association formed the club in 1955. It is a club not meant just for the Irish themselves, but for the Irish and their friends.
Mount Isa Irish Club website