L-R-Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration David Stanton TD, Richard Andrews, Australian Ambassador to Ireland, Councillor Cathal Rasmussun, deputising for the Mayor of the County of Cork

Cobh Town was a hive of activity last Friday 7 July, as 2,000 Australians on a world cruise aboard the cruise liner Dawn Princess gathered with locals to remember convict women who left our shores never to return.
Their crimes were ones that required pity more than punishment.
The town was decked out in Australian flags and adorned with posters of Dame Edna Everage.
Australian Ambassador Richard Andrews joined in the commemorations and marked his country’s link with the harbour town.
Accompanied by deputy Mayor of Cork County Cllr Cathal Rasmussen and Junior Minister at the department of Justice with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration David Stanton the group visited Spike Island.
Cllr Rasmussen said “a visit to Spike Island is a tour of 1300 years of history. A key part of that history is a link between Ireland and Australia.”
The Island was once a holding area for convicts before transportation to Australia and Tasmania.
Ambassador Andrews spoke of the shared experiences and values of both countries and the enormous potential for increased business, trade and innovation between Ireland and Australia.
The event in its ninth year culminated with the blessing of the bonnets, a ceremony remembering the 25,000 convict women transported to Australia between 1788 and 1853.
The commemoration ceremony evolved from a memorial project created by artist Christina Henri.
The project entitled ‘Roses From The Heart’ saw the creation of 25,566 bonnets — one for every woman sentenced to transportation.

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