2 Jan 2016

Preposterous Fear Mongering - 1914 edition

The 9th Attorney General, William Irvine, justifying conscription in 1914:

"England can never be occupied, but the occupation of Australia is the chief prize of the German operations (gee, if only the Germans knew that, sitting in all that mud in a trench in France...) There is only one just, fair and efficient way of raising a force ... and that is by enforcing the recognition of the principle that it is the duty of every man to go forward and fight" source

My ancestors are mostly English, but kept carefully inside the extended family's home during that insane era was my 2 times (I think) great grandmother, who was ethnic German (a unified Germany might not have existed when she was born), spoke no English and fervently desired the Kaiser to win.

'Oma' had an interesting life. Came over as a child on a British clipper. Probably mostly naked because she contracted scarlet fever and all her clothes were thrown overboard. Made it safely here, but the ship itself sank in a storm on the way back to Europe with the total loss of crew and passengers. Maybe Oma had drilled holes in the side of the ship to pass the time.

Anyway, here is the current version of this map:

Paradise. Where else would you want to live?


  1. My gosh...I hope that is not a tourism map!

  2. BB,

    Ha!... No. It’s a joke about how we sometimes view ourselves, and the language we use.

    We love our unpleasant wildlife. It seems counter-intuitive, but the primordial comforts us, on some deeper level.
    It obliterates class, levels everything, mocks human arrogance - and we love it. It makes us feel warm to our freedom and good fortune.

  3. Damn, you've been busy Magpie - it's good to have you back blogging, I love your posts.

    You know what strikes me "funny" about a very common phrase used in the US about Australia, mostly by ignorant rednecks?

    "Australia is now the way the US used to be."

    I don't now if that's true to any extent. Perhaps it's the wild, unsettled Outback they are seeing as their model, I don't know. But I find it very interesting on one major aspect: If Australia is now, how the US used to be, how in hell did they pass us up so quickly in almost every perspective of being a developed nation? I think the only thing we do better is get fat and spend money on military.

    It seems to me those people have their eyes screwed in back-assward or something. If anything, that comparison could well be reversed and be quite accurate.

    1. The US was always a vastly bigger (in population) and more socially complex country than Australia has ever been. Whatever they think they are looking for, I doubt it's here in the way they might think. But this is a really deep subject and maybe I'll tackle it in a post.
      Thanks for all your comments, I've been trying to post more regularly and with just whatever strikes me as interesting.