Disloyalty. Bogus Australianism. Condemned by federal ministers. [25 April 1921]

[Editor: An example of the viewpoint that to be “Australian” was also to be “British”.]


Bogus Australianism.

Condemned by federal ministers.

Briefly but emphatically Sir Joseph Cook and Sir Granville Ryrie protested on Saturday evening against the spread of disloyalist doctrines. They were speaking at the annual dinner of the Royal Society of St. George.

“I am an Englishman, and proud of it,” said Sir Joseph Cook. “And I am also an Australian — perhaps a better Australian because I am a good Englishman. But there is a pernicious propaganda proceeding in this country which seeks to set a pseudo-Australianism against everything British. Let us stamp out once for all sentiments of that kind. It is very dangerous, and all a mere piece of camouflage, when certain people tell you with protestation and nauseous reiteration that they are ‘Australian.’ You know they are anti-British. Out upon such sentiment as that! Let us be through and through Australian and through and through British, for no man can be a true Australian who is not at the same time a Britisher.”

Sir Granville Ryrie was rather more downright. “Unfortunately we in Australia are not unanimous,” he said. “There is a certain propaganda at work, a certain insidious movement going on, which I feel must be wiped out. Things are happening which we loyalists should not have to submit to — such, for instance, as the insult to the British flag lately in the streets of Melbourne. I say that if it is not stopped by other means, then the great body of loyalists will have to take it into their own hands — and then I can assure you there will be something doing. When I speak this way I know men will say, ‘Oh, ho is only raising sectarianism.’ Yet I am not. I would not speak against any man’s religion — if only for one reason, and that is because in the brigade I took from Australia — as fine a body of men as ever shouldered rifles—there were lads of every religion, just as there were of every political belief, all ready to die for their flag. And if it were only because of one of those boys I could not speak against the religious faith of any man. He was a rough little chap, that trooper. On Gallipoli after an engagement I stood beside him where he lay dying. ‘Well, good-bye, Brig.,’ he said; ‘I did me best, and I’m glad you are all right.’ If it were only for that kid of the Roman Catholic faith I could never speak against his religion. What I raise my voice against is disloyalty, no matter what the religion of those who express it may be — Presbyterian, Methodist, Anglican, or anything else. Sixty thousand of our best manhood laid down their lives for us, and if after the fields of France and Palestine and Mesopotamia having been drenched with Australian blood, and Australia drenched with tears, there are those who are not content to live in freedom under the British flag, then it is time for them to get out.”

The sentiments expressed by Sir Joseph Cook and Sir Granville Ryrie were warmly applauded.

The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, NSW), Monday 25 April 1921, page 8

Speak Your Mind