The Wild Geese memorial that recognises the daring escape of six Irish political prisoners who fled from the shores of Rockingham in 1876 was packed earlier this week when an annual memorial service was held.

On Easter Monday 143 years ago, the political prisoners escaped onto a whale boat, before making their way onto the Catalpa, which delivered them to New York, and adoring crowds, months later.

Hosted by the Australian-Irish Heritage Association, the service was led by MLC Stephen Dawson, a proud Irishman, with other dignitaries at the event including Governor Kim Beazley, Brand MP Madeleine King, Premier Mark McGowan, Greens Senator Jordon Steele-John and City of Rockingham Mayor Barry Sammels, along with other councillors.

Mr Dawson said the service “recognised a bold and daring mission”, while Mr McGowan pointed to the release of Peter FitzSimon’s new book as a way for the story of the rescue to be shared around the country, and world.

“This is a very important event that is part of the Irish independence history and it has taken form and shape in Western Australia,” he said. “If an event like this had happened in Sydney Harbour, the world would have known about it,” he said.


Premier Mark McGowan spoke during the event.
Premier Mark McGowan spoke during the event.Picture: Pierra Willix
The memorial included several performances.
The memorial included several performances.Picture: Pierra Willix
Mike Kelly performed a monologue from the perspective of John Boyle O'Reilly.
Mike Kelly performed a monologue from the perspective of John Boyle O’Reilly.Picture: Pierra Willix

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