Category Archives: Australian history

one nation’s Mark Latham Leads Charge to Save Australia Day

One of the strange things about politics today is the attempt by Left-wing activists to demonise ‘nationalism’.

For normal people, loving one’s country is a natural feeling. It gives them a sense of belonging, the comfort of having a clear national identity.

Most Australians are proud of our country’s achievements. For many decades, this was the unifying purpose of Australia Day: celebrating the greatness of our nation and the Western civilisation that arrived here on 26 January 1788.

We know Australia is a wonderful place because so many people from overseas want to come here (often by any means possible).

But in recent years, the Green-Left has tried to turn Australia Day into a day of division. They want to ‘change the date’ or even abandon the celebrations altogether.

The Australia-haters have come from within. They want to make us feel guilty about our love of country and ashamed of our national day. Read on…

The Break-Up of Australia

Those of us who had serious reservations about the logic of the Mabo jugdment and where it would lead have been justified in our fears by the stage at which some Australians of Aboriginal ancestry (AOAAs) have brought their political campaign. Keith Windshuttle in his book The Break-Up of Australia (below) has shown just how far we other Australians have come in surrendering our country to a superior cast who feed on the toil of a servant population. The facts and statistics are frightening. If Australians don’t do anything else, they should at least read the two excerpts of the book Quadrant published . 

Australians are not being told the truth about the proposal for constitutional recognition of indigenous people. The goal of Aboriginal political activists today is to gain ‘sovereignty’ and create a black state, equivalent to the existing states. Its territory, com­prising all land defined as native title, will soon amount to more than 60 per cent of the whole Australian continent. Constitutional recognition, if passed, would be its ‘launching pad’.

As Quadrant’s Keith Windschuttle details in The Break-Up of Australia, recognition will not make our nation com­plete — it will divide us permanently.

Buy the book here.

Read the first of two excerpts: The Break-Up of Australia: Part I  
& Part II

Australia did not exist before the 26th of January 1788

The historical detail for the reasons I claim Australia did not exist before the 26th of January 1788 is in chapter 2 (the relevant section below) of my book Prison Hulk to Redemption. The philosophical arguments about what it means to be a people are in my essay Edmund Burke on what it means to be a people. Both should be in read in combination to appreciate the full argument.

* * * * *

Chapter 2

 A brief account of the early years of the Colony

On the 28th of April 1770, the then Lieutenant James Cook steered his ship, Endeavour, into a broad open bay and dropped anchor at its southern shore. He named it Stingray Bay because of the abundance in its waters of stingrays on which his crew gorged. He later crossed out Stingray Bay in the ship’s logs and entered Botany Bay in tribute to Botanist Joseph Banks, the ship’s eager scientist. Banks had put together an impressive collection of specimens of unknown plants and animals after trekking around the land bordering the bay’s shores.

Cook and Endeavour were on their way back to England after carrying out the official task of observing the transit of Venus from the island of Tahiti. There were also unofficial tasks one of which was to investigate the existence of the South Land whose ancient mythology promised great riches of all kinds. From Roman times, it had been called Terra Australis Incognita – Unknown South Land. The search for the mysterious land of the south had occupied the Portuguese, the Dutch, the Spanish, and lately the English in the person of William Dampier (1688 and 1689).  Dampier added little to the findings of the Dutch seamen.

Continue reading Australia did not exist before the 26th of January 1788

Where I’m up to with my book about Tony Abbott

Tony Abbott and the Times of Revolution

When I decided to write a book about the fall of the Abbott Government, I feared I might have bitten off more than I could chew.

My specialty – to the extent I have one – is philosophy,  specifically political philosophy.  My Master’s thesis was on Edmund Burke. Although I follow politics fairly closely, I am more interested in the ideological motivations and clashes than the day to day political activity. My mind concentrates on the logic and consistency of a politician’s ideas and the implementation of those ideas in the concrete circumstances.

What always appealed to me about Tony Abbott was the philosophical depth and consistency of his thought, qualities few people appreciate. The caricature manufactured by the leftist media has dominated the political discourse. I wanted to show that his demise was due more to the unrelenting attacks by his ideological enemies (including those in his party undermining him) than to his record and the policy program he was pursuing. His program was a solid conservative program, economically and socially. The appalling ideological pig-ignorance of the President of the AMA was just one illustration of what he had to deal with. 

The problem I thought might be my lack of knowledge of the detail necessary to my analysis. Nevertheless, I decided to go ahead to see how far I could get.

As I proceeded with my preparation, I saw that I had underestimated the reading necessary for the background I had planned to sketch. The prelude to Abbott’s political career was the 1960s and his time as a student politician in the second half of the 1970s. After much reading and making pages of notes, I sat down to write. 

I discovered as I wrote I had to do still more reading if I was to succeed in establishing those critical influences that made Abbott what he is as a political player. I had reached around 25,000 words when it occurred to me that Abbott’s time as a student politician was a story in itself – a fascinating story. I split the project into two books. Back to my reading and research.

Months passed while I amassed more than 300 pages of notes.  When I went back to my writing, I made good progress. I have a clear schedule now, the result of a strict ordering of the notes. I hoped I could catch up on the deadline I had set myself which was March this year for the first draft. 

I’m happy to say that I am steaming ahead, reaching 95,000 words as of today (3 Feb). I probably won’t achieve the end of March deadline, but it won’t be much beyond that. Stay tuned. I am sure many will find Tony Abbott the student politician as fascinating as I have. 

Reader comment Prison Hulk to Redemption

Comment: Barry Fitzgerald (Denham Court NSW)
I bought your book because I like the title Prison Hulk to Redemption, but did not read the review in the Annals. It is one of the few history books that I have read and do not recall being taught Australian history at school.

I have written about my ancestors since they arrived in Australia in the early nineteenth century, but in far less detail than in your book.

Before we left Sydney in 1936 to live on a property on the Darling Downs in Queensland, I can recall very few instances instances when fun was made of me because of my Catholic school uniform. However I can recall my aunts and uncles referring to problems they were having because they were Catholics. But after reading your book I am inclined to believe it was more to do with the economy and the belief that the English were a superior class to the Irish.

[The chapter] ‘Bit and Pieces’ is superb and reminded me of my childhood at Jimbour. Our exploits and adventures were not as daring.

Thank you for the opportunity to learn more about early Australia.

Weaving together history, culture and religion

The following review is from good friend Garrett Ward Sheldon, The John Morton Beaty Professor of Political and Social Sciences, The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, USA.

Finished your family history and enjoyed it very  much. Can’t wait to read the sequel!  The way you weave together history, culture and religion is excellent.  I really got a sense of the roughness of early Australia; and yet the quick civilizing of the British and Irish influences.  Also the development of democracy is very good. Your description of Irish Catholicism on page 54 is most enlightening.  What does the expression “reaching for a bucket ” (p. 59) mean?  Your description of the convict women [on the First Fleet] (p. 245) is priceless.  The Case of the Stolen Opposum (p. 252) is hilarious.  The story of the Catholic educational system (p. 310) is very like the USA in the twentieth century.
Garrett Ward Sheldon

A fascinating introduction to Australia as nation

I have made contact through ancestry.com with several members of my extended family. Mike Chapman who lives in Canada is a fifth cousin through my mother’s line. After reading my family history book he posted the following five star review on the kobo website:

A Personal History of Australia
I found Gerard Wilson’s book a fascinating introduction to the development of Australia as a nation and the people responsible for its success. His research into his personal ancestry provides the reader with an insight into the lives of ordinary men and women who first settled the Australian continent. Many of them were petty criminals, (thieves, pickpockets, prostitutes) in British cities that were arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to ‘transportation’ by the courts. Some were even sentenced to death (for theft in those days) but had their sentence commuted to transportation. Others were the officers and crew in the “First Fleet” of 11 ships that undertook the hazardous voyage in 1788 to Australia and of the convict ships that followed. It is remarkable that so many men and women banished from their homeland because of criminal convictions became hard-working, successful farmers and well respected citizens in the new land.
Mike Chapman, Canada

Australia’s institutional inheritance from Britain

I sent a copy of Prison Hulk to Redemption: Part One of a Family History 1788-1900 to the Hon. Robert Clark Liberal Member for Box Hill and Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations in the Victorian State Parliament because of his interest in Edmund Burke. My book is a Burkean examination of cultural continuity and identity. The shadow minister had written a favourable review of Jesse Norman’s excellent book on Edmund Burke – Edmund Burke: Philosopher, Politician and Prophet. He replied with this comment:

‘I’ve enjoyed reading the concluding chapter of the book and your Burkean assessment of Australia’s institutional inheritance from Britain.  I particularly enjoyed your assessment and critique of those Australian historians and commentators who seem to have a desire to belittle the British aspects of our heritage, whether that be from a teenager lack of confidence or (which may be a more complex version of the same phenomenon) from a socialist desire to tear down existing institutions.’

Free movement between Australia, New Zealand, Canada and United Kingdom

A proposal for free movement between Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom was proposed around three years ago. The agreement would be on the same sort of basis as the EU.  London Mayor Boris Johnson, a great supporter of the proposal, pointed out that the people of Australia and the United Kingdom could hardly be more alike culturally and ethnically.  Indeed, that is the central thrust of my just published book Prison Hulk to Redemption – all about the cultural foundations and continuities between the two blocks. This last week the proposal has had some more airing – much to my delight.