Sydney Commemorates the Easter Rising


Sydney commemorates the Easter Rising: Outside Mitchell Library during a break in the screening of films on the rising (Mike O’Flynn)

Under grey skies, reminiscent of weather in Dublin, a crowd of more than 300 gathered outside the GPO in Martin Place at 10 am on Easter Monday to hear Irish-Australian actor Maeliosa Stafford read the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, first read 100 years ago outside the GPO in Dublin. The reading was part of a day of commemoration organised by the Aisling Society of Sydney to mark the centenary of the Easter Rising.

Before the proceedings began Kevin O’Connor kept the growing numbers entertained by playing Irish tunes on his fiddle. Once the GPO clock had finished striking the hour, Aisling Society secretary Jeff Kildea gave a short address on the significance of the Easter Rising for Ireland and Australia. This was followed by the reading of the Proclamation, after which those fortunate enough to have secured tickets moved to the Mitchell Library for the screening of three films on the Rising: Martyrs of 1916 (1920); the docu-drama A Terrible Beauty; and the feature film Irish Destiny (1926).

In the Dixon Room of the library Indigenous elder Ken Canning gave an acknowledgement to country before Irish Consul General Jane Connolly formally opened the film screening. In between films members of the audience came forward to relate personal stories of their family’s involvement with the Rising.

Organiser of the event Tony Earls is to be congratulated on what turned out to be a very successful and enjoyable day of commemoration. The event was funded by a grant from the Irish government’s 1916-2016 Centenary Programme.


Maeliosa Stafford reading the Proclamation. On his left is Tony Earls (Mike O’Flynn)

Photographs of the day’s proceedings taken by Mike O’Flynn can be seen by clicking here. A video of the reading of the Proclamation can be seen on YouTube.

1916 Easter Rising Commemoration

On Easter Monday 28 March 2016 at 10 am the Aisling Society will commemorate the centenary of the Easter Rising with a reading of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic. The Proclamation, originally read 100 years ago outside the GPO in Dublin by rebel leader Padraic Pearse, will be read outside the GPO in Martin Place, Sydney by renowned Irish-Australian actor Maeliosa Stafford of O’Punsky’s Theatre Company. The reading will be followed by a screening of films about the Easter Rising at the Mitchell Library. The commemoration has been made possible by the sponsorship of the Irish Consulate and the 2016 Centenary Programme. Organiser of the event Tony Earls says that both the reading and the film screening are free but entry to the film screening is by ticket only through Eventbrite.

Logo ConsulateLogo Centenary

Celtic Time presenter Ann Tomlinson talks to Tony Earls about the 1916 Commemoration

Celtic Time presenter Ann Tomlin talks to Tony Earls about the 1916 Commemoration (Éilis Hurst)

The Gigli Concert

Gigli Concert

The Gigli Concert, a fiercely satirical, beautifully crafted play about the endurance of the human spirit and the ability to achieve the impossible will open on 4 April 2014 at the Eternity Playhouse, 39 Burton Street, Darlinghurst. Hailed as one of the greatest Irish plays of the last century The Gigli Concert is widely considered to be playwright Tom Murphy’s masterpiece. The play will be presented by the Darlinghurst Theatre Company in partnership with O’Punksky’s Theatre, a company renowned for delivering standout productions of Irish drama. Tickets are on sale now, starting at just $30. The season will run until 4 May 2014. For tickets log on to the Darlinghurst Theatre website or phone (02) 8356 9987.

Irish Films at Sydney Film Festival

The 2013 Sydney Film Festival includes two films set in Ireland – Odd Man Out and What Richard Did.

Odd Man Out

This 1947 thriller was Carol Reed’s first collaboration with the Australian-raised cinematographer Robert Krasker, with whom he would soon make The Third Man. The story begins after a violent Belfast robbery attempt goes wrong, IRA gunman McQueen (played by James Mason) tests the loyalty of friends, the kindness of strangers and his wounded belief in the Irish Republican cause. The film screens on Saturday 8 June at 12.30pm at the Dendy Opera Quays Cinema 1. For further details click here.

What Richard Did

Lenny Abrahamson’s South Dublin-set drama follows a golden-boy teenaged athlete and alpha male whose fateful action one night shatters the lives of the people closest to him. The film screens on Friday 7 June at 7.45pm in the Event Cinemas George Street 4 and again on Monday 10 June at 7.45 in the Event Cinemas George Street 8. For further details click here.