The Liberator's Birthday

The Irish community who came seeking gold brought their old-world conflict with them to the new land of Australia. The Orange and the Green focussed their antagonism on neighbourhood pubs in 1875, at a time of waning profits and underemployment on the famous Ballarat goldfields. The mines and mining tragedies loom large in the background as the Catholic community in Ballarat celebrated the centenary of the birth of Daniel O'Connell, known as the Liberator because he won a degree of emancipation for the Catholic majority of Ireland. The mounting pressures of this special day in the life of the Globe Hotel bring young Tommy Farrell to a newfound strength and resolve, breaking free of the bonds of his youth, to claim his own liberation -- freedom to believe, freedom to grow and freedom to love. This novel is down to earth and compelling, but well-crafted and finely balanced. The vernacular of the Irish settlers and their Australian-born children which adds to the flavour of the novel, is authenticated by Jill's grasp of Irish usage, and her working knowledge of the Irish language. An interesting insight into early development of the Catholic Church in Australia is presented, not as an interruption to the narrative, but as an integral part of this special day in the life of the Irish in Ballarat.