For nearly 200 years, a brave young rebel from Millstreet, convicted and transported to Australia for firing on the His Majesty’s troops, has been the heroic name behind the river, the valley, the gap and dam that supplies potable water to Canberra. Below is a brief overview of his life:
Garrett Cotter was born in 1802 to peasant farmers, north of Millstreet in County Cork. British penal laws had denied Catholic families like Cotter’s not just the vote, but any education, land and major assets as well. They were consigned to penury and effective servitude.
This was a society, fumed reforming Edmund Burke in the House of Commons, “as well fitted for the oppression, impoverishment and degradation of the people, and the debasement of human nature itself, as ever proceeded from the perverted ingenuity of man”.