2023 International Famine Memorial

2pm, 21st July 2023  @ The Australian Monument to the Great Irish Famine, Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney

GIFCC are delighted to announce that Sydney has been selected as the location for the International Famine Memorial for 2023. Each year one location is chosen within Ireland with another selected overseas – this year we have been chosen.
An Irish Minister will be in attendance to represent the Irish Government, as well as local VIPs. As a result of this honour we have moved the Commemoration to July.
We look forward to welcoming everyone.

Details; 2pm, 21st July 2023 @ The Australian Monument to the Great Irish Famine, Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney

Please email to confirm your (and your guests’) attendance.

see here for full details


The GIFCC Famine Commemoration 2020 took place on Sunday August 30th at the Australian Monument to the Great Irish Famine at Hyde Park Barracks, Macquarie Street, Sydney. Due to Covid-19 restrictions the event was limited to 20 people but was LiveStreamed to audiences around the world.
Watch now at LiveStream

Twentieth Anniversary

Sr Vivienne Keeley

2019, 25 August

Our guest of honour was Sr Vivienne Keeley,   The link below will take you to the four videos from the event.

Twentieth Anniversary Videos

Nineteenth Anniversary

Paul Lynch MLC

2018, 26 August

Our guest of honour was Mr Paul Lynch MLC,  speaking on the contemporary importance of the orphans. The link below will take you to the text of his address

2018 Annual Gathering Speech by Paul Lynch, MLC

Eighteenth Anniversary

Dr Jeff Kildea

2017, 27 August

Our guest of honour was Dr Jeff Kildea, historian, the link below will take you to the text of his address

Seventeenth Anniversary

Rev. Tim Costello AO

2016, 16 August

Our guest of honour was Rev. Tim Costello AO, the link below will take you to the video of his address

Video of Address

Sixteenth Anniversary

Peter Watts

2015, 28 August

Our guest of honour was Peter Watts, Emeritus Director, Historic Houses Trust who was Director at the time of the building of the Memorial

Fifteenth Anniversary

Richard O’Brien

2014, 31 August

Our guest of honour was Richard O’Brien, Former Irish Ambassador to Australia who as Irish Ambassador at the time was instrumental in building the Memorial

Fourteenth Anniversary

Jimmy Deenihan TD

2013, 25 August

Our guest of honour from Ireland was Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage & Gaeltacht who was involved in all our International Famine Commemorations

Thirteenth Anniversary

Brendan Graham

2012, 26 August

Our guests of honour were Brendan Graham, Irish composer and novelist, Singer, songwriter Sarah Calderwood and the Australian Girls choir. Descendant Melissa Plant also spoke

Brendan Graham, Irish composer and novelist

  Melissa Plant, descendant of Mary O’Hare from Galway

  Australian Girls’ Choir

Jim Edwards, descendant of Hannah Rafferty presented with Irish Heritage award

2011, 9 December

Twelfth Anniversary

Frank Brennan SJ AO

2012, 26 August

Guests of honour were members of the Irish Diplomatic Corp including the Irish Consul-General Ms Caitriona Ingoldsby. Wreaths were laid and music and song mingle with friends, both old and new. Traditional Irish hospitality was shared by all. Attached is the text of the speech of our honoured guest, Fr Frank Brennan SJ AO.

Eleventh Anniversary

Evelyn Conlon

2010, 29 August

Our guest of honour was Irish author, Evelyn Conlon whose address was entitled ‘Disembarking Silence’.

Tenth Anniversary

Tom Power and Reverend Professor James Haire

2009, 30 August

Introduction by Chairman, Tom Power followed by an address by Reverend Professor James Haire, PhD DD DLitt, Executive Director, Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, Canberra.

Ninth Anniversary

Dr Richard Reid

2008, 31 August

The rain held off, the music and catering was as good as always, attendance was up on previous years. The occasional address was delivered with by Dr Richard Reid, the curator of a major exhibition on the Irish in Australia at Australian Museum in Canberra to open in 2011.

Eighth Anniversary

Mike Bailey

2007, 27 August

Master of ceremonies was Mike Bailey. Today we had poetry readings and a booklaunch and presented our Macquarie University prize for the first time.

Christmas Day Mass


Seventh Anniversary

Dr Jennifer Harrison

2006, 2 September

Guest speaker was Queensland historian, Dr Jennifer Harrison. Guest of honour was Mr Patrick Scullion, Consul-General of Ireland who moved the vote of thanks.

Sixth Anniversary

Thomas Keneally

2005, 27 August

In his address Thomas Keneally likened the misery of the Irish orphan girls who came through Hyde Park Barracks to the desperate plight of the Sudanese refugees in Darfur today.

Fifth Anniversary

Susan Ryan

2004, 29 August

Tom Power, Chairman, thanked many of the people involved and introduced the speaker for the day, the Hon Susan Ryan.

Fourth Anniversary

Cheryl Mongan

2003, 17 August

The speaker for this anniversary was Cheryl Mongan, co-author of ‘A Decent Set of Girls’: The Irish Famine orphans of the ‘Thomas Arbuthont’ 1849-185. She focused on those who went to Yass, initially accompanied by Surgeon Charles Strutt, who had cared for them on their voyage.

Visit by President Mary McAleese

2003, 13 March

Visit by President Mary Robinson

2002, 10 November

Third Anniversary

Dr Shirley Fitzgerald

2002, 8 September

The new Irish Ambassador to Australia, Declan Kelly and his wife, Bernadette, were was welcomed by Tom Power and our speaker for the day, Dr Shirley Fitzgerald, City of Sydney Historian was introduced.

Second Anniversary

Dr Trevor McClaughlin


Attended by Mr Seamus Brennan, Minister of State in the Department of the Taoiseach, Minister of State in the Department of Defense and Government Chief Whip. An address was delivered by Dr Trevor McClaughlin.

Unveiling the Monument to the Great Irish Famine

Martin Coleman, Claire Dunn and President Mary McAleese

1999, 28 August

On this day the Master of Ceremonies was Martin Coleman supported by Claire Dunn and a message was send from President Mary McAleese.

President Mary McAleese inaugurated the monument

1998, 2 September

Fundraising dinner, addressed by Premier Bob Carr

1998, 7 August