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Posted by John Bacash on October 24, 2004 at 12:37:13:
In Reply to: Re: "The Man from Snowy River" posted by maybe on August 28, 2004 at 00:10:23:
Jack's death certificate states that his father was Dan Riley and mother Ann (nee Murray.)
There is a record of a Dan Riley dying, in his 40's, in a Poor House in County Cork within six months of Jack's boat leaving Cork Harbour.
It occurs to me that it is quite conceiveable Jack's family wanted Jack to escape the poverty of Ireland and have a better life in Australia, realising they could hardly support him in Ireland. So they put him on a boat for Australia as soon as he was old enough to travel alone. They sent him to join his sister in Omeo,Ann, who married Joseph Jones, as soon as he was able to travel alone.
Jack Riley would have seen the famine first hand and the English ethnic cleansing of Catholic Irish from their lands.
His life straddles Irish ethnic cleansing and the emergence of the Australian identity. He put the Irish in Australian identity for ever. He was instrumental in Banjo Patterson's conceptualising and naming the Australian identity through his inspirational conversation with Banjo Patterson in the Summer of 1889/90 at Tom Groggin cattle station. Jack was caretaker at Tom Groggin for John Pierce for 30 years, which as the base of Mount Kosciuszko.
At the base camp of Kosciuszko the tallest mountain in Australia the Banjo a sympathetic WASP lawyer and poet and the Irish yarnster realise a version of the Australia that was of its time and has endured to this day. Australians have always found the spirit of the poem as an acceptable statement of who they are and what they aspire to be.
I own the trademark
I am interested in a novel about Jack Riley. I have the ideas and some information. If any body out there has a gift for writing and a love of pre Federation Australian history and would like to help write the novel please contact me.