The Wild Goose

When John Boyle O’Reilly was transported as a convict to Western Australia on the Hougoumont, he was one of a group of 62 Fenian prisoners. On the journey, O’Reilly and a number of other Irish political prisoners produced a shipboard newspaper called the Wild Goose. Seven single hand written editions of the newspaper were made and read aloud to the convicts on the ship.

In 1875, after his escape to Boston, O’Reilly devised a plan to rescue six Irish political prisoners still in Fremantle Gaol. An American whaling ship, the Catalpa, was to wait off shore for the arrival of the escaped convicts. The Fenians made a narrow escape, pursued by soldiers and police and eventually reached the USA.

On the beach at Rockingham, south of Perth, there is a monument, depicting the Fenian prisoners as wild geese, at the site where they made their escape.

John Boyle OReilly 2

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