The Ryan Clan in Australia

There has always been a Ryan presence in Australia since the first settlement, albeit unintentional and unwanted. Australia was founded as a convict settlement by the British for the disposal of criminals and unwanted elements of their society. Undoubtedly in this "unwanted element" would be the freedom seekers in Ireland or to express it another way "those Irishmen who vehemently opposed the intrusion of English Rule into Ireland". These unwilling settlers were torn from their families and native land convicted of petty crimes and transported to Australia for varying periods of penal servitude under very harsh and inhumane conditions. Records reveal that the Ryan family was numbered in these unfortunate beings. Many of these so called "convicts" served their sentences, were granted "tickets of leave", and eventual freedom, and went on to become progressive and respected citizen in the Colony. The name Ryan became a very respected and well know name in the history of Australia. Over the years, in almost every field of endeavour, the name Ryan became prominent. In politics, probably the most honoured Ryan was the Hon. T. J. Ryan, who became the Labour Premier of the State of Queensland. Ryans were also represented in Medicine, Law and Law Enforcement, the Military, and sport as both Players and Coaches. Even at the present time there are Ryans as Coaches and Players of Rugby League, and there are many more examples of the influence of Ryans in all endeavours. And of course the other side of the coin is that there has been Ryans who although they have also been very well known were somewhat tarnished in their reputation. It would be fair to say, I think, that the most well known of these would be one Ronald Ryan, of Melbourne, who has the dubious honour of being the last man to be hanged in Australia before the total abolition of Capital Punish -ment in the Australian States. Undoubtedly it is some consolation to know that it now more or less universally acknowledged that he was not guilty of the murder for which he was hanged, and was more a victim of the political climate existing in the State of Victoria at the time.

However, nothing had been done over the years to publicly recognise this Ryan influence, although there were many Ryan descendents, busily engaged in searching their Family Roots and compiling their genetic Family Tree.

In 1989 Ted Ryan in his search for information from the late 1953/early 1954 went looking for information in Tipperary, Ireland. On the return of information from Tipperary, enclosed with the information was a brochure about the existence of a "RYAN CLAN" in Tipperary. After investigation he joined the Clan Ryan, Tipperary, and immediately sought permission to establish a Branch of the Clan in Queensland. Permission was finally granted and on the 16th. November 1994 at a Meeting in Ipswich, Queensland the CLAN RYAN (QUEENSLAND) was established. The Movement started very humbly, with 21 persons -- almost all from the same Ryan Family --and without any advertising or promotion other than by word of mouth, steadily grew and gained Members from every State in Australia.

At the present time Membership of the Clan stands at around 190. The number of Ryans who joined the Clan Ryan (Queensland) clearly indicated that there was a wish by many Ryans to "belong" and so the idea of a Ryan Clan (Australia) was born. The Ryan Clan (Australia) was founded in October 1998 as a result of a unanimous vote by the Members of the Clan Ryan (Queensland) at the Annual General Meeting of the latter Body. Over a period of years since the foundation of the Clan Ryan (Queensland), in November 1994, a number of Ryan Descendants in every States of Australia, had applied for Membership of the Queensland Branch, indicating very clearly that there was a desire by Australian Ryans to "belong".

Consequently, during 1998 it was resolved to poll the present Members of the Clan Ryan (Queensland) on the desirability or otherwise of establishing a National Branch. The result was a unanimous vote in favour of the National Branch, but NOT at the expense of the Queensland Branch, which it was felt should continue to exist in view of its pioneering of the Clan in Australia. It was further decided that No Membership Fee should be charged for Membership of the Ryan Clan (Australia) as it was to be known, but that Membership be ONLY available through Membership of a Affiliated State Branch.

The original hope of the founders of the Clan Ryan (Queensland), and still regarded as of high priority, was that someone would arise in each State of Australia to foster the establishment of a Branch in each of the States, and people all over Australia have been solicited with this purpose in mind. However, to date, nobody has exhibited any desire to establish State Branches in any other State, therefore, at the present time all Members of the Clan Ryan (Queensland), are also Members of the Ryan Clan (Australia) by right of the decisions taken at the time of establishment of the Clan Ryan (Australia). Whenever, a Branch is established in another State, ALL Members resident in that particular State, and registered with the Clan Ryan (Queensland), will be transferred to that new State Branch immediately. In the meantime they are entitled to receive the services of the Clan Ryan (Queensland). Nonetheless, it is quite evident that the whole future of the Ryan Clan Movement in Australia is dependant upon the establishment of strong virile branches of the Ryan Clan (Australia) in ALL States of Australia and we look forward eagerly to the day when this will become a reality.

Text by Ted Ryan