Fenians, Fremantle & Freedom Festival

To commemorate the 150 year anniversary of the arrival of Australia’s last convict ship the Hougoumont in Fremantle, we are planning a ten day cultural festival from Friday 5 January 2018 until Sunday 14 January 2018. The event will be a celebration of Irish culture and influence in Australia as well as a commemorative event to honour the Fenians and others transported to Fremantle.

View the Fenians Festival background and our Facebook page for more details. 

The Festival will incorporate the following commemorative events: 


In conjunction with prominent Australians of Irish decent, Members of Parliament, members of the Irish Club of Western Australia.  


On 10 January 2018 a formal commemoration of the 150 anniversary of the arrival of the Hougoumont is being organised by the Irish proprietor of Kidogo Arthouse, Joanna Robertson with Author Margo O’Byrne and the Irish community.

Cultural events will be happening in walking distance of each other throughout Fremantle including: 

  • An exhibition of memorabilia from their successful Famine, Friends and Fenians exhibition in 2016 (in conjunction with the Museum of New Bedford, USA)
  • Commissioned new art work – exhibition commemorating Freedom and Transportation – Exhibition at Kidogo Arthouse
  • Exhibition and talk by Maritime Heritage Association 
  • Fremantle Prison – Exhibition of Transportation
  • Performance of a play about John Boyle O’Reilly 
  • Music and monologue performance by Irish actor Sean Tyrrell
  • Hypothetical Town Hall debate – ‘What have the Irish ever done for Australia?’ 
  • A music festival with well known Irish and Australian musicians 
  • Commissioned work to commemorate the Hougoumont’s arrival and the theme ‘Fenians, Fremantle and Freedom’
  • Walking tours of Fremantle highlighting the places and buildings which are significant to the Fenian Story 
  • Story telling by Irish Australian storytellers
  • Fremantle Prison Tours 
  • Showing of film, Waiting for the Vigilant, in conjunction with the John Boyle O’Reilly Society
  • Storytelling and children’s activities 
  • Each evening there will be stories and music at the Kelp Bar at Kidogo Arthouse
  • Festival Food and music 
  • Free beach concert with musicians from Ireland, Australia and USA