Daniel H Deniehy statue

Public Art : Daniel H Deniehy statue

Sculptor: © James White


Date unveiled : c1891

Location: The statue of Daniel Henry Deniehy can be found in a niche on the Gresham Street facade of the Department of Lands Building, Bridge Street, Sydney, Australia.

So who was Daniel Deniehy?: Daniel Henry Deniehy (18th August, 1828 – 22nd October,1865) was an Australian journalist, lawyer and politician. Born in Australia, his parents were both former convicts from Ireland who both received 7 year sentences in the Australian colony. The Deniehy's prospered in the new land after having fulfilled their terms of punishment and as a result Daniel was in the privileged position of attending the best school in Sydney. One of his boyhood friends was none other than William Bede Dalley.

At the age of 14, Daniel and his parents returned to England where the quite precocious child continued his education and traveled extensively with his family. It was during this time that Daniel met and was inspired by the leaders of the Young Ireland Party. He returned to Sydney at the age of 16 where he continued his education. Torn between his love of literature and radical politics he practised law while continuing to write for various newspapers.

Daniel became a follower of John Dunmore Lang, a Scottish Presbyterian clergyman and politician, who pushed for an independent Australian nation via the Australian League. This was quite ironic, considering Lang was seriously anti Irish and anti Roman Catholic.

In the 1850s Deniehy entered politics and was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly in 1857. His politically career never really took off due in part to his stubborn views. He soon found himself an "isolated loner" and sort solice in the bottle.

During his political life he continued to work as a barrister and journalist. In 1859 he founded the radical newspaper the Southern Cross and began writing satirical pieces .

Sadly, this talented writer and orator could not fight off the addictive devil, alcohol. He died after hitting his head from a drunken stumble on the streets of Bathurst in 1865. Daniel Deniehy was only 37.

Deniehy will be  best remembered for coining the phrase "Bunyip aristocracy". He used it in a satirical speech ridiculing Sydney politician William Wentworth's proposal of creating  hereditary peerage in New South Wales in 1853. Needless to say to idea was dropped soon after.

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