Reynolds, Henry: A hundred years of mateship?

Henry Reynolds

A hundred years of mateship?Pearls and Irritations, 27 February 2018 updated

A passionate piece from veteran historian Henry Reynolds.

I was astonished! An SBS news report about the Turnbull visit to Washington declared that the two countries were celebrating their hundred years of alliance. Where had this extraordinary snippet of history come from, I wondered? I then discovered that it was the Australian Embassy which had been talking about 100 years of mateship.

The prime minister’s USA Today piece is here. In it, he riffs off the short, sharp Battle of Hamel in 1918, and says:

Around the world, we remain as committed to our shared values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law as we were on the battlefields of Europe 100 years ago. Our forces have been united in the skies over Iraq and Syria, on the ground in Afghanistan and have helped push back the ISIL-backed insurgency in Marawi in the Philippines.

Perhaps unintentionally – or perhaps not – the USA Today piece when we looked at it was enlivened by links to a game called ‘River Combat’ (‘Play this Game for 2 Minutes and see why everyone is addicted to it’) and a story about compassionate immigration policy. Ah, algorithms, what heartbreak old tools you are!

Apropos, a pithy piece from Cavan Hogue, drawing on his schoolboy Latin (Turnbull = Flexus Taurus) is here. For other Honest History posts and links on the Australia-US ‘Alliance’ go here and scroll down. Mostly non-MSM.

Also, more recently, this by Richard Tanter. It is particularly strong on the operational interconnectedness between Australia and the United States and on the role of ‘joint’ bases such as Pine Gap.

For a later Pearls and Irritations piece on the ‘mateship’ theme, but mostly about the South China Sea, see Mack Williams. Ross McMullin, biographer of Pompey Elliott, wrote more about the World War I battles that grew into ‘mateship’. Any foray into ‘mateship’ needs mention of this by Terry Serio. See also a complete book by Nick Dyrenfurth.

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