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Seventeen Ninety Eight Memorial

With the approach of the centenary of 1798 the Irish in Sydney proposed to build a monument over Michael's grave.  However, the government decided to put Central railway station on the site of Devonshire Street  cemetery and the graves, including Michael's, had to be moved.

The 1798 Committee, under the chairmanship of Dr Charles MacCarthy, bought a block of land in Waverley cemetery and arranged to put a very elaborate Monument of white  Carrara marble, bronze plaques and mosaic floor on the spot.  They established 1798 Committees all over NSW and in Victoria, Queensland and South Australia to raise the money that would be needed to pay for the project.

On  Saturday night, 21 May, the two coffins containing the remains of Michael and Mary Dwyer were placed in a large cedar casket and brought to St Marys Cathedral.  After the 11am Mass the casket was carried by ten Irishmen around  the Cathedral.  It was placed in a hearse, drawn by six black horses.  The hearse had been specially prepared.  The black colour had been changed to ultramarine blue and the glass sides removed.

The funeral was an  extraordinary length.  Four hundred horse drawn carriages followed the hearse.  An estimated ten thousand people were in the procession and a hundred thousand watched. The procession was led by a band and other bands were  interspersed through the marchers.  It took 40 minutes to pass a given spot.

When it arrived at the cemetery the casket was placed in the vault.  Dr MacCarthy laid the foundation stone of the monument and spoke at  length.  Dr O'Donnell of Melbourne spoke also.

 

 The foundation stone was laid.  The building of the Memorial would occupy the next two years  Dr MacCarthy organised 1798 Committees all over NSW and in the other States to raise the money, over 2000 pounds, that would be required to pay for it.

He also designed and cast the bronze plaques of leaders in 1798 that would be placed on the monument, as well as the bronze wolf-hounds.

 

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