Monday, 25 April 2011


Both my grandads were WW2 veterans - one a left wing coal miner, the other a conservative middle class teacher. Neither wanted a bar of the RSL, ANZAC day - or anything else to do with that time of their lives. 
Let us not forget that many Australians unease with the martial routines of ANZAC day is also informed by war veterans, a direct legacy from those who returned; and that Australians voted twice to defeat conscription.


Lefty E said...

And perhaps to put it more succinctly: not celebrating ANZAC day is also a great Australian ex-service tradition.

Anthony said...

Isn't commenting on your own posts - before anyone else does - a bit like "liking" your own facebook posts?

What the heck, your post was a thought provoking one. In the 1960s through 1980s, you're right: we're talking about a population where veterans were still amply represented yet ANZAC Day didn't have the purchase that Con Sciacca and PJ Keating were to go on and secure for it in the 1990s.

Lefty E said...

Heh - it is like that Anthony (although the alternative of post "updates" doesn't appeal much either, as you have to log in!).

And here’s something to be damn proud of: the AIF wouldn’t let the British Command execute our deserters.

It was a flat ‘no’ from, well, Melbourne actually( before the capital was Canberra).

Fu*king brilliant. Oi! that thrice. Straya!

Anonymous said...

"And perhaps to put it more succinctly: not celebrating ANZAC day is also a great Australian ex-service tradition."

It is strange how people think because a person served in a war they should celebrate the victory and aftermath.

My father was wounded ww2 and wouldn't have a bar of ANZAC day or the RSL.He told me there was nothing to celebrate in death and destruction.When my father found out my eldest brother volunteered for Vietnam he went, to put it mildly, troppo.

As an aside dads brother was in Changi had the same response to the war. He never spoke about it much,. It is easy to see how racism piles on. He hated the Japanese with a passion.His leg ulcers were still weeping in the sixties.I have no doubt many Japanese feel the same way about us. There is plenty of ignorance to go around.


Brendan O'Reilly said...

It's true, there is a shocking amount of nonsense about on Anzac Day. It's not a day to remember the past and therefore learn from it. It's a day to sentimentalise and glorify war and a day to worship the warrior. Forget the maimed, forget the mad and definitely forget the Aborigines who fought and died against overwhelming odds against a ruthless invader.

I wrote some more in this vein at

Brendan O'Reilly

Lefty E said...

Very much agree, all: my memory of culture around ANZAC days as a kid was mainly commentary on who knew what ex-serviceman who wouldnt attend.

And absolutely, Brendan: if there was a major series of memorials to the indigenous warriors who fell in defence of their land, Id be less turned off by the whole deal.

As with everythig else: built on denial and blindness.

Lefty E said...

In fact - no disrespect here to the equally brave diggers, really, but its always seemed a bit like a form of memorial apartheid to me. Whats the difference? And yet one is semi-mandatory nationalism, the other unthinkable.