Australia’s progress [27 January 1938]

Australia’s progress.

Tributes from London.

Nation’s future.

(Published in “The Times.”)

London, Jan. 26.

“The Times,” in a leading article, paying a tribute to Australia’s progress, states: “A virile nation of 7,000,000 celebrates with pride and thanksgiving the mighty growth of the seed planted less than five generations ago.

“Within that short span, Sydney has become one of the greatest ports and cities of the world, with sister-ports and cities hardly less flourishing.

“What was intended to be the dumphead for men and women who had broken the harsh laws of that period has become the home of one of the freest and most vigorous communities on God’s earth, and of a nation which already holds no mean place among peoples, and which is playing its full part in the history of the race.”

The article praises Governor Phillip for his far-sighted confidence, and recalls that Australians dwell with affectionate respect on his courage, humanity, and faith in the future. The article emphasises the well-marked stages of Australia’s economic growth, with which political and social development has kept pace, until Australia stands squarely on her own feet as a free democracy, and one of the most advanced and prosperous in the world.


“Appreciations of Australia’s progress,” it continues, “tend too often to concentrate on the material side, which is important as is also the contribution that Australia has made to the progress of the world by political and economic experiments, often many years in advance of European ideas. But it is well to recall on the present occasion that the greatest achievement has been the creation of an Australian nation with its own well- marked character, and its own part to play in making future history. The Australian is fundamentally British in tradition, in inherited civilisation, and in mental outlook, but there is no mistaking him for anything but an Australian possessing certain outstanding characteristics and qualities.

“Dr. Thomas Wood chose the word ‘Cobbers’ as the title of his book, because it brought out the essential virtue of the Australian, his loyalty to his fellows, his readiness to make a sacrifice rather than to let down a comrade, to which is allied courage, sometimes displayed as a reckless contempt for danger, but finding its truest expression in the grim tenacity with which he will continue to fight against all odds when everything seems lost.


“These qualities impressed all who saw the Australian troops during wartime, as they impress all observers in peace time. Every cricketer knows them. The test match is not won until the last Australian wicket is down. Equally typical is the readiness to try a hand at anything in complete confidence, usually well-founded, that he will succeed in it. With this goes a fierce dislike of humbug and affectation.

“An Australian plays hard and works hard. He has no patience with lackadaisical people, so common in older civilisations, who find everything too much trouble and do not mind if they lose. The Australian does mind which, perhaps, is the reason why he so often wins. Added to this is a breezy disregard of authority and conventional methods, which is often interpreted as lack of a sense of discipline.

“What the Australian can do and bear when occasion demands, in sacrifice and self- restraint, was shown, not only in the war, but, perhaps, even more convincingly in the fight against the great depression.

“Out of the seed sown 150 years ago there has grown a strong and self-reliant nation which has already achieved great things, and which will achieve even greater things in the future.”


(Australian Associated Press )

The “News-Chronicle,” in a leading article, entitled “South Wind,” states: “Few countries have developed from such unpromising beginnings to so high a degree of prosperity as has Australia, which is going to have an even more important future. But Dominion statesmen in consultation with their home colleagues must urgently consider the problem of population, as the more crowded countries are casting envious eyes on Australia. No doubt the question will be surmounted successfully as Australia has solved many former thorny problems. May Australia long continue her free and friendly association with the Mother country for mutual advantage and world peace.”


The Public Record Office has on exhibition the log of the Sirius for January 26, 1788, and also Governor Phillip’s despatch of May 15, 1788, dealing with the situation in the new settlement, two contemporary maps, a list of stores, including criticism of their bad quality, and a schedule of the population.


The bells of the Church of St. Clement Danes pealed for a quarter of an hour before the Australian Anniversary commemoration service at 11 15 a.m. to-day.

About 1,000 Australians attended. The Australian flag flew from the spire of the church and Australia House, opposite the church, was beflagged. Everyone was handed a sprig of wattle before entering, and the interior of the church was decorated with wattle.

In the congregation were the Governor of South Australia, Sir Winston Dugan, and Lady Dugan, Lord Birdwood, the High Commissioner, Mr. Bruce, and Mrs. Bruce, and the Agents-General.

Mr. Bruce read the lesson, the organist was Mr. Arthur Mason, formerly of Sydney, and Dr. P. A Micklem preached the sermon. He said: “Australia has grown far beyond the dreams even of the most prophetic. From a small tainted seed a great tree has arisen. The Commonwealth will play a part in the great drama of the Pacific and the world if she clings to the heritage of freedom and faith, which there are no signs she is likely to discard.”


New York, Jan 25

“Australia Day,” was celebrated by the British Luncheon Club, at which a message was read from the Ambassador for Great Britain, Sir Ronald Lindsay, containing complimentary references to the Sydney celebrations.

The Consul-General for Great Britain, Mr. Campbell, stressed the importance of the Sydney celebrations to other Dominions.

Mr. D. M. Dow, the official secretary for Australia, outlined Australia’s remarkable economic recovery, as adding significance to her 150 years of progress.

The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, NSW), Thursday 27 January 1938, page 12

[Editor: Corrected “peeled” to “pealed”; “emphasies” to “emphasises” (note that the The Sydney Morning Herald at that time used “emphasises” with an s, not a z).]

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