Uncovering gems about the Warwick Egg Incident

14th November 2017 3:37 PM
A caricature of the Warwick Egg Incident. A caricature of the Warwick Egg Incident. Contributed

AS THE centenary of the infamous Warwick Egg Incident (WEGGI) draws closer, more and more stories about the people, the time and the aftermath are being uncovered. Most of these finds are due to the digging of Julie Conway, whose interest is both personal and educational.

Ms Conway spent her childhood in the Warwick region having grown up in Willowvale and is the granddaughter of Nora Bridget Brosnan, a first cousin of Paddy Brosnan, the man who threw the egg.

Ms Conway has returned to Warwick this week and has assembled a group of fellow scholars, to present a commemorative public history event about the WEGGI on Saturday at ST Mary's Hall from 10am to 12.30pm.

Ms Conway said the whole story was a complex one.

"It deals with such a range of issues,” she said.

"From discrimination against the Irish, class issues, conscription, national law v state law, Warwick's sectarian past and more.

"There was even what was known as the 'stink of the egg' which lingered for years, causing Brosnan's everywhere to either distance themselves from the incident or show their pride.”

Ms Conway said she remembered her own grandmother claiming to others, 'I'm not one of those Brosnan's'. "There was John Brosnan, a professional soldier who wrote home claiming in 1918 he had been given the cold shoulder by the Tasmanian governor.

"He wrote, 'I feel sure the way the Brosnan name was advertised all over Australia has brought my name under notice - Bart's boys (Bart was Paddy Brosnan's father) are the limit and will always have the name in disgrace.”

Others were not so quick to speak ill of the incident.

A niece of Paddy Brosnan, June Williams, said in 2006 she had always felt pride in being able to claim relationship with an uncle who so courageously and publicly stood up for what he believed in.

Another gem uncovered recently is the fact Billy Hughes accepted an invitation to return to Warwick in 1947 to present a trophy to the winner of an annual golf tournament, The Digger's Cup.

The trophy for the occasion was a silver egg attached to a base, inscribed "The Warwick Egg”.

Ms Conway urged anyone with more stories about the incident or aftermath to contact the Daily News.