Shane Howard is synonymous with Solid Rock, the first great
musical anthem to our black history. Recorded in 1982 the song propelled
the Goanna band and Howard himself into the spotlight.
Shane Howard - beyond hope's bridge - 2001
These days Shane continues to write evocative and stirring songs
that grapple with our history, black and white, and search for a
life beyond the materialism that often suffocates us.
The purity of his music places him in the tradition of Irish legends
such as Andy Irvine and Christy Moore. Sean O'hIomhair as
he'd have been known if the British conquest of Ireland had failed
and his people hadn't left home, might write with his heart, but
he never loses his eye for truth.
As coincidence would have it Shane's great grandmother was a Cleary
from Silvermines in County Tipperary not far from where my own Cleary
ancestors lived in Anglesboro County Limerick just over the Tipperary
In a further coincidence my Cleary ancestors lived on a field alongside
the Howards. In occupied Ireland the Gaelic O'hIomhair sometimes
took the anglicised form Ivory. The name Ivory is found in the parish
of Galbally. John and Patrick Ivory were godfathers to various Cleary
children in baptisms recorded in December 1831 and January 1832
in that parish.
After a visit to his great grandmother, Mary Cleary's birthplace
in Tipperary, Shane wrote the song Silvermines:
I was born in the Silvermines 1842
The daughter of a farmer our lives were hard but true
Till the famine stole my family I buried every one........
|The Howards boys of Anglesboro and Kilbehenny buried their
parents in this plot in the Brigown cemetery in Mitchelstown
County Cork only a few miles from Anglesboro.
The village of Silvermines is approximately 20 kilometres west
of Borrisoleigh, from where John Egan emigated to Port Phillip in
1840. Egan left a great legacy in Victoria that includes a consecrated
cemetery outside Daylesford. The cemetery and the surrounding district
carries the name Eganstown. Click on the history menu for details.
| Peter Rotumah - from Heywood in the western district of
Victoria - joins Shane on Solid Rock at La Trobe University(
4 April 2003)