Fenians Fremantle and Freedom Festival to celebrate WA’s Irish culture

Attendees at the Fenians Fremantle and Freedom Festival announcement. Picture: Wade Hughes
Attendees at the Fenians Fremantle and Freedom Festival announcement. Picture: Wade Hughes

CONVICT descendants of Irish political prisoners will re-enact their arrival as part of the Fenians Fremantle and Freedom Festival this month.

January 10 marks 150 years of the last convict ship the Hougomount arriving in Australia.

A march from Bathers Beach to Fremantle Prison will be held on the anniversary of the arrival.

Historian Mike Lefroy will conduct walking tours throughout the festival.

Mr Lefroy said the Hougoumont brought 280 convicts from England to the convict establishment in Fremantle.

“There were 62 Fenians, Irish political prisoners,” he said.

“WA received their first convicts in 1850.

“By the time transportation stopped in 1868 under 10,000 male convicts had been sent here.

“The Fenians were significant because they were political prisoners, wanting to free Ireland from British rule.”

According to Mr Lefroy the festival is a celebration of Irish culture and influence.

“The march will be a key event in the festival program,” he said.

“There will be a number of descendants of the convicts, particularly from the Fenians, who will be marching.

“There will also be descendants of the pensioner guards and prison officials of the time.”

There will be nine guided walks around the West End of Fremantle focussing on the influence of the Irish on Fremantle and WA.

For more visit www.feniansfestival.com.au.