E-newsletter no. 21, 2 December 2014

ISSN:2202-5561 ©

This is our final newsletter for 2014. We resume newsletters again early in February. We will still be updating the site regularly; subscribe to our RSS Feed to get advice of updates or simply browse the site, particularly under Latest Posts. Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Hanukkah Sameach!

New on the site https://honesthistory.net.au

  • The deep state is the new normal: Alison Broinowski reviews Frank Moorhouse’s Australia Under Surveillance

  • Do the bankers still hold the cards? David Stephens examines banking power in Australia since 1910

  • Empire sun has set but do those spiffing yarns persist? Daring deeds and Audacity for boys and girls

  • Extended family: Aden Knaap on League of Nations unions and internationalism in inter-war Australia

  • Team Australia is about ‘us’ as well as ‘them’: David Stephens on unsubtle pressures to conform

  • Helping the media to get it right: Sharon Mascall-Dare talks about a modern Anzac Day manual

  • Remembrance duet: David Faber on a peaceful old memorial; a new poem from Robert Henry

  • History is about maps: Steve Flora reviews a new book and some other mapping resources

  • Les Jauncey wields his journalistic pen about FDR, Spain and Social Credit

  • Honest History is launched in Sydney: pictures

Centenary Watch 

Minister Ronaldson announces; World War I galleries; Ben Roberts-Smith VC MG to chair Australia Day Council; National Library hits and misses; Queensland puts a twist on Anzac brand; No Glory firing on all cylinders; Twistory


Brand Anzac. ‘Is there any Australian brand worth more in the hearts and minds of Australians than "Anzac"? While Aussies might get parochial about Qantas and misty-eyed about Vegemite, such household names cannot compete with a brand so central to the national identity that the very act of calling it a brand is likely to spark a flood of letters to the editor. Anzac is dangerous territory for marketers. It is a brand that, on some level, any other brand would want to be associated with.’ (West Australian, 31 October 2014)

Direct Action, then and now. Direct Action a century ago was a newspaper published in Sydney by the Industrial Workers of the World. Its first edition, dated November 1914, included a cartoon, ‘The advancing proletariat’, the words of ‘The Internationale’ and articles critical of the war. Direct Action now is a government plan to pay money to business to reduce pollution. Direct Action in between has been the name of a number of socialist newspapers.

Where you stand. ‘I wish I wouldn’t have to live in a world where people who are willing to kill others are called "heroes" and people who don’t want to kill others are called "cowards". In a way, this little morsel of language convention sums up almost everything that is wrong with humankind.’ (Annette Kupke, Dunblane, Scotland, comment on article in Underground Magazine)

Name and shame. Historical artefacts of the 1980s are Patrick Cook’s two books on Favourite Names for Boys & Girls. Randomly chosen is the explanation of the name ‘Antony’, which touches also on variations thereof. ‘"And Tony" meaning "one who is nearly forgotten and introduced last". Not to be confused with Anthony, which is a musical term meaning "my flute is full of spit" … Most branches of the Christian faith enjoy a St Antony including the catholic St Antony, patron saint of the bow legged …’

Standing stones. The grave marker of Private WL Rae (killed 8 August 1918, aged 24) in the Villers Bretonneux cemetery reads, ‘Another life lost, hearts broken, for what’. This sentiment on Great War graves is unusually frank but not unique. Australian War Memorial Director Nelson quoted more sentimental, less challenging epitaphs in his recent Bolton lecture (p. 8).

Court short? ‘[T]he effect of the [High Court’s] decisions on the life of the country and its relative freedom from direct control are too great for it to be insulated from vigorous discussion and criticism. But, although humility is not the appropriate stance for one evaluating such a significant and potent institution, effective criticism must take into account the complexity and difficulty of the task the judges are expected to undertake.’  (Leslie ZInes (1930-2014), The High Court and the Constitution (1987), p. 386)

Exponential. ‘The catalogue of the National Library of Australia (NLA) records that during the 1970s just 51 personal narratives of the Great War were published. That number grew to 98 during the 1980s; there were 153 published during the 1990s and 215 during the first decade of the twenty-first century.’ (Carolyn Holbrook, Anzac, the Unauthorised Biography (2014), chapter 6)

Afterwards. ‘The end of World War I brought to Australians not tranquillity but unrest and anxiety, political, economic, cultural (a sense of being swamped by alien influences) and moral. Bolshevism threatened all, and explained to the establishment nearly every act of working-class defiance.’ (Thomas Keneally, Australians: Flappers to Vietnam (2014), p. 1)

Promises, promises. ‘If you break a promise, the outcome is uncertain and the number of people affected is small. But if you refuse to make a promise, the result is certain and produces immediate anger in a larger number of voters.’ (Cicero, How to Win an Election (written 64 BC), section 48)