St. Patrick’s Day in Western Victoria

There is plenty of Irish blood flowing through the veins of the people of the  Western District, particularly the south-west of Victoria.  Port Fairy (formally Belfast), Koroit and Killarney in particular saw the settlement of large Irish families.

The earliest Western District  St. Patrick’s Day reference I found was from the Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser, from March 4, 1843.  Enthusiastic preparations were underway for a dinner on March 17th.

LOCAL INTELLIGENCE. (1843, March 4). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 3. Retrieved March 16, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71569103

St Patrick’s Day was a public holiday and races were  popular, both horse and human.

HAMILTON. (1858, March 19). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved March 16, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64570752

In 1869 at Portland, the Rechabite Society fete for the Band of Hope children was a feature of the day.

ST. PATRICK'S DAY. (1869, March 18). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS. Retrieved March 16, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64691997

The Horsham Times of March 20, 1903, explains the reason behind the wearing of a green ribbon on St. Patrick’s Day and the story of St Patrick.  The people of Horsham went to the races on March 17, 1903.

ST. PATRICK'S DAY. (1903, March 20). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved March 16, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72838336

At Warrnambool, in 1914, plans were underway for the annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration which included a parade in the afternoon and a concert in the evening.

ST. PATRICK'S DAY. (1914, March 14). Warrnambool Standard (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 3 Edition: DAILY.. Retrieved March 16, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73467140

Finally, a reporter for the  “Star” in Ballarat in 1858, observed that while the English barely remembered St. George’s day and the Scots were not interested in Halloween, the Irish would never let St Patrick’s Day be forgotten.  The Irish miners from those time would be pleased to see St. Patrick’s day is still celebrated today, minus the public holiday.

Local and General News. (1858, March 18). The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), p. 3. Retrieved March 17, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66047115
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