Queensland Irish Association formally established on March 23rd 1898, following the resignation en masse of the members of the six companies of Queensland Irish volunteers in the Queensland Land Defence Force.

Ex-members of the volunteers combined with the Hibernian Australasian Catholic Benefit Society to found the new Association, and the inaugural secretary was Major PJ Stephens, former commandant of the Irish volunteers.

Although there is no direct relationship, the Association can be regarded as a descendant of the Queensland Hibernian Association, which was founded in 1871, and the principles of the earlier Association are embodied in the the constitution of the Queensland Irish Association.

The Queensland Irish Association is the longest continuously operating national association in Queensland.

Growth has been steady, although major setbacks were experienced with financial problems and declining membership during the World Wars and the Great Depression.

Association policy has always been to support other organisations with Irish heritage or aspirations and also to be a strong supporter of co-operation with all national and ethnic associations.

History of the Queensland Irish Association

The Queensland Irish Association began after Irish volunteers in Queensland had taken a stand against what they saw as unjust Government interference in their activity in replacing the Irish commandant Andrew Joseph Thynne, a member of the legislative assembly , with Lt Col KJ Hutchinson. The volunteers resigned en masse when captain and adjutant PJ Stephens protested the appointment. At a subsequent dinner for Stephens, the idea of an association of the Irishman was suggested. It became a reality in 1898.

From the beginning, the Queensland Irish Association was non-sectarian and non-political. It aimed to promote “the union and brotherhood of Irishmen and their descendants (irrespective of creed) into one great party on the common platform of national freedom and community”. The early years were not easy but it has survived though the wars, Great Depression, bank failures, and its own near economic failure, the only ethnic association in Brisbane to maintain an unbroken line through 100 years (the German club pre-dates it but closed during the wars).

Originally, membership was open to Irish-born males or their descendants. Women were admitted as associate members in the 1960s and as full national members in 1986.

Fostering interest in Irish culture has always been important to the Queensland Irish Association. A thriving cultural program centred on its library, pipe band, dancers, Tara Singers and theatre and drama club.

The QIA’s many activities for members include bowls, golf, bridge, and The Rose of Tralee quest. Our annual dinners, on St Patrick’s Day eve and St Brigid’s Day, are the most sought-after tickets on our social calendar.

The Association has been visited by Irish presidents (including Eamon de Valera and Mary Robinson) and Ambassadors. Our Members have included judges, politicians, lawyers and members from a variety of professions, such as writers and musicians. We are proud that Mary McAleese, then President of Ireland, did not hesitate when invited to come to Brisbane for our centenary celebrations. It is a token of the esteem in which the Association is held, not just in Queensland and Australia, but also in Ireland.

The destiny of Queensland Irish Association is now largely controlled by Irish Australians. There is no doubt that the hopes of the founding fathers have been realised when they wrote “We are full of hope that their enthusiasm and ability will be equal to the task. Loving their own glorious land as they do, they cannot refrain from seeking inspiration and instruction from those great Irish scholars whose fame and learning made Ireland the centre of culture and refinement in Europe. It is for the Irish Australians of the future to maintain the best traditions of the QIA and improve on them – to cultivate the literary tendencies of the members and make this Association a centre of refinement, culture, good conduct and patriotism.”


  • Jeffrey Spender – President
  • Seamus Sullivan – Vice President
  • Bradley Tallon – Treasurer
  • Claire Moore – Secretary
  • Mary Allen – Director
  • Michele Bourke – Director
  • Paul Hogan – Director
  • Eric McMahon – Director
  • Mavis Williams – Director



Queensland Irish Association Dancers

The Queensland Irish Association Dancers were founded in 1958 to promote traditional Irish dance and to provide instruction in traditional Irish dancing to members of the Queensland Irish Association. Tuition is very affordable and they provide tuition to dancers of all ages and levels of experience. Classes are currently held at Brothers Rugby Union Club at Albion during the week and at the Mary Mac Centre at Annerley on weekends.  The dancers regularly provide entertainment at venues around Brisbane and South-East Queensland. If you need Irish dancers for any event, please contact QIA Dancers at the address below. Rates for commercial appearances are very reasonable and they often do charitable functions free of charge! But please remember, because of their busy schedule (feisanna, displays, concerts), they need prior notice to make sure they can provide properly for your needs.

For further information, contact Kate Hartley by email at khartley@bigpond.net.au


Queensland Irish Association Pipe Band

The Queensland Irish Association Pipe Band has existed under different names and associations since before the turn of the twentieth century, making it one of the oldest bands in Queensland and the oldest Irish pipe bands in Australia.

Over the years, the Queensland Irish Association Pipe Band has at times had two or three bands at the same time, including for a period in the 1980s where there were two grade 1 bands. The bands have won the Australian Championships in grade 3 in 1963 and 1970 and grade 1 in 1976, 1980 and 1986. In addition, the band has won New South Wales, east coast, and National Championships as well as Queensland Championships in grades 1, 2 and 3 too many times to list here.

Internationally, the band has competed successfully with wins in grade 1 in New Zealand and results as high as 2nd in Scotland and Ireland, wins in grades 2 in Scotland, Ireland and New Zealand and wins in grade 4 in Scotland.

Major international results include World Champion Overseas Band 1978, 1981 & 1985 grade 2 and 1985 grade 4, 2nd 1978 South East Ireland Championships grade 1, 2nd 1978 European Championships grade 2, 3rd 1981 Cowal Games grade 2, 3rd 1981 Cowal Games Drum Corps grade 2, 6th 1981 World Championships grade 2, 3rd 1981 World Championships Drum Corps grade 2, 2nd 1981 Scottish Champion of Champions grade 2, 1st 1985 Cowal Games grade 2, 2nd 1985 British Championships grade 2, 5th 1985 World Championships grade 4, 4th 1985 British Championships, and Cowal Games grade 4 3rd 1985 World Championships grade 2, 1st 1988 & 1990 New Zealand Drum Corps Champions grade 1, and 1st 1988 New Zealand Champions grade 2.

The band has performed at international venues such as Festival Interceltique de Lorient in France in 1985, 1999, 2006 and 2008; the Rose of Tralee Festival in Ireland 1998 and 2008, competitions in Scotland and Ireland including the World Championships in 1978, 1981 and 1985, New Zealand in 1988 and 1990 and France in 2006 and 2008.

Check out the pipe band practice featured on ABC “Australia All Over” Ian McNamara

You can contact the band by email to Bruce Grice on queenslandirishpb@gmail.com


Queensland Irish Choir

The Queensland Irish Choir is a non-auditioned, community choir established in 2014 under the inspired direction of our Musical Director David O’Keeffe and gifted Accompanist Tim Li.

We are about 50 in number (though not age) and we rehearse each Tuesday evening from 7 PM to 9 PM at Toombul Shire Hall in Sandgate Rd, Nundah. We normally perform at least 3 concerts per year. As you would expect, we perform mainly Irish melodies but also other Celtic melodies originating from all over the Celtic world.

Like all community choirs, we are always on the lookout for new members. So why us rather than some other community choir? The answer is simple; like Brigadoon, you will be entrapped forever and will never want to leave!

To be sure, you do not need to be Irish to join us. All we need from you is simply this; a love of music, endless enthusiasm, a ready smile, and a commitment to rehearse regularly and to participate in our concerts.

In turn, we will immerse you in the most glorious Celtic music and in the finest company with 100,000 welcomes! The great Irish poet WB Yeats once said that “Strangers are just friends that you have yet to meet!”

Don’t remain a stranger any longer, join us, your new friends and enjoy the craic!

0493 455 487


Queensland Gaelic Football and Hurling Association

In the late 1960s, the hotels, boarding houses and flats in Spring Hill were full of young Irishman who were excavating and laying pipes as part of Lord Mayor Clem Jones’s plan to sewer Brisbane. During these times, hotels were not allowed to open on Sundays and popular publican, the late John Mahon from Leitrim, and the late Seamus O’Kane from Co. Cork, often talked about having games of hurling and football on Sundays. The word passed around and a meeting was called at John Mahon’s Acadia Hotel. At that first meeting, there was no election of Committee as such, John Mahon was made President, Seamus O’Kane started to write down the names and take a few notes, so he was told that he was Secretary, and when Michael O’Connor agreed to handle the money, he was announced the Treasurer.

Games were played where possible and they were great sporting days. Our first “home” was at the Nudgee Orphanage fields and later games were held at Iona College. There was never any shortage of players either. Perhaps a big incentive was the keg of beer that John Mahon always tapped on after the games! Nobody talked about affiliating with the Gaelic Athletic Association (G.A.A.) down South during these times. People were just enjoying getting together for two games of football on Sundays.

By 1973, many of these young players had followed work and moved elsewhere and thus, the casual Sunday friendlies ceased. But not for long! New people came along and the Queensland State branch of the G.A.A. was formed and affiliated with the National body in 1975. This year also saw Queensland send its first ever team to the Australasian Games.

In 1982, the land that is now Gaelic Park at Willawong was secured with Brisbane City Council and it became the headquarters of Gaelic games in Brisbane. At this stage, things were still quite informal, with two teams being picked from the assembled group. However, in 1983 it was decided that four clubs should be formed to stimulate competition and spirit. This was done on a geographical basis with clubs representing the North, South, East and West.

Souths won the first ever Qld Championship in 1983 and went on to win six out of the first 10 Championships. Wests (now Shamrocks) won in the second and third years, whilst Norths (sadly no longer in existence) won in 1986. Sarsfields joined the competition in 1986 and a surplus of players from this club led to the formation of John Mitchels the following year. Sarsfields scored their first Championship in 1991 whilst John Mitchels took out titles in 1993, 1997, 1998 and 2002. A sixth club, Harps, entered the competition in 1995 and were quickly successful in 1996. Easts, one of the earliest clubs to be formed, finally scored their first championship in 1999 and had a very successful 2004, taking out both the senior and reserves championships in the same year, which had only ever been done once prior by John Mitchels in 2002.

1996 saw the introduction of the men’s reserve grade that brought an influx of new young players. The reserve grade provides a useful avenue for introducing new players to the game to allow them to find their skills, as well as being a good place to allow some of the old faithfuls to wind down at a slightly lesser pace.

Women stepped up and a competition was formed for them in 1997. From modest beginnings, the ladies have made great strides and the Women’s competition is now the fastest growing sector of the sport in Brisbane, as well as throughout most of Australia. Gaelic seems to lend itself well to a large group of women. The rules are slightly modified, omitting the contact element of the game, and provides a fast, fun and skilful opportunity for women to experience football safely.

The development of Gaelic Park steadily progressed throughout the Eighties and was funded by the local Irish community and built entirely by volunteers. The dressing sheds were built in 1984 with work on the clubhouse commencing in 1989 and completed in 1990 to coincide with that year’s Australasian Championships hosted in Brisbane.


Tara Hall Dining Club

All dinners are held at Hotel Pacific Brisbane, 345 Wickham Terrace, Spring Hill from 7pm to 10.30pm, with Happy Hour from 6pm to 8pm.

For bookings, contact Tony Pisani by email on fartacus8@gmail.com or phone 0468 969 148.



Tigh Gaelach Ladies’ Dining Club

The Tigh Gaelach Dining Club celebrates a long history of enjoying good food, wine, and wonderful company. The inaugural dinner was held in June 1987 and was organised by very active female members of the Queensland Irish Association.

Tigh Gaelach members meet at 7pm on the last Wednesday of the month between February and November. Our ladies enjoy pre-dinner champagne and an interesting and varied two-course meal with wine, beer or soft drink throughout. Dinners cost $45 and are held at Gilhooleys, Albert Street, Brisbane.

New members and visitors are most welcome. Bookings and enquiries can be made by contacting Michelle Fitzpatrick, President, by phone on 0403 384 223 or by email at mitchfitzpatrick@hotmail.com

Any bookings need to be made by Wednesday the week prior to our dinner. When booking, please provide all names of those attending, a contact number and any specific dietary requirements.  

We have a great committee who help support our members and all work hard to make our evenings fun.



Literature & History Sub-Committee

This sub-committee seeks to fulfil a key objective of the QIA Constitution in promoting an appreciation of Irish literature, Irish history and the history of the Irish in Queensland.

Enquiries to John Leahy by email at johnleahy10@hotmail.com


St Brigid’s Dinner Committee

Hosts an annual dinner in February to celebrate St Brigid’s Day, St Brigid is the patron saint of Ireland.

Contact Margaret Stacey at rmstacey@bigpond.com


St Patrick’s Eve Dinner Committee

Annual dinner on March 16 to celebrate the eve of Saint Patrick’s Day.

Contact Robert Ward at email@wardco.com.au


Radio 4EB 98.1FM – The Irish Radio Show

12:30pm – 1:30pm on 98.1FM

The Irish Radio Program on 4EB – for all the best in Irish music, news, chat and info from the Irish Australia community. For more than 30 years, the Irish Community Radio Program has been broadcasting from the studios of 4EBFM 98.1, Brisbane’s only full-time ethnic broadcaster. You can listen to the best in Irish music and all the latest news and events from Ireland and Irish Australia. The program runs for one hour and all programs are produced and presented by volunteers. New members and presenters are most welcome.

You can now listen back to the podcast


Irish Australian Support Association of Queensland (IASAQ)

The principal aims of the Irish Australian Support Association of Queensland Incorporated are to support individuals in a non judgmental manner in the Irish Australian community of Queensland in the following circumstances:

  • Support association for Irish Australians in need
  • Social services to the elderly
  • Support to bereaved families
  • Support to people in hospital / nursing homes
  • Support to people in mental institutions
  • Support to people in prisons / detention
  • Support to people in accidents or trauma
  • Social advice to Irish immigrants
  • Offer advice and assistance in housing and accommodation