Dublin to see 'red'

by Chris Griffith
Published 12 May 1996 in The Sunday Mail


my face


Recently released Australian documentary The Legend of Fred Paterson will screen in Dublin in July, at the first-ever Australian film festival to be held on Irish soil.

Speaking from Dublin, festival co-organiser Mark McCaffrey said the Paterson film would be among a dozen Australian feature films and around 20 shorts that would screen at the Australia Week Film Festival, from July 1-7.

An Australian art exhibition also was planned as part of the unique Australian Week festivities in the Irish capital.

Mr McCaffrey said Australia Week evolved from the original concept of an Australian identities conference, to be attended by 200 delegates at University College, Dublin. It would examine Australian culture, identity, and environment.

The festival had been organised by Irish academics, Australian artists, with assistance from the Australian Embassy.

Queensland historian Assoc Prof Ross Fitzgerald, who researched the Fred Paterson story, said he would present a paper on Paterson and attend the screening.

Fred Paterson was the member for Bowen in the Queensland parliament from 1944- 1950. He was the only communist ever elected to an Australian state or federal parliament.

Prof Fitzgerald said the Paterson saga was especially significant to the Irish. He said Paterson had abandoned Christianity and embraced Communism after observing the fighting between Catholics and Protestants as he travelled from Dublin to Belfast in 1921.

"It was a conversion on the road to Damascas. He watched the poor belting it out with each other."