Mater’s Musing #51: NAIDOC Lies, I’ve had enough

After another week of listening to lies, stacked upon lies, dressed up as reconciliation speeches, I’ve simply had enough.

It rates as one of the most frustrating experiences of my life to standby and watch the absolute perversion of our history as it is force-fed to well-meaning, but largely historically ignorant audiences, including many new Australians and school kids.

I am more than happy to acknowledge and accept the ugly side of the clash of cultures that occurred in our history. What I am not willing to go along with is blatant lies, and the twisting, of what were often compassionate measures and policy positions, into supposedly evil, racist and divisive dictates.

What bothers me most is what our generation will look like in the eyes of our descendants, if an equivalent distortion is applied 100 years from now. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

Given a voice during these events, I’d be able to counter these narratives with solid facts, but unfortunately, I don’t have the stage. That leaves me with this blog. I might impart some of the INCREDIBLE lies I’ve heard during NAIDOC, but to cover them all (and their rebuttal) will take a series of posts. We’ll see if I can be bothered.

In the meantime, let’s have an entree from a source that we should expect better from, the Australian War Memorial Website.

In a similar vein, Commonwealth policy-makers generally expected that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men (and other men “not substantially of European origin or descent”) would be exempted from military service in time of war, and this was codified in a 1910 amendment to the Defence Act 1903. Despite this discrimination, a small number of Indigenous men – perhaps as many as fifteen are now estimated (Michael Bell AWM) to have served in both colonial and federal contingents during the Boer War in South Africa (1899–1902). As of July 2021 this number is 10 confirmed Aboriginal soldiers. 

Indigenous service in Australia’s armed forces in peace and war

Ok, let’s clear up the obvious fallacy here. “Exempted” means that they could not be FORCED to undertake the peacetime militia training and wartime obligations as laid out in the Defence Act 1903 (Conscription!). It doesn’t say “Prohibited”. It doesn’t exclude them from joining, just gives them an out should they not wish to get involved.

There is a strong case here that this was a compassionate clause, rather than a racist one. Imagine rounding up all those Aboriginals who were living a more traditional life, and throwing them into a European-inspired war. I doubt our forefathers could win here. Exempt them, and they were racist. Include them, and they sent them unwillingly to their deaths in a war they had nothing to do with, and couldn’t be expected to understand.

When the First World War (1914–18) began, Australia used general enlistment to raise the Australian Imperial Force, separate to its home defence forces, and sent this overseas. Although the “substantially of European origin” rule still applied in recruiting for the AIF, many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were still accepted for enlistment, apparently because their racial background was overlooked if they had not lived in a tribal environment. Even a few “full-blooded” Indigenous Australians (like Douglas Grant 6020 and William Joseph Punch 5435) were accepted because they had been raised in white households. In 1917 the rule was modified to accept men who could satisfy a medical officer that they had “one parent of European origin”.

Indigenous service in Australia’s armed forces in peace and war

We’ll shortly have a look at the clause in question, but note the surprise that “a few full-blooded Indigenous” got through. The reason? Easy! Despite the inferences, there was no official impediment in the Act.

Also note that I’ve searched all the amendments to the Defence Act from its inception in 1903 up until 1970, and I CAN NOT find any reference to a statement that even remotely refers to “one parent of European origin”. I would like to see a reference for this statement.

In fact, on another webpage they actually state:

Before 1980, individuals enlisting in the defence forces were not asked whether or not they were of an Indigenous background.

Indigenous Defence Service

So they were apparently restricted from joining, but there was nothing on their enlistment form to identify them? Not very government-like, if they were trying to discriminate.

The relevant section of the act:

Defence Act 1903

If the narrative from the AWM holds water, all police, judges, ministers, doctors, etc were also prohibited from joining up. That wasn’t the case.

The truth is, far from being racist, this is the sort of positive discrimination which is so often applauded by the Left in 2022. Essentially, Aboriginals had the freedom to join, but no obligation (perhaps out of respect for their culture).

Similar errors and incorrect inferences pervade the AWM’s website. One should expect not to see such things from this institution. A complete ‘fact check’ should be run over their entire indigenous service section…out of respect for those that served. All of them.

69 thoughts on “Mater’s Musing #51: NAIDOC Lies, I’ve had enough”

  1. I am more than happy to acknowledge and accept the ugly side of the clash of cultures that occurred in our history.

    Forcibly replacing people with sheep is a “clash of cultures”?


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  2. Whatever you do, don’t mention cannibalism.
    Yeah, that’s it.
    The only people that have a problem there wouldn’t spit on an Abo if he was on fire, yet Abos themselves will tell you the Chinese were preferred eating during the Palmer River Goldrush, possibly due to a more vegetarian diet.


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  3. What bothers me most is what our generation will look like in the eyes of our descendants, if an equivalent distortion is applied 100 years from now. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

    It will be the reverse of stolen generations. The charge will be that we were heartless people who knew what was happening to aboriginal women and children and did nothing. How could we turn a blind eye when we were urged to act by all the advertising in public places? Our generations will be accused of the grossest hypocrisy.


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  4. What stuns me about our ‘First Nation” is the multiple and duplicated services available to them at our expense. In my former country hometown there were about six or seven of them. Here on Gold Coast, very hard to imagine. Plus remembering that they only make up about 3% of our population.


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  5. Forcibly replacing people with sheep is a “clash of cultures”?

    If one culture farms sheep, and the other kills and eats any animals it encounters, yes, it’s a clash of cultures.

    Rubs eventuated.

    What’s important, yet seems lost in the modern narrative is that there was never a systematic aim to eradicate the natives.

    Instructions to Arthur Phillip prior to his departure (given on 25 day of April 1787):

    “You are to endeavour by every possible means to open an Intercourse with the Natives and to conciliate their affections, enjoining all Our Subjects to live in amity and kindness with them. And if any of Our Subjects shall wantonly destroy them, or give them any unnecessary Interruption in the exercise of their several occupations. It is our Will and Pleasure that you do cause such offenders to be brought to punishment according to the degree of the Offence. You will endeavour to procure an account of the Numbers inhabiting the Neighbourhood of the intended settlement and report your opinion to one of our Secretaries of State in what manner Our Intercourse with these people may be turned to the advantage of this country.”

    https://www.foundingdocs.gov.au/resources/transcripts/nsw2_doc_1787.pdf

    But thanks for playing, Ed.


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  6. Perhaps, Ed, you could address the main issue of the post rather than releasing distraction squirrels.

    Is being ‘exempted’ from compulsory service the same as being ‘excluded’ from service?


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  7. Instructions to Arthur Phillip prior to his departure (given on 25 day of April 1787):
    Instructions given to the Qld Native Police, c. 1867:
    Disperse any Abos you might encounter.
    They did.


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  8. Is being ‘exempted’ from compulsory service the same as being ‘excluded’ from service?

    You’re pettifogging.
    The States had differing Enlistment criteria during WW1 and the criteria wasn’t always followed to the letter anyway.


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  9. Link?

    A good faith discussion requires that both parties agree that at least some facts aren’t in dispute.
    You appear to be disputing that Official Orders to the QNP were to disperse Aborigines wherever they might be found.
    If you seriously want me to provide a Link to that fact, then perhaps you shouldn’t be writing an opinion piece on the subject?


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  10. The States had differing Enlistment criteria during WW1

    For the Australian Imperial Force?
    I assume you can backup that statement, otherwise you’re bullshiting.

    and the criteria wasn’t always followed to the letter anyway.

    Even if true, hardly the point when the narrative being sold is that the NATION had a discriminatory recruiting policy.


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  11. You appear to be disputing that Official Orders to the QNP were to disperse Aborigines wherever they might be found.

    Yes, I link to deal in verifiable facts. Too few being provided nowadays.

    Notwithstanding, ‘dispersion’ is different to ‘eradication’, and that’s what’s being sold. And let’s not get tied up in the actions of criminal elements. They existed on both sides of the divide.

    If groups where living on the livestock of settlers, yes, I imagine they did try to move them on. You might call it ‘a clash of cultures’.


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  12. The States had differing Enlistment criteria during WW1

    For the Australian Imperial Force?
    I assume you can backup that statement, otherwise you’re bullshiting.

    It’s accepted fact, try to be serious.


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  13. Notwithstanding, ‘dispersion’ is different to ‘eradication’, and that’s what’s being sold. And let’s not get tied up in the actions of criminal elements. They existed on both sides of the divide.

    You’re pettifogging again.


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  14. This indeed is “the era of stupid”, as someone said recently. But it is far far worse than that. The effort that Mater has gone to in order to illustrate the distortion and lack of concern for truth in the “dispossession” narrative illustrates the the depth of the problem.

    Last night we had to endure the embarrassing silliness in the salute to the Aboriginal community in the second Rugby Test against England. It was just nonsense. Feathers and weird paint that we have never seen in any of the old photographs of indigenous ceremonies. And the national anthem sung in some dialect which is, if anything, particular to one small group!

    What depths of stupidity and ignorance we have plumbed!


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  15. Mater, you really shouldn’t let idiots provoke you.

    There’s method in the madness, Angus.
    It gives me an opportunity to present more facts to the wider audience.

    Eg. People are now seeing the instructions to Arthur Phillip, which many may not have previously seen.

    Ed’s just a vehicle. A useful idiot, to quote a tyrant.


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  16. Even if true,
    So you accept that it is true?

    … hardly the point when the narrative being sold is that the NATION had a discriminatory recruiting policy.

    What’s your issue here?
    Enlistment was in the State the volunteer happened to be in at the time, there were 6 States [though Tasmania’s Colonial Government had sent sealed Orders to Disperse the Tasmanian Aborigines in 1835, so Tassie didn’t need any criteria, since they had extincted their Abos long before]
    and the States had different criteria for accepting Aboriginal/part Aboriginal volunteers.


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  17. Here ya go, Vicki.
    Feathers, weird paint, and according to the text accompanying the last photograph, men only ceremonies had considerably weirder feather arrangements.
    Keep in mind that this is the Arrente, a patrilineal descent Tribe, other of the 600 or so Tribes may have had markedly different costumery.


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  18. I’m so old* I was taught in modern history that the army was the first Australian institution where racial equality prevailed. I remember a WWII era photo of an indigenous NCO with his white section members boarding a train, presumably heading north.

    *Not that old really, but there’s been so much re-writing of history since I went to school it feels like I come from another time.


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  19. The truth is, far from being racist, this is the sort of positive discrimination which is so often applauded by the Left in 2022.

    Pettifogging on steroids.
    Who cares if it was “racist” [a Term invented by Trotskyites]?
    It was discriminatory, and if you did some research yourself, you might find that the reasons were valid for their time but not PC now.

    Essentially, Aboriginals had the freedom to join, but no obligation (perhaps out of respect for their culture).
    You’ve either got no idea or you’re pretending to have no idea.
    If Aborigines/part aborigines were knocked back in one State, they might be accepted in another State.
    Acceptance may have been as easy as walking 2 miles across a Border.

    In any case, volunteerism dried up once the limbless Gallipoli veterans began disembarking, so restrictions were eased in the States that had discouraged Aboriginal enlistment.


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  20. I was taught in modern history that the army was the first Australian institution where racial equality prevailed.

    What does that statement even mean?
    New Zealand had the Maori Battalion, but they were separated by Tribe, since many of the Tribes were enemies of one another.
    The Maori had requested that this happen.
    Clearly there were never enough Aboriginal Volunteers in any State to form a Battalion, so where else were they going to go except where all the other volunteers went?


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  21. I’m so old* I was taught in modern history that the army was the first Australian institution where racial equality prevailed.

    One of the local indigenous – gone to God now – served in North Africa – infantry -Tobruk and El Alamein. On his return to Australia he was refused service in a local pub – the nearest to the camp, and was doing a roaring trade. The soldiers from the camp boycotted the pub, and the unit commander laid on transport to another establishment who was quite prepared to serve indigenous soldiers.


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  22. Ed,
    A link to your State based enlistment criteria please otherwise I call bullshit.

    While volunteers were enlisted in battalions based in the various states the only criteria I can find were national –
    1. height (originally 5’6, later 5’2)
    2. no glasses(later relaxed for Army Service Corps),
    3. in good health, and
    4. without 2 particular tattoos (‘BC’ and ‘D’ which were British Army standing bad conduct and deserter respectively).


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  23. Ed Casesays:
    July 10, 2022 at 7:55 am
    Is being ‘exempted’ from compulsory service the same as being ‘excluded’ from service?

    You’re pettifogging.
    The States had differing Enlistment criteria during WW1 and the criteria wasn’t always followed to the letter anyway.

    Dickless

    Witless even by your low standards. The states (then colonies) might have set their own standards for enlistment during the (pre-Federation part of the) Boer War, but the Commonwealth, under the Defence Act, set the standards for WW I. Idiot.


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  24. Ed Casesays:
    July 10, 2022 at 8:38 am
    The States had differing Enlistment criteria during WW1

    For the Australian Imperial Force?
    I assume you can backup that statement, otherwise you’re bullshiting.

    It’s accepted fact, try to be serious.

    Then providing a reference to prove this “accepted fact” should be easy. Go to it.


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  25. Ed,
    A link to your State based enlistment criteria please otherwise I call bullshit.

    Hey, it’s a free Country, call it what you like.

    Here’s the thing:
    That the State’s had varying criteria for Aboriginal/part Aboriginal Enlistment isn’t in dispute.
    Now, you can fire RFIs at me all day long to avoid discussing the issue, same as Mater has done, and that’s okay, because …
    hey, it’s still[?] a free Country, right?


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  26. It will be the reverse of stolen generations. The charge will be that we were heartless people who knew what was happening to aboriginal women and children and did nothing. How could we turn a blind eye when we were urged to act by all the advertising in public places? Our generations will be accused of the grossest hypocrisy.

    Guilty as charged.


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  27. Dick Ed,
    One teeny tiny shred of evidence. Your Google Fu is obviously better than mine as I cannot find anything. If it is soooooo fucking easy , you could have provided the link in less time than it has taken you to argue that it exists.


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  28. One of the local indigenous – gone to God now – served in North Africa – infantry -Tobruk and El Alamein. On his return to Australia he was refused service in a local pub – the nearest to the camp, and was doing a roaring trade.

    So he was a “good” Aborigine because of his War Service?
    Here’s the reality, which you should know, but apparently don’t:
    If the Licensee had served him, other Abos in the town would’ve learned about it and demanded Service, citing Discrimination.
    And they would’ve been on solid ground morally.
    Admit them, and pretty soon the pub is overrun by Abos and Gin Jockeys and all your customers go elsewhere.
    Can you see how that works?
    If you’re not consistent with Aborigines, they’ll march over the top of you.


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  29. Dick Ed,
    One teeny tiny shred of evidence. Your Google Fu is obviously better than mine as I cannot find anything. If it is soooooo fucking easy , you could have provided the link in less time than it has taken you to argue that it exists.

    You’ve descended into Ad Hominem, it didn’t take long.
    You still want me to take you seriously though, is that it?


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  30. Mater

    Is being ‘exempted’ from compulsory service the same as being ‘excluded’ from service?

    A couple of minor “factoids”.

    The first soldier killed in the 47th Battalion (Queensland and Tasmania) was Billy Esdale, an aboriginal from Normanby. The last was William Zornig, a first generation Australian of German ancestry, killed by German MG fire as he attempted to rescue the pilot of a British aircraft crashed in No-Man’s-Land.


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  31. If one culture farms sheep, and the other kills and eats any animals it encounters, yes, it’s a clash of cultures.

    If one culture farms sheep, and the other is in the habit of breaking the legs of said sheep – anywhere up to hundreds on occasion – for late killing and consumption, as happened in Victoria – yes, it’s a clash of cultures.


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  32. Try parsing it first.

    Meaning should follow.

    You were taught this…right?

    Ha ha.
    But you weren’t, right?
    Because, what Mater is implying/inferring/gaslighting/shitposting is that
    yeah, white Australians would be Racists [and slated for destruction] if all these things are true, but his pathetic Pettifogging and SecondGuessing of State and Federal Government motives from more than a Century ago prove the reverse, so nothing to see here, move along.


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  33. So he was a “good” Aborigine because of his War Service?

    He was a soldier, in his country’s uniform, returned from active service?


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  34. The first soldier killed in the 47th Battalion (Queensland and Tasmania) was Billy Esdale, an aboriginal from Normanby.

    Not disputing that at all, I never realised that Esdale is an Aboriginal surname.
    Just my opinion, but I reckon i’m right:
    If every person in Queensland that had some Aboriginal Ancestry was counted, they mightn’t be a majority, but they’d be the largest Minority Group in the State.


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  35. He was a soldier, in his country’s uniform, returned from active service?

    Sure, and his mates took their custom elsewhere, and the Licensee stood up for his interests and those of his regular customers.
    Sounds like both parties behaved honourably.

    By the way, what if the Aborigine in question had been in
    the VDC uniform [Dad’s Army], would he still have been entitled to demand service?
    What about if he wasn’t in the Army at all, but was a civilian cook at an Army Camp at the time?


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  36. Ed Casesays:
    July 10, 2022 at 10:29 am
    The first soldier killed in the 47th Battalion (Queensland and Tasmania) was Billy Esdale, an aboriginal from Normanby.

    Not disputing that at all, I never realised that Esdale is an Aboriginal surname.

    Tell us again, what was the surname of the aboriginal fighter pilot whom you were using to make some kind of point a couple of weeks ago? Was it a traditional aboriginal surname?

    Then there was Reg Saunders. You didn’t seem to want to know about him.

    What is your issue with aborigines?


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  37. By the way, what if the Aborigine in question had been in
    the VDC uniform [Dad’s Army], would he still have been entitled to demand service?
    What about if he wasn’t in the Army at all, but was a civilian cook at an Army Camp at the time?

    He wasn’t so what’s your point?


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  38. I’m so old* I was taught in modern history that the army was the first Australian institution where racial equality prevailed. I remember a WWII era photo of an indigenous NCO with his white section members boarding a train, presumably heading north.

    Somewhere, I have a photo of a company? – not sure what the group descriptor is – that one of the other half’s grandfather’s served in during WWI. The GF is sitting next to his best friend – an aborigine – and they’re both sitting in the middle of the group.

    p.s. Mater, another great piece.


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  39. Ed @9am:

    Thanks Ed. Haven’t see the Spencer stuff for a long while – fascinating to recall, & fabulous photos.

    But they don’t negate my objections to the Rugby nonsense last night. The feathers & costuming of our football troupe was nothing like the the photos – though, yes, the tribal group were from the central desert.

    Ed, the difference is striking – really. The ceremonial body paint of those guys from central Australia is clearly strongly drawn according to traditional custom. The Rugby paint – well – did you actually see it?

    Many many years ago I saw a group of young Aboriginal men
    dance – not sacred, but some dance acceptable for a white audience. It was mesmerising – particularly the amazing imitation of animals. Modern urban renditions by overweight Aboriginal men is nothing like what I saw. The same applies to the Rugby fiasco.


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  40. Zulu Kilo Two Alphasays:
    July 10, 2022 at 11:08 am
    If you’re not consistent with Aborigines, they’ll march over the top of you.

    Ek sê, baas, het jou sambok byderhand?

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    Ed Casesays:
    July 10, 2022 at 11:11 am
    Huh?

    Google it, Dickless, but any reasonably educated person can work it out.


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  41. A quick bit of Oz military histroy.

    Before WW1 the “standing forces” in Oz were minuscule; MUCH more so than even today.

    The “Satete” militia units wre STILL ALLL volunteer units and “community based>

    This did not stop them beinf beefed up and sent into the meat grinder.

    Brisbane still hosts the (th Battallion, Royal QUEENSLAND Regiment. Their Motto?

    “FIRST ASHORE”.

    Why.

    They were the poor bastards to wade into the Turkish gunfire and water.

    My grandfather was in another similar Brisbane Battallion, the 26th; He did a stint as a reinforcement at Gallipoli, then off on the “sight-seeing tour od the Weatern Front. Bullets and bombs seened to avoid him; not so “the FLU”, the one that became the “Spanish” flu and which slaughtered more people globally than the First Great Unpleasantness. He and all of his comrades were VOLUNTEERS. For those that care, the 26th was the unit that captured and “liberated” the German A7V tank now in the Queensland Museum. The AWM ahs been trying to finagle it away to Canberra for years, fortunately without success.

    The AWM was instigated by the Australian PUBLIC, not sme snivelling bureaucrat. They ran all manner of fund-raising activities, including selling LOTS of German equipment and militaria hauled home as “war booty”. A brows through the back pages of a 1920’s AWM booklet lists all manner of stuff; my brother is the family keeper of an ex-AWM German Stahlhelm that had been advertised and used as a pot-plant hanger. The lining was gone, but with a little care it was made externally presentable.

    My first visit to the place was in 1974, when there was a vast array of weapons, uniforms, trench art, dioramas, etc. on display. Thirteen years later, I dropped in again. The “peace-niks” had gutted the place.

    “Art-works, “interpretive centres” etc. clogged the joint.

    I have not been back since.

    Oz went around again in the Next Great Unpleasantness. Interestingly, Australian Militia forces formed the initial “buffer” against all comers. Grandads old 26th was re-raised and sent to …..Malaya. This did not end well for many of those blokes. I used to know two survivors of that fiasco; both now gone. One was a pre-war Militia Light-Horseman who ended up caught on Singapore. Sent to build a railway through the mountains near a place called Kanchanaburi. Survived that and was sent to different labour camp , then loaded on one of several ships bound for Japan itself. Because the Japanese did not see fit to mark their prison ships or even escort them, a significant number went to the bottom courtesy of the rather efficient US Navy submarine fleet. His ship was hit and the prisoners rioted, and started to abandon ship. Their Japanese merchant Navy keepers were apparently non-swimmers.. A few days later they were picked up by a passing Japanese warship, transferred to another target and eventually made it to the lovely port of Hiroshima.

    Here, he and his comrades were sent to labour on the docks. Many of them were down in the holds of ships unloading cargo when the “Enola Gay” arrived overhead. Suddenly everything changed. The locals seemed to lose interest in proceedings, so a bunch of Oz, Kiwi, Brit and US troops who had a suitable trade, took over the railway system and started ferrying food, water, injured, etc, around what could be recovered of the rail system in the region. Then, shortly afterwards, the harbour was full of big, grey ships and all this military diaspora started going home.

    It is common lore that most of these old diggers never wanted to talk about their experiences, especially the unpleasant ones. I suspect part of that reticence was a feeling that nobody wanted to hear the same stuff over and over.


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  42. It is common lore that most of these old diggers never wanted to talk about their experiences, especially the unpleasant ones.

    More that there was no one to tell it to.
    A bloke can’t go burdening his family with that sort of stuff.
    Unless he’s a psychopath.


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  43. Brucesays:
    July 10, 2022 at 3:03 pm
    A quick bit of Oz military histroy.

    Before WW1 the “standing forces” in Oz were minuscule; MUCH more so than even today.

    The “Satete” militia units wre STILL ALLL volunteer units and “community based>

    The state militia units were taken over by the Commonwealth after Federation. A system of compulsory military service (Junior Cadets, Senior Cadets, then Militia) was introduced after 1911.


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  44. Ed Casesays:
    July 10, 2022 at 3:34 pm
    It is common lore that most of these old diggers never wanted to talk about their experiences, especially the unpleasant ones.

    More that there was no one to tell it to.
    A bloke can’t go burdening his family with that sort of stuff.

    Unless he’s a psychopath.

    Dickless has never heard of the (then) RSSAILA.


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  45. New Zealand had the Maori Battalion, but they were separated by Tribe, since many of the Tribes were enemies of one another.

    Hopefully a unit of one tribe never had to provide critical support to another.


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  46. It is common lore that most of these old diggers never wanted to talk about their experiences, especially the unpleasant ones.

    Having been there myself, let me observe that the ‘dont talk about it’ phenomenon stems from the following:

    1) If you were there, you understand, so we dont need to discuss it
    2) If you were not there, you CANNOT understand, so again we dont need to discuss it.

    As an example: I spent about 20 days in ACEH after the tsunami – we worked 16 hour days in broken buildings in brutal humidity, chopping off legs with hardware tools, using Ketamine anaesthesia that resulted in the patients singing, spitting and screaming. We had 2 patients per OR and couldnt communicate with them due to the language barrier – we would just take them into the OR, remove their bandages and do what was needed. Every day there were mulitple aftershocks in the ‘7’ range and if you did manage to get outside for a walk, the smell of death was everywhere – as were the bodies and body bags – they were carting them off to the local oval in dump trucks then burying them with excavators.

    When I got home, the usual question was ‘so, what was it like?’

    Where do you even begin to answer a question like that?


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  47. The plotline just needs to include exposure of the sheeps to radiation or other mad perfesser stuff. The sheeps then grow to five times their regular size and develop a bad attitude.

    The kiwi schlock horror flick Blacksheep was pretty good, and culturally accurate, right down to the love scene.


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  48. And the one that personally annoys me? The over attribution of indigenous service in any Australian wartime theatre. Awesomeness and kudos for those that did serve, but reading some articles written recently, would have you believe that representation of indigenous people was multiple magnitudes of order over above reality. Unrelated to actual war-service, but I remember I went camping in the NT in a remote NP called Davenport. Near the waterholes there there is NP signage showing a particular indigenous lady fossicking for tungsten. The way it read, this lady supplied the entire war effort with its tungsten requirements, and if it weren’t for her we would all be speaking Japanese today. Her fossicking for tungsten was a good thing, again, kudos and awesomeness – my problem isn’t with the individuals that chipped in, its the fairytale like, over-wrought and way over the top effusive descriptions of the effort and contributions actually made compared to the fantasy conjured up by revisionists that annoys me. And yes, I get that my being annoyed with this stuff is a first world problem, but if seeking genuine respect and acknowledge, don’t bullshit so much! How many indigenous actually served in WWI or WWII? My guess its unlikely that number would reach four digits, combined.


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  49. And, speaking of the “Spanish Flu”:

    Total misnomer.

    It actually came from China. As the carnage continued unabated, some clever lad in England decided that the steady attrition in the trenches could be nicely filled by repurposing loyal subject manual labourers into canon-fodder.

    The hitch was to find some other poor bastards to do all the rear-echelon civil engineering required to build and maintain the logistics system. As a certain wise British general of later Gulf War fame dryly noted in a briefing:

    “Amateurs talk tactics; professionals talk LOGISTICS”.

    Britain, having a few connections in Asia, simply offered the King’s Shilling to a whole lot of prospective labourers in China, and they were off to the races. Just sweep them up and ship them out. One big catch: most of these new hires had considerable genetic history with some seriously nasty diseases. Only the toughest survived life in general. Pre-embarkation medical screening was probably a little lax, as well.

    Out of the Petri dish and into the fire.

    The USA, who joined the fray a bit late in the piece, shipped over hundreds of thousands of fit young men who had grown up in an almost sterile environment, especially those from the mid-western states. They were hit really hard when the “Flu” got amongst them. NOBODY really knew what this thing really was, so the cot cases were merrily bounced off the firing line, through England and back to military hospitals in the US. The result was as one would expect.

    There were several “relapses” of nasty Flu outbreaks in the US and elsewhere after that; one in the 1950s and a notable one that conveniently coincided with the “Summer of Love” 1968. Woodstock was, apparently a “super-spreader” event: Mud, sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll and all the viral load you can handle.

    Just for giggles: Polio is back, as is Leprosy.

    The future is about to get way more interesting than I would like.


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  50. Polio never went away, it was just labeled differently for PC reasons.
    Leprosy [Hansens Disease] used to be not uncommon among Aborigines in Queensland, there was a Leprosarium on Peel Island in Moreton Bay, durin WW2 the inmates were transferred to one of the islands in the Palm Group [not Palm Island or Orpheus Island].
    Sufferers also stayed at huts that were along the entrance to the PA Hospital.


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  51. . As a certain wise British general of later Gulf War fame dryly noted in a briefing:

    “Amateurs talk tactics; professionals talk LOGISTICS”.

    Here was I thinking the speaker was the American General Omar Bradley.


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