What do Ned Kelly, Errol Flynn and Alan Joyce have in common? Like at least one in three Australians, they are of strong Irish heritage. But they are also all included in the Irish Echo’s list of the top 100 Irish Australians of all time.
The list is included in the Irish Echo’s 30th Anniversary edition which has just been published in print and digital form.
The Top 100 includes prime ministers and premiers, priests and poets, medics and musicians as well as the occasional bushranger.
Fourteen of the top 100 are living including Qantas chief Alan Joyce, Sydney Swans Premiership player Tadhg Kennelly and former Australian of the year Prof Patrick McGorry, who was born in Dublin.
Also included are former Hawke government minister Susan Ryan, WIFI inventor Dr John O’Sullivan and former Chief Justice of Australia Sir Gerard Brennan.
The inclusion of former Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating and former Liberal NSW Premier John Fahey demonstrates that Irish influence was not confined to one side of politics.
One of the more interesting characters to be included is Constance D’Arcy (1879 - 1950) who was a pioneer for women’s health in New South Wales and became Sydney University’s first Deputy Chancellor.
She is one of a number of trailblazing women including self-styled anthropologist Daisy Bates, famed cellist Maureen O’Carroll and Golden Globe winner Lisa Gerrard.
The list is broken down into six categories: Game Changers, Nation Builders, Trailblazers, Pioneers, Visionaries and Saints & Scholars.
Aboriginal Australia is also represented with legendary songwriter Kev Carmody and designer John Moriarty included.
The list includes characters from every period of Australian history since European settlement from rebel transportee Michael Dwyer (1772-1825) and convict-turned-surveyor James Meehan (1774-1826) to modern-day icons like world champion surfer Mick Fanning (whose dad is from Donegal) and football superstar Tadhg Kennelly.
The characters who gave their names to everything from the seat of Wentworth, to the Cahill Expressway, to the the SCG’s O’Reilly stand and Tooheys beer are all included.