Section 55 [The Foundations of Culture in Australia, by P. R. Stephensen, 1936]

[Editor: This is a chapter from The Foundations of Culture in Australia (1936) by P. R. Stephensen.]

§ 55

The true Australian creed

In his New Year message to his fellow-Australians, speaking at 59 minutes to 1 a.m. on the first day of January, 1936, the respected Governor-General of the Commonwealth, Sir Isaac Isaacs, uttered these historic words:

“Whatever the future may have in store, one thing is certain — no inferiority complex ever found a place in the true Australian creed of life.”

Those who heard this message realised that the words were spoken with a peculiar intensity, and almost a passion of sincerity: the well-loved Australian-born Governor-General could not, on such an occasion, speak in cold official terms.

It was more than a New Year Greeting. The message was Sir Isaac’s valedictory to the high office which he had filled with such distinction: having proved thereby that Australian birth is no barrier to the highest achievement.

His name will go down to history as one of those who helped to remove the “inferiority complex” from the Australian mind.

His words were carefully chosen, and will bear the closest scrutiny. He does not say that the inferiority complex is absent from Australians. He says that it never found a place in the true Australian creed of life.

This presupposes a vast difference between true creeds and false creeds.

The inferiority complex finds a very big place indeed in the Australian creed of life.

But not in the trueAustralian creed. . . .

P. R. Stephensen, The Foundations of Culture in Australia, W. J. Miles, Gordon (N.S.W.), 1936, pages 191-192

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