“Australian Ideals”: Lecture by Rev. Father G. E. Herlihy [25 August 1921]

[Editor: An article regarding the Rev. Herlihy’s encouragement of Australian nationalism. Published in Freeman’s Journal, 25 August 1921.]

“Australian Ideals.”

Lecture by Rev. Father G. E. Herlihy.

Under the auspices of the N.S.W. Debating Union, an interesting lecture on “Australian Ideals” was given by the Rev. Father G. E. Herlihy in the St. Patrick’s Hall, Harrington-street, on Wednesday of last week, in the presence of a large gathering. Mr. T. Egan presided. Prior to the lecture an enjoyable concert of Australian songs was given by a number of artists, including Miss Lahiff, Miss Gertie Egan, Miss Lillian Wesslink and Miss Doris Smith.

In the course of an hour and a half’s lecture Father Herlihy stressed the point of inculcating the love of Australia and national sentiments into the hearts of the children. “These ideals,” he said, “were gradually finding their way into the schools and among the people. (Applause.) The real trouble was that the Australian boy was chloroformed and there was a tendency to offer homage at an alien altar, and spend his enthusiasm and zeal on history and ideals that were imported. There were just as worthy men,” he added, “in Australia as there were among any nation on the earth.” (Applause.)

Continuing, Father Herlihy declared that the Australian youth was taught to sing “God Save the King” and many other anthems under the sun, still he was glad to see that in the Catholic schools there was a big change, and the spirit and love for Australian ideals were growing.

The lecturer then outlined the Australian ideals, and explained that they should put Australia first. “When they heard men in politics say that they believed in Australia first then,” said Father Herlihy, “watch and investigate their career and find out what they have done in a practical way to redeem that slogan and prove their loyalty. We want to stir up Australians to the fact that they have the greatest country on the earth. We want to tell them about its history and let them realise that Australians have done big things. We want to teach them about the explorers and the fight for constitutional liberty, and that they have had men who have made Australia famous all over the world. We can only do this by expecting our teachers in the schools, our politicians and papers to teach these things as, until this is done there is little success awaiting upon our efforts.”

“They should put the Australian flag first,” he continued. “If he went to England, or Scotland, or Wales, or Ireland, they would not expect him to put the Australian flag above the flag of that country. As an Australian, the same privilege belonged to him and his country.”

The lecturer then dealt with the White Australia policy, and the necessity of upholding it, and then in graphic words referred to the explorations of Hovell, Hume, Burke and Wills, Eyre, Leichhardt and other travellers, and paid a glowing tribute to the heroism of the women out-back and the early pioneers.

He also enumerated the list of Australians who had become famous in the world’s history as well as the mark they had made in literature; and, in conclusion, declared that they knew what they owed to the land of their forefathers and the Australians would go more readily to fight for Ireland’s cause. “We love Ireland,” he said, “because it is our duty. We believe in the sufferings of Ireland and in her cause. Still, Australians could not be blamed for loving Australia first, as it was their native land, and they put it before others. (Applause.)

Freeman’s Journal (Sydney, NSW), 25 August 1921, p. 15

[Editor: The original text has been separated into paragraphs.]

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