Fighting for Australianism is hard if you haven’t a thought about what it truly means to be an Australian; especially if you haven’t obtained a basic understanding of what Australian culture really is. Australian culture today is almost entirely depleted; hidden and cursed – There’s an army of people out there who legitimately believe the only facets of Australianism are alcohol and barbecues – this thinking ends now.
Australia was founded under some of the harshest conditions known to man, our nations most loved poet Henry Lawson once wrote “Our Andy’s gone to battle now ‘Gainst Drought, the red marauder; Our Andy’s gone with cattle now Across the Queensland border.” This should illustrate the difficulty faced by our ancestors; the pioneers of the most far-distant, isolated and desolate continent in the world.
Conditions in which the man must ‘battle’ for survival against the circumstances of his location drive the formation of real character, any man today can peer at the personality of a man who works the field and the personality of the man who works the computer – and he will surely see the degree of depth and volume to the hard-working man’s character when compared to the shallow, self-interested character of a white-collar worker.
Sprung-forth from this heritage of struggles and trials comes the Australian character and national spirit. Joseph Jenkins, the lesser known author of “The Diary of a Welsh Swagman 1869-1894” detailed a long story about life in rural Victoria during Australia’s high colonial period. He detailed a story of temperance and hard labour for the many hard years of his life; travelling from town to town for over a decade in the search for reasonable work and enough money to make it through another day – and even despite all his struggles he often in times of minor wealth submitted his money to friends and family for the sake of charity: knowing he could go another day without a meal, but his brother could not.
Australia’s early colonial history was marred by deep troubles relating to alcohol, Thomas Jamison among other wealthy land-barons illegally entered into the highly profitable rum trade. The governor at the time William Bligh was a moralistic man, and attempted to put a stop to this business, resulting in a coup which saw his authority destroyed and the colony being ruled by alcohol-profiteering land barons whom later were suppressed by the fierce military general Lachlan Macquarie; who then as a firm Presbyterian instituted to the best of his ability a sense of moral fervor in the early colony.
The historian Manning Clark found that Macquarie had established a vast number of Christian day schools in which the average members of the towns could become “dutiful and useful members of society and good Christians.” Macquarie’s moralism proceeded to issue an order to convicts of all religious persuasions to attend divine worship on Sundays; issuing instructions to the constables to arrest all vagrants on the Sabbath day and commit to jail all those drinking or rioting in disorderly houses during the hours of the divine service. Sunday schools in this time, under Macquarie’s instruction instituted a popular rhyme seen in our colonial history. “‘Happy the child whose tender years receive instruction well; who hates the sinner’s path, and fears the road that leads to hell!'”
For most of Australia’s national history; rural life was the object of affection and romance to the minds of the people of our country. To this day this is still true for some families. Since Lachlan Macquarie cleared a path through the blue mountains, Australian pioneers trekked and struggled through the fields of New South Wales towards land which they could settle and start a family farm upon. The self-reliance and liberties held by farming pioneers had a dramatic impact on their cultural development, the Australian sense of kinship with the land had begun.
Australia has since the days of John MacArthur been famous for its excellent lamb and sheep stock; the selective breeding of certain kinds of sheep had given us world-class wool and delicious meat to fill the stomachs of Australian men and children. During the early pioneer era the wool trade really expanded and became a pillar of the Australian rural economy, the legendary tales of the Australian ‘swagman’ found their origins here: The shearers of these sheep would travel town to town, station to station living in a swag and whatever they could carry over their shoulder.
The families of these men unfortunately often lived in destitute poverty and danger; the swagmen unfortunately moved too frequently to bring their families with them: often women would be left with their children to fend for themselves and awaiting the occasional visit of the father with money to solve somewhat the poverty of these families. Henry Lawson famously personified this reality in his short story “The drovers wife” ; ‘He was a drover, and started squatting here when they were married. The drought of 18– ruined him. He had to sacrifice the remnant of his flock and go droving again. He intends to move his family into the nearest town when he comes back, and, in the meantime, his brother, who keeps a shanty on the main road, comes over about once a month with provisions. The wife has still a couple of cows, one horse, and a few sheep. The brother-in-law kills one of the latter occasionally, gives her what she needs of it, and takes the rest in return for other provisions.‘
The hardness of character developed for young men in these circumstances is what made Australians so appreciative of what they always had. Greed was never a significant issue for natives in Australia, as we always had the collective memory of the poorer, harder days of old: this very nature is what has always churned a natural feeling of disdain for rabid materialism and the elitist capitalistic class which often found itself at odds with unionism.
Australian cuisine found most of its origin in this period; Lamb roasts on the Lord’s day and billy tea by the fire are classic examples of the Australianist attitude to food. Men often cattle and lamb drovers had an enthusiasm for cooking meat on its own, steaks and sausages combined with the tenderly prepared sweets of Australian wives – jams, custard tarts, pies and lamingtons are all quintessentially Australian cuisine.
Colonial isolation from the rest of the world demanded that Australian men and families develop a sense of community duty and belonging; where other countries believed in market-solutions for the problems faced; Australians never had the choice to swindle a profit off their neighbor when he needed water or tea. This ultimately culminated in the widespread establishment of mutual benefit societies, trade unions and friendly societies.
Friendly Societies are the old, and often forgotten institution in which workers and families would pool together a section of their own money to help the needy fellow members and provide a sense of security to all the vested families, interested in bringing themselves out of poverty. Many of these institutions not only saw to financial security but they often held events and enshrined the true Australian spirit: moral improvement, self-sufficiency, community duty and mateship.
Australia’s gold rush in the mid 19th century saw an enourmous influx of non-european migrants: negroes and turks included within the enourmous tidal wave of Chinese migrants. Australians who for many years had been struggling on their own had suddenly been compelled to compete with aliens who would work for 1/10th of their wages. Australians too for the first time had to experience the consequences of towns and communities being swamped with aliens, the communities in the gold-regions felt enormously discontent with the demographic situation.
One Queensland newspaper referred to this Asian influx as “Less like an organised movement of intelligent human beings than the uncalculating impulsive rush of a herd of animals.” – continuing to say “The presence of so large alien population has caused great alarm in Queensland as a colony, and something like a panic in that portion of the territory where their numerical superiority is a menace to the feeble authority of the Government and the small white population.”
Australia’s resolve as a people was tested here; and it was immediately revealed that the sentiment of the Australian people could be summarised as the following : “‘All white men who come to these shores—with a clean record—and who leave behind them the memory of class distinctions and the religious differences of the old world … are Australian. In this regard all men who leave the tyrant-ridden land of Europe for freedom of speech and right of personal liberty are Australians before they set foot on the ship which brings them hither … No nigger, no Chinaman, no lascar, no kanaka, no purveyor of cheap coloured labour is an Australian.’” ( The Bulletin 1887 )
All across the country Australians were rising up in their wrath; Victoria had seen the Chinese influx dominate many industries in the city of Melbourne and New South Wales had seen the influx of criminally inclined, immoral Chinamen bringing trouble to the rural regions of the colony. Among the many articles of news and public meetings Mr M. Nelville of Armidale said: “In the opinion of this meeting; the Chinese are not a class of people that will raise the moral and intellectual tone of this colony. Immediate legislation should be adopted by the Government to prevent the influx of Chinese into this colony.”
This racial conflict eventually culminated most famously in the lambing’s flat rebellion; lasting for many months between 1860-1861 the White Australian workers of the rural NSW region of Young hoisted their flags and declared “No Chinese” – it was from here that the movement for a White Australia was given enormous gravity, all the statesmen who would then embark on a journey to federate the nation shared the same sentiments, the continent of Australia was to belong to “The Aryan Race and the Christian Faith” as said by our first prime minister Edmund Barton before parliament.
Australia during this period saw an enormous growth of trade unionism aswell; the wonderful William G. Spencer was forefront in the battle for a White Australia: founding the Australian Labor Party and the Australian Workers union he writes in his memoirs: The anti-Chinese movement was one of the early developments of democratic feeling in Australia. So strong was it that in 1861 it led to riot amongst the diggers at Lambing Flat, Burrangong, New South Wales. They drove the Chinese off the field, some of the pig-tailed heathens losing their lives. There were at that time 38,000 Chinese in the two colonies of New South Wales and Victoria— 12,988 in the former, and 24,732 in the latter. But for the action of the gold diggers and restriction of Chinese immigration by a poll tax and otherwise, Australia would have been practically a Chinese possession. The same strong feeling that caused the Lambing Flat diggers to revolt actuated the miners of Clunes, Victoria, in 1876. The directors of the Lothair Gold Mining Company decided to introduce Chinese labor. The miners, who were all members of the A.M.A., determined to resist. The Chinese were to be brought from Creswick, eleven miles distant.
Two coaches were filled with Chinese andplaced under police escort. The miners had mounted pickets out, and wereinformed of every move. There are two roads to the town, and that on the west side, where the mine was situated, was blockaded by the miners. On discovering this the coaches were turned, and, crossing a deep creek, they made for the town by the other road. The miners rushed across, having about a mile to run, and hastily improvised a barricade, effectually blocking the way so far as the coaches were concerned. The excitement and cheering were great, men, women, and children joining in the resistance. Near by was a heap of road metal, and arming herself with a few stones a sturdy North of Ireland woman, without shoes or stockings, mounted the barricade as the coaches drew up. As she did so she called out to the other women, saying: “Come on, you Cousin Jinnies; bring me the stones and I will fire them.” The sergeant in charge of the police presented his carbine at the woman, and ordered her to desist. Her answer was to bare her breast and say to him: “Shoot away, and be damned to ye; better be shot than starved to death.”
William Spence has always been the great manifestation of Australianism; a firm moralist Presbyterian, a working man and a hero for the White working Australians. The Australian Workers Union infact maintained a strict regiment on who was permitted membership: Written in their original constituting documents “No Chinese, Japanese, Kanakas, or Afghans or colored aliens other than Maoris, American negroes, and children of mixed parentage born in Australia shall be admitted to membership.” The Australian Workers Union therefore was for AUSTRALIANS.
Australia’s sense of racial, cultural and ethnic identity likely surpasses that of any other white nation in history. Australia’s culture manifested itself in an unstoppable political force that took a few isolated colonies and thrusted them together magnificently for the cause of racial, cultural and moral standards: This sort of movement unbefore seen, and never seen again to the current date of Western history.
Conclusively given all such history we must understand that Australia’s cultural worldview is one of mateship, community duty, hard work, agrarian thrift, self-reliance, paternal socialism, national protectionism and Christian morality. Our culture is reflective of the tale of a nation left in isolation for many years in hardship; a culture forged from the necessity to depend on your fellow Australian.
Lest we forget who we are.