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Monday, 5 March 2018

One hundred and fifty years ago an incident was etched into history and put Clontarf on the map.

On the 12 March 1868, Alfred Ernest Albert, the Duke of Edinburgh and fourth child of Queen Victoria, attended a picnic at the Pleasure Grounds, Clontarf, for the benefit of the Sydney Sailors’ Home.

The site, managed by the Moore family of publicans, was a popular destination for excursions on public holidays.

As His Royal Highness walked towards the band of HMS Galatea, an Irishman emerged from the trees and rapidly drew his revolver as the Prince walked past, shooting him in the back.

The Irishman, Henry James O’Farrell, a 33-year-old man, was the one and only person to attempt to assassinate of the Prince. A month later he was tried, and was sentenced to death. He was hanged on 21 April 1868.

As an act of gratitude to the surgeons who attended to him, the Duke gave his name to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Camperdown, founded from generous donations from the public in the aftermath of the shooting.

On 12 March this year, we commemorate the 150th anniversary of this event that gave rise to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital as we know it.

We continue to honour His Royal Highness with an inscribed tablet permanently fixed to a memorial next to a Norfolk Island pine in Holmes Avenue, Clontarf, which marks the spot where the Duke was shot.