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A Bicentennial Glimpse of an Anti-Australian Attitude in 19th-century Mid-Antrim

by Familia Ulster Genealogical Review: No. 04, 1988


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by Eull Dunlop

"King of the Cannibal Isles"

Includes a note on the name 'Ballymena Academy'

"Two of the most interesting characters in the religious and intellectual life of nineteenth­ century Mid-Antrim were the lifelong friends and fellow antiquaries who, between them, presided over the Diocesan School of Armagh and Connor (forerunner of Ballymena Academy) for a total of some 53 years.

First there was Rev. William Reeves (1815-92), who was headmaster from 1847 to 1858. Then came Rev. Robert King (1815-1900), whose long reign, terminated only by death, saw dangerous decline in a small institution that seems always to have been vulnerable.

It was left to two brothers, the formidable Fullertons, to usher in a new century and a new era, laying sure foundations for the large and very successful Academy of today.

Education, however, is not our subject here. At this time of bicentennial celebration, we are more interested in the anti-Australian attitude which is evident in letters (here quoted by permission) from Reeves to King at a time (1853) when their erudite but restless recipient was seriously contemplating emigration."

This article looks at the anti-Australian attitude present in letter from two of the most interesting characters in 19th century Antrim.