Category: News

Tara House lost

ALL hope is now lost that Tara House, headquarters of the Queensland Irish Association (QIA) since 1919, can continue as the home of the Irish community in Queensland.

The QIA Steering Committee has confirmed that lease negotiations with the new owner of Tara House have not been successful.

Angela Laylee of the QIA Steering Committee said: “The rent that the owner has been offered from another tenant was too high for us to be able to match on a responsible and reasonable assessment of potential future trading figures.”

She added: “I cannot express how devastating it is for me to bring this news to you.”

Tara House is a heritage-listed former club house at 179 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane. It was designed by legendary Donegal architect Richard Gailey. Building began in 1878 and the Irish Club owned and operated the building from 1919.

Lead light panels depicting the four provinces of Ireland in the Tara Ballroom.

The Queensland Irish Association is the longest continuously operating national association in Queensland. Tara House has been visited by Irish presidents, including Eamon de Valera and Mary Robinson, and Ambassadors. In 2003, the QIA celebrated its centenary, with then-Irish President Mary McAleese making the celebrations the centrepiece of her state visit that year.

The association had suffered major setbacks with financial problems and declining membership during the First World War and the Depression but always pulled through. Yet, despite a huge influx of Irish immigrants into Brisbane in recent years, the club had been struggling financially and was placed into administration in January after accumulating a large amount of debt.

Arrangements are being made by the liquidator to remove and store all the QIA’s possessions of cultural and historical significance. 

The Steering Committee and sub-committees of QIA hope to call a meeting of former members in the new year to present proposals for the future operations of the QIA. 


The Tara Ballroom’s arched ceiling with shamrock mouldings and stained glass panels. 

Lions pay tribute at Australian War Memorial

A delegation from the British & Irish Lions visited the Australian War Memorial to pay their respects and recognise the fallen from Britain and Australia yesterday.

From a rugby perspective, a tribute was paid to Blair Swannell and Tom Richards, who represented both the British Isles and Australia during their rugby careers.

Blair Swannell was English-born and played international rugby for the British Isles (as the British and Irish Lions team was then called) on their 1899 tour of Australia and 1904 tour of Australia and New Zealand. After settling in Australia, he played a single game for the Australian national team. He died in 1915 serving the Australian Imperial Force during the First World War.

Thomas Richards was born in Australia to a family who had emigrated from Cornwall. He grew up in the gold mining town of  Charters Towers in Northern Queensland. He too played rugby for both Australia and the British Isles and fought in the First World War. The Tom Richards Trophy, the trophy that is played for between Australia and the British and Irish Lions,  is named in his honour.  

A British & Irish Lions delegation visiting the Australian War Memorial yesterday,  from left, Rory Best from Ireland, Scotland's Richie Gray, Lions Captain Sam Warburton from Wales and England's Tom Croft.
A British & Irish Lions delegation visiting the Australian War Memorial yesterday, from left, Rory Best from Ireland, Scotland’s Richie Gray, Lions Captain Sam Warburton from Wales and England’s Tom Croft.

I did nothing!

I did nothing!

Irish Queenslander is proud to announce that my photo is the state winner for Queensland in the GAA photo competition, on behalf of the Brisbane Shamrocks GFC. The prize is an event for the club to either watch a Lions game together or can be used as part of an existing club event/fundraiser. Very glad to be supporting Gaelic Games in Queensland, on their 40th anniversary year.