The Irish Club

The Irish Club
The Irish Club
Restaurant-BRISBANE, QLD
Restaurant-Brisbane, QLD
The Association formally established on March 23rd 1898, following the resignation, "en Masse" of the members of the 6 companies of Queensland Irish volunteers in the Queensland Land Defence..
175 Elizabeth St, Brisbane, Qld, 4000.
175 Elizabeth St, Brisbane, Qld, 4000.
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The Association formally established on March 23rd 1898, following the resignation, "en Masse" of the members of the 6 companies of Queensland Irish volunteers in the Queensland Land Defence Force. Ex-members of the volunteers combined with the H.A.C.B.S. to found the new Association and the inaugural secretary was Major P.J.Stephens, former commandant of the Irish volunteers.

The Association formally established on March 23rd 1898, following the resignation, “en Masse” of the members of the 6 companies of Queensland Irish volunteers in the Queensland Land Defence Force.

Ex-members of the volunteers combined with the H.A.C.B.S. to found the new Association and the inaugural secretary was Major P.J.Stephens, former commandant of the Irish volunteers.

Although there is no direct relationship the Association can be regarded as a descendant of the Queensland Hibernian Association which was founded in 1871 and the principles of the earlier Association are embodied in the the constitution of the Queensland Irish Association.

The Queensland Irish Association is the longest continuously operating national association in Queensland although its formation is pre-dated by that of the German club.

Growth has been steady although major setbacks were experienced with financial problems and declining membership during the World War and the depression.

Association policy has always been to support other organisations with Irish heritage or aspirations but also to be a strong supporter of co-operation with all national and ethnic associations.

History of the Queensland Irish Association

The Queensland Irish Association began after Irish volunteers in Queensland had taken a stand against what they saw as unjust Government interference in their activity in replacing the Irish commandant Andrew Joseph Thynne, a member of the legislative assembly , with Lt Col K.J Hutchinson. The volunteers resigned enmasse when captain and adjutant P.J Stephens protested the appointment. At a subsequent dinner for Stephens, the idea of an association of the Irishman was suggested. It became a reality in 1898.

From the beginnings the Queensland Irish Association was non-sectarian and non-political. It aimed to promote “the union and brotherhood of Irishmen and their descendants (irrespective of creed) into one great party on the common platform of national freedom and community.” The early years were not easy but is has survived though the wars, depression, bank failures, and its own near economic failure, the only ethnic association in Brisbane to maintain an unbroken line through 100 years (the German club pre-dates in but closed during the wars.)

Originally membership was open to Irish-born males or their descendants. Women were admitted as associate members in the 1960’s and as full national members in 1986. It now has almost 4,000 members who can enjoy the Associations facilities in its Elizabeth Street headquarters, Tara House (a national heritage building) into which the Association moved in 1920. One of the most admired old buildings in Brisbane, it is noted for its magnificent ballroom added to the existing building and opened in 1928. Tara House has been renovated over the years and was extended in the adjoining premises in 1993.

Fostering interest in Irish culture has always been important to the Queensland Irish Association. A library and reading room was set up in 1904 and debating was a lively activity right up to the 1960’s. The library was re-opened with modern technology and amenities in 1997 by the Irish ambassador to Australia, Mr Richard O’Brien, and the Association is now on the internet. A thriving cultural program centered on its library, pipe band, dancers, tara singers and theater and drama club has been re-activated in recent years.

The QIA’s many activities for members include bowls, golf, bridge, The Rose of Tralee quest. Its annual dinners on St. Patrick’s Day and St. Brigid’s Day are the most sought after tickets in the social calendar.

The Association has been visited by Irish presidents (including Eamon de Valera and Mary Robinson) and its Ambassadors. Its members have included judges, politicians, lawyers and members from a variety of professions such as writers and musicians. We are proud the Mary McAleese, President of Ireland, did not hesitate when invited to come to Brisbane for our centenary celebrations. It is a token of the esteem in which the Association is held, not just in Queensland and Australia, but also in Ireland.

As predicted in the 1928 souvenir of the opening of Tara House extensions, the destiny of the Queensland Irish Association is now largely controlled by Irish Australians. There is no doubt that the hopes of the founding fathers have been realised when they wrote “We are full of hope that their enthusiasm and ability will be equal to the task. Loving their own glorious land as they do, they cannot refrain from seeking inspiration and instruction from those great Irish scholars whose fame and learning made Ireland the centre of culture and refinement in Europe. It is for the Irish Australians of the future to maintain the best traditions of the QIA and improve on them – to cultivate the literary tendencies of the members and make this Association a centre of refinement, culture, good conduct and patriotism.”

The Association formally established on March 23rd 1898, following the resignation, “en Masse” of the members of the 6 companies of Queensland Irish volunteers in the Queensland Land Defence Force.

Ex-members of the volunteers combined with the H.A.C.B.S. to found the new Association and the inaugural secretary was Major P.J.Stephens, former commandant of the Irish volunteers.

Although there is no direct relationship the Association can be regarded as a descendant of the Queensland Hibernian Association which was founded in 1871 and the principles of the earlier Association are embodied in the the constitution of the Queensland Irish Association.

The Queensland Irish Association is the longest continuously operating national association in Queensland although its formation is pre-dated by that of the German club.

Growth has been steady although major setbacks were experienced with financial problems and declining membership during the World War and the depression.

Association policy has always been to support other organisations with Irish heritage or aspirations but also to be a strong supporter of co-operation with all national and ethnic associations.

History of the Queensland Irish Association

The Queensland Irish Association began after Irish volunteers in Queensland had taken a stand against what they saw as unjust Government interference in their activity in replacing the Irish commandant Andrew Joseph Thynne, a member of the legislative assembly , with Lt Col K.J Hutchinson. The volunteers resigned enmasse when captain and adjutant P.J Stephens protested the appointment. At a subsequent dinner for Stephens, the idea of an association of the Irishman was suggested. It became a reality in 1898.

From the beginnings the Queensland Irish Association was non-sectarian and non-political. It aimed to promote “the union and brotherhood of Irishmen and their descendants (irrespective of creed) into one great party on the common platform of national freedom and community.” The early years were not easy but is has survived though the wars, depression, bank failures, and its own near economic failure, the only ethnic association in Brisbane to maintain an unbroken line through 100 years (the German club pre-dates in but closed during the wars.)

Originally membership was open to Irish-born males or their descendants. Women were admitted as associate members in the 1960’s and as full national members in 1986. It now has almost 4,000 members who can enjoy the Associations facilities in its Elizabeth Street headquarters, Tara House (a national heritage building) into which the Association moved in 1920. One of the most admired old buildings in Brisbane, it is noted for its magnificent ballroom added to the existing building and opened in 1928. Tara House has been renovated over the years and was extended in the adjoining premises in 1993.

Fostering interest in Irish culture has always been important to the Queensland Irish Association. A library and reading room was set up in 1904 and debating was a lively activity right up to the 1960’s. The library was re-opened with modern technology and amenities in 1997 by the Irish ambassador to Australia, Mr Richard O’Brien, and the Association is now on the internet. A thriving cultural program centered on its library, pipe band, dancers, tara singers and theater and drama club has been re-activated in recent years.

The QIA’s many activities for members include bowls, golf, bridge, The Rose of Tralee quest. Its annual dinners on St. Patrick’s Day and St. Brigid’s Day are the most sought after tickets in the social calendar.

The Association has been visited by Irish presidents (including Eamon de Valera and Mary Robinson) and its Ambassadors. Its members have included judges, politicians, lawyers and members from a variety of professions such as writers and musicians. We are proud the Mary McAleese, President of Ireland, did not hesitate when invited to come to Brisbane for our centenary celebrations. It is a token of the esteem in which the Association is held, not just in Queensland and Australia, but also in Ireland.

As predicted in the 1928 souvenir of the opening of Tara House extensions, the destiny of the Queensland Irish Association is now largely controlled by Irish Australians. There is no doubt that the hopes of the founding fathers have been realised when they wrote “We are full of hope that their enthusiasm and ability will be equal to the task. Loving their own glorious land as they do, they cannot refrain from seeking inspiration and instruction from those great Irish scholars whose fame and learning made Ireland the centre of culture and refinement in Europe. It is for the Irish Australians of the future to maintain the best traditions of the QIA and improve on them – to cultivate the literary tendencies of the members and make this Association a centre of refinement, culture, good conduct and patriotism.”

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