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Divided loyalties: St Joseph’s Nudgee College, the Great War and Anzac Day, 1915–39

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 November 2021

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Abstract

St Joseph’s Nudgee College is an Irish Christian Brothers boys’ boarding school in Brisbane. It was established in 1891 to provide the children of Irish Catholics living in regional and remote Queensland and northern New South Wales with access to an education that would act as a vehicle for socio-economic advancement. The first decades of the college’s existence were nevertheless defined by two competing, sometimes contradictory imperatives. An often-belligerent determination to retain an Irish identity existed side by side with an awareness that a ‘ghetto mentality’ would hinder the socio-economic advancement of Queensland’s Catholics. The balancing act that this necessitated was particularly evident in the College’s mixed reaction to the outbreak of war in 1914 and the subsequent reticence to celebrate Anzac Day between 1916 and 1939. This article explores the College’s response through its Annuals (Year Books) and places it in the context of the Australian Irish Catholic experience of war and commemoration.

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© The Author(s), 2021

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References

Notes

1 St Joseph’s Nudgee College is widely referred to simply as Nudgee. In the interests of brevity, this article will do likewise.

2 M. Lake, H. Reynolds, J. Damousi and M. McKenna, What’s wrong with ANZAC? The militarisation of Australian history (Sydney: UNSW Press, 2010).

3 M. MacGinley, ‘Irish migration to Queensland, 1885–1912’, Queensland Heritage 3(1) (1974), 15.

4 T. Boland, Nudgee 1891–1991 (Brisbane: Boolarong, 1991).

5 R. Goodman, Secondary education in Queensland 1860–1940 (Canberra: ANU Press, 1968), p. 16.

6 M. Kerby, M. Baguley, A. MacDonald and V. Cruickshank, ‘The battle of the colours: Irish Catholic identity, St Joseph’s Nudgee College, and rugby 1891–1914’, Irish Educational Studies, doi:10.1080/03323315.2020.1814840.

7 Kerby et al., ‘The battle of the colours’, p. 150.

8 P. O’Farrell, The Irish in Australia (Sydney: UNSW Press, 1993), p. 5.

9 Goodman, Secondary Education in Queensland 1860–1940, p. 12.

10 C.L. Hamilton, ‘Irish-Australian Catholics and the Labour Party: A historical survey of developing alignment in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, 1890–1921’, unpublished MA thesis, University of Melbourne (1957), p. 9.

11 O’Farrell, The Irish in Australia, p. 6.

12 Nudgee College Annual (hereafter NCA) (1897), p. 68; Boland, Nudgee, p. 38.

13 Boland, Nudgee, p. 38.

14 NCA (1899), p. 7.

15 M. McKernan, The Australian people and the Great War (Sydney: Collins, 1984).

16 Boland, Nudgee, p. 17.

17 E. Malcom and D. Hall, A new history of the Irish in Australia (Sydney: UNSW Press, 2018); P. O’Farrell, The Catholic Church and community in Australia: A history (Melbourne: Thomas Nelson, 1977), p. 288.

18 Malcom and Hall, A new history of the Irish in Australia, p. 307.

19 Nudgee Prospectus, 1896.

20 Nudgee Prospectus, 1896, p. 154.

21 Goodman, Secondary education in Queensland, 1860–1960.

22 Boland, Nudgee, p. 81.

23 O’Farrell, The Irish in Australia, pp. 249–50.

24 Week, 25 March 1882, 4.

25 Week, 25 March 1882, 4.

26 O’Farrell, The Irish in Australia, p. 31.

27 M. Baguley, T. Riordan and M. Kerby, ‘Pragmatism and philosophy: Enriching students’ lives through a critical investigation of spatial literacy in shared spaces’, in D. Pullen and D. Cole (eds), Multiliteracies and technology enhanced education: Social practice and the global classroom’ (Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2010).

28 Goodman, Secondary education in Queensland, 1860–1960, p. 251.

29 Goodman, Secondary education in Queensland, 1860–1960, p. 253.

30 Kerby and Baguley, ‘The Bully of the World’.

31 NCA (1900), p. 55.

32 NCA (1906), p. 62.

33 J. Beaumont, ‘“United we have fought”: Imperial loyalty and the Australian war effort’, International Affairs 90(2) (2014), 400.

34 Boland, Nudgee, p. 38.

35 Golden Jubilee of St Joseph’s College Nudgee 189 –1941 (Brisbane: Strand, 1941), pp. 95–6.

36 J.R. Poynter, ‘Munro Ferguson, Sir Ronald Craufurd (1860–1934)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Available from http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/munro-ferguson-sir-ronald-craufurd-7688/text13457 [26 April 2020].

37 NCA (1914), p. 27.

38 NCA (1914), p. 27.

39 Brisbane Courier, 22 August 1914, 13; 29 August 1914, 13; 19 September 1914, 37; 3 October 1914, 37; 24 October 1914, 38; 31 October 1914, 40.

40 Brisbane Courier, 22 August 1914, 13; 29 August 1914, 13; 19 September 1914, 37; 3 October 1914, 37; 24 October 1914, 38; 31 October 1914, 40.

41 Beaudesert Times, 16 October 1914, 5.

42 NCA (1914), p. 27.

43 B. Gammage, The broken years: Australian soldiers in the Great War (Ringwood: Penguin, 1990), p. 43.

44 NCA (1915), p. 10.

45 NCA (1915), p. 8.

46 M. Kerby, Undying echoes (Brisbane: Boolarong, 2002), p. 13.

47 NCA (1915).

48 S. McIntyre, A concise history of Australia (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999), p. 166; J. Beaumont, ‘The politics of a divided society’, in J Beaumont (ed.), Australia’s war: 1914–1918 (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1995), p. 56.

49 J. Winter, Sites of memory, sites of mourning (Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 1995), p. 2.

50 Winter, Sites of memory, sites of mourning, pp. 200–1.

51 D. Noonan, Those we forget: Recounting Australian casualties of the First World War (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2014). Extrapolating from these figures, the Queensland total becomes 7,055 killed and 79,750 wounded or hospitalised.

52 R. Evans, A history of Queensland (Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 2007), p. 155.

53 J. Beaumont, Broken nation: Australians in the Great War (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 2013).

54 R. Evans, ‘Red flag riots’, in R. Evans, C. Ferrier and J. Rickertt (eds), Radical Brisbane: An unruly history (Melbourne: Vulgur Press, 2004), p. 166.

55 George Steward (1918) to W.A. Watt 20 November. National Archives of Australia, PM Department CP447/3, S.C. 5[1].

56 National Leader, 1919, cited in R. Evans, A history of Queensland (Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 2007), p. 159.

57 O’Farrell, The Irish in Australia, p. 287.

58 Alistair Thomson, Anzac memories: Living with the legend (Melbourne: Monash University Press).

59 M. Crotty and C. Melrose, ‘Anzac Day, Brisbane, Australia: Triumphalism, mourning and politics in interwar commemoration’, The Round Table (2007), 96.

60 NCA (1926), p. 74.

61 Penrose, H, Light dark blue: 150 years of learning and leadership at Brisbane Grammar School. Available from ˜https://www.brisbanegrammar.com/news/news-feed/˜board/news-feed/post/anzac-day [20 January 2021].

62 Charles Townshend, ‘Religion, war, and identity in Ireland’, The Journal of Modern History 76(4) (2004), quoted in J. Kildea, Anzacs and Ireland (Sydney: UNSW Press, 2007), p. 219.

63 Kildea, Anzacs and Ireland, p. 222.

64 NCA (1914), p. 37.

65 Winter, Sites of memory, sites of mourning, p. 224.

66 Gammage, The broken years.

67 D. Lowenthal, ‘Preface’, in A. Forty and S. Kuchler (eds), The Art of Forgetting (Oxford: Berg, 1999), p. xiii.

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