The O'Donoghue Society

For all those interested in history and genealogy and whose names are derived from the Gaelic

August/September snippet: Irish Ghettos, where did the Irish settle in large numbers in your hometown? Response Three: Inner Sydney Irish and Boorowa

Contributed by James Hugh Donohoe

Sydney had its area with a high concentration of Irish families in the 1920s. The area was borderline "Ghetto". Historians might challenge this observation  because Irish had arrived since 1788 and they were also sprinkled around Sydney generally, many families having integrated with the Anglo Communities. These Inner Sydney suburbs were Surry Hills, Wooloomooloo and Paddington, My Irish Donohoe family lived there 1880 to 1900.
 
Author Ruth Park wrote at least two novels on the subject. These are great stories. Movies have been made based on these books. The DVDs are available on the Internet. The books are titled "The Harp in the South" and "Poor Man's Orange".
 
The books focuses on a family living in the area amid a low class social environment. These areas embraced the Sydney red light district and the family interacts with the Madam, sly grog (moonshine?) business, cheap gangsters and stand-over men whilst on the positive side abides with the local Clergy amidst the Church society.
 
A biography of one of the Irish Madams, insinuated in these books, Kate Leigh nee Beahan, is sited on the Internet, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kate_Leigh
 
I actually met Kate just before she died. It was a very unpleasant experience.
 
I also lived near the country town of Boorowa about ten years ago. That was an Irish town. The population is less than 2,000 people. It has a beautiful Catholic Church with the most stunning Altar and Sanctuary made of Italian marble. There is a local quote about a Nun travelling through the United States who was asked if she had been to Rome. She answered "No, but I have been to Boorowa". My Donohoe prospected for gold there in the 1880s. My great-grandfather fashioned his bride's wedding ring from Boorowa gold. I have it.
 
Contributed by James Hugh Donohoe

Sydney had its area with a high concentration of Irish families in the 1920s. The area was borderline "Ghetto". Historians might challenge this observation  because Irish had arrived since 1788 and they were also sprinkled around Sydney generally, many families having integrated with the Anglo Communities. These Inner Sydney suburbs were Surry Hills, Wooloomooloo and Paddington, My Irish Donohoe family lived there 1880 to 1900.
 
Author Ruth Park wrote at least two novels on the subject. These are great stories. Movies have been made based on these books. The DVDs are available on the Internet. The books are titled "The Harp in the South" and "Poor Man's Orange".
 
The books focuses on a family living in the area amid a low class social environment. These areas embraced the Sydney red light district and the family interacts with the Madam, sly grog (moonshine?) business, cheap gangsters and stand-over men whilst on the positive side abides with the local Clergy amidst the Church society.
 
A biography of one of the Irish Madams, insinuated in these books, Kate Leigh nee Beahan, is sited on the Internet, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kate_Leigh
 
I actually met Kate just before she died. It was a very unpleasant experience.
 
I also lived near the country town of Boorowa about ten years ago. That was an Irish town. The population is less than 2,000 people. It has a beautiful Catholic Church with the most stunning Altar and Sanctuary made of Italian marble. There is a local quote about a Nun travelling through the United States who was asked if she had been to Rome. She answered "No, but I have been to Boorowa". My Donohoe prospected for gold there in the 1880s. My great-grandfather fashioned his bride's wedding ring from Boorowa gold. I have it.
 
02.09.2019