GIST: Family stories and national myths
- When: 3rd November
- Time: 6:00pm - 7:30pm
- Location: Robert Webster Building (G14), 3rd Floor, Room 327
Christine Kelly, MA in History and Political Science, Trinity College Dublin
Christine Kelly has an M.A. in History and Political Science from Trinity College, Dublin and is a Licentiate of the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies. She is a freelance historian, author and lecturer and a contributor to the New Dictionary of National Biography, the BBC History Magazine and the Literary Review. Her publications include, Blessed Thomas Belson: His Life and Times 1563-1589 (Colin Smythe, 1988) and Mrs. Duberly’s War: Letters & Journal from the Crimea 1854-56 (Oxford University Press, 2008). She is a member of the executive committee of the British Irish Association.
Family stories and national myths - The sinking of the German battleship Emden November 1914
During the early months of the First World War a lone German cruiser, the Emden, prowled the Indian Ocean disrupting and sinking shipping and delaying vital Allied troop movements. Nicknamed ‘The Corsair’, as she outwitted the seventy-eight warships sent to destroy her, her crew became heroes to the Germans and a source of fascination to the British and Australian press until she was single-handedly attacked and run aground by HMAS Sydney at the battle of the Cocos Islands in November 1914. This was the first naval victory of the war and a significant triumph for the recently commissioned Australian navy. This talk looks at the themes underlying the dramatic tale of the battle including the exploration of private and public myths, contrasting the victory of the Sydney over the Emden with the disaster at Gallipoli in the shaping of Australian identity. The story is told through eye-witness accounts, focusing on Denis Rahilly, the young Irish/Australian Gunnery Officer who had to scramble up the mast into the Crow’s Nest to direct the firing. (The mast is now the centre of the peace memorial on Bradley Head overlooking Sydney harbour.) The family stories and economic influences that brought this young man, educated in England, to volunteer for the Australian navy rather than returning to Ireland echo the experiences of many Australians.
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T: 02 9385 4772