Although Australians may be descended from Convicts and other underclasses of the world, it seems the underclasses have some interesting things to say.
Never complain, never
explain personal motto of Kerry Packer - billionaire
determined soul will do more with a rusty monkey wrench than a loafer will accomplish
with all the tools in a machine shop Robert Hughes - art critic
Winning needs no explanation,
losing has no alibi Greg Baum - journalist
bigger the hat, the smaller the property - Australian
team will always beat a team of champions - Early Collingwood
Where there are
Torres Strait Islanders there is a community - Bill Stephens
I like villains because there's something so attractive about a committed person -- they have a plan, an ideology, no matter how twisted. They're motivated. Russel Crowe - actor
It's Australian to do such things because, however uncivilised they may seem, it's human to do them. Hugh Mackay
you're willing to have a go, fail miserably, and have another go, success won't
happen Phillip Adams - journalist
a leader you must celebrate life, you must celebrate success and paradoxically,
you must celebrate heroic failures Lieutenant General D.M.
All our best heroes are
losers Richard Glover - radio presenter
There are people who wish to draw attention to themselves by attacking me - Don Bradman - cricket player
Always back the horse named self-interest, son. It'll be the only one trying - Jack Lang - Labor premier
As a work of art, it reminds me of a long conversation between two drunks - Clive James
never seen anyone rehabilitated by punishment Henry Lawson - poet
The true Aussie
battler and his wife thrust doggedly onwards: starting again, failing again, implacably
thrusting towards success. For success, even if it is only the success of knowing
that one has tried to the utmost and never surrendered, is the target of every
Page & Robert Inapen - authors
the section cannot remain here alive, it will remain here dead, but in any case
it will remain here. Should any man through shell-shock or other cause attempt
to surrender, he will remain here dead. Lieutenant F.P. Bethune
(clergyman by trade)
It's dead easy to die; it's the keeping on living that's hard - Douglas Mawson - Scientist and polar survivor
You never want an Australian with his back against the wall. You put any 12 blokes together and you'll get a job done. Whether it's getting a bogged four-wheel-drive off the beach or standing in front of a cricket wicket and making sure we're in a dominant position. It's the same dog, different leg action, so to speak - Matthew Hayden - cricket player
service, nor obsequious homage to superiors, nor servile observance of forms and
customs...the Australian army is proof that individualism is the best and not
the worst foundation upon which to build up collective discipline - General
We are not so much as disillusioned but illusion free – Miranda Devine - journalist
May as well be here we
are as where we are -Australian Aboriginal saying
Platypus is a duck designed by a committee - anon
you know why I have credibility? Because I don't exude morality Bob
Hawke - Prime Minister
good crying over spilt milk; all we can do is bail up another cow Joseph
Chiefley - Prime Minister
The media loved him. Why? Because he was a great exemplar of the new morality - in which you are judged not by your own sins, but by how savagely you damn those of others Andrew Bolt - journalist
twentieth century has been characterized by three developments of great political
importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth
of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy
- Alex Carey
is both a vital medicine and a dangerous drug Geoffrey Blainey
When you play test
cricket, you don't give the Englishmen an inch. Play it tough, all the way. Grind
them into the dust Don Bradman - Cricket player
It is better to be defeated on principle than to win on lies Arthur
Calwell - Politician
If the guy
next to you is swearing like a wharfie he's probably a billionaire. Or, just conceivably,
a wharfie - Australian
A Man of Business
is one who becomes possessed of other people's money, without bringing himself
under the power of the law Marcus Clarke - historian
man may be a tough, concentrated, successful money-maker and never contribute
to his country anything more than a horrible example Robert
Menzies - Prime minister
best way to help the poor is not to become one of them Lang
Hancock - mining magnate
people need to lead and not sit there and think that governments are going to
spoon feed them Ian Kiernan - organiser of Clean up Australia
A wowser...is a man who, being entirely destitute of the greater virtues, makes up for their lack by a continuous denunciation of little vices. - William Holman MLA
is long accepted by the missionaries that morality is inversely proportional to
the amount of clothing people wore - Alex Carey
A wowser is...a person who is more shocked at seeing two inches of underskirt than a mountain of misery - John Scaddan, premier of Western Australia:
There is nothing so costly
to the state as a ruined life Catherine Spence - Social and
political reformer, writer and teacher
Shoot straight you bastards. Don't make a mess of it Harry
(Breaker) Morant - executed soldier and poet
The most intense hatreds are not between political
parties but within them Phillip Adams - journalist
The difference between a stupid man and a
wise one is the stupid man's inability to calculate the consequences of the action.
The same goes for government Brian Penton - journalist
The further left one travels, the more unhappiness you find - Janet Albrechtsen - journalist
Encourage your people to be committed to a project rather than just involved
in it. You know the difference between involvement and commitment don't you? In
a meal of bacon and eggs, the chicken is involved, the pig is committed Richard
Pratt - billionaire
will never acquire a national identity until individual Australians acquire identities
of their own Patrick White - author
admire not idealise Alice Swanson
lose dreaming are lost - Australian Aboriginal proverb
like the axe that's had two new blades and three new handles but otherwise is
just as it was when grandfather bought it - Australian proverb
law locks up the man who steals the goose from the common, but leaves the greater
criminal loose who steals the common from the goose - convict
If I had
a donkey What Wouldn't go, do you think I'd wallop him, oh dear no - convict
Why are people
so unkind? Kamahl - singer
gets tired of the role critics are supposed to have in this culture: It's like
being the piano player in a whorehouse; you don't have any control over the action
going on upstairs Robert Hughes - author and critic
they design ever gets in the way of a work of art Robert Hughes - author and critic
We want to create
a sort of linguistic Lourdes, where evil and misfortune are dispelled by a dip
in the waters of euphemism Robert Hughes -
author and critic
must not steal from dog - convict saying
is life Ned Kelly - bushranger
my lips teach the public that men are made mad by bad treatment, and if the police
are taught that they may exasperate to madness men they persecute and ill treat,
my life will not be entirely thrown away Ned Kelly -
do not pretend that I have led a blameless life, or that one fault justifies another,
but the public in judging a case like mine should remember that the darkest life
may now have a bright side Ned Kelly -
have outlived that care that curries public favour or dreads the public frown...let
the hand of law strike me down if it will, but I ask that my story be heard and
considered Ned Kelly - bushranger
you go out for a big night and by some misadventure you end up in a prison cell,
you can count on your best friend to bail
you out, but your best mate will be in there besides you Australian
in the bush, the tarred road always ends just after the house of the local mayor
- Australian observation
is nothing more Australian than spending time in somebody else's country - anon
queer country, so old that as you walk on and on, there's a feeling comes over
you that you are gone back to Genesis - Australian
mistakes the world for a penitentiary and themselves as the warden - Australian
cricket bat is mightier than the pen and the sword combined - anon
may be that your sole purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others -
our land, but in a way different from the white man. We endeavoured to live with
the land; they seemed to live off it Tom Dystra - Aboriginal
Some mistakes are too much
fun to only make once - anon
truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour - anon
Before you criticise someone, you
should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticise them, you're a
mile away and have their shoes - anon
Australian nation is a nation of blow-ins and we've got the lot here bog
Irish, reffos, dagos, wogs, slopes, you name it Bill Leak -
A fair go
for all, regardless of ethnicity, race, religion, except for Poms, Seppos and
Kiwis - anon
who came here in chains, who were lashed while they worked in convict gangs at
Port Arthur. They who like many others were driven through starvation or oppression
from their home-lands to the shores of this new country, Australia. They, who
for a multitude of reasons that hopefully, I or my children will never witness
or experience, decided not to harbour grudges or discontent but rather to look
to the future. They who embraced this country as their own and said; "let's
get on with it, this is a new land, this is our home. Dennis
O'Keeffe - Musician
What rugby league teaches you is that everything is temporary. The dead-set certainty is that there's adversity coming as well as success. You may as well make the most of it while you can. Matthew Elliott - football coach
I say to the young blokes, when you get asked for an autograph, don't knock it back because there'll be a time where no one will ask you Brett Kenny - footballer
wisdom of Errol Flynn
isn't what they say about you, it's what they whisper
am not biased against the rich because they are rich, but the most lively people
are those without money who would like to have some
I don't know who- it might have even been me- said, 'Any man at the age of twenty-five
who is not a Communist has no heart: any man who is still is at the age of thirty-five
has no head.'
indecency to man all over the world rules out the idea of humanity as an actuality.
It is a dream of young idealists. In practice a misnomer
crave the indulgence of my senses but this is countered by an interior desire
that is even keener than my senses to know the meaning of things
want faith; but I am faithless
enter a whorehouse with the same interest as I do the British museum or the Metropolitan
- in the same spirit of curiosity. Here are the works of man, here is an art of
man, here is the eternal pursuit of gold and pleasure. I couldn't be more sincere.
This doesn't mean that if I go to La Scala in Milan to hear Carmen I want to get
up on the stage and participate. I do not. Neither do I always participate in
a fine representative national whorehouse - but I must see it as a spectacle,
an offering, a symptom of a nation.
portray myself as wicked, hoping I will not be regarded as wicked. But I may be
wicked in the biblical sense
am on the side of the underdog except when I am on the side of the rich
is habit for me to discount myself before somebody else does it for me. Better
to get in the first lick
can never trust a human being to behave as you would have expected in a given
oyster a different taste?
they say I am inconsistent let them say it, for it is true, because inconsistency
is a part of living
am convinced of the validity of contradiction. There are many worlds. Each is
true, at its time, in its own fashion
is a mistake to think you cant be hurt if you don't care
is not always in
of a convict
is at first as natural as to eat. How readily children lay their little hands
upon every tempting article they see, until taught that it is not proper to do
clearly does the behaviour of that unlearned heathen prove that shame is an artificial
sentiment resulting from education alone; and that different communities measure
propriety, nay even right and wrong, by various standards established under the
operation of dissimilar circumstances.
the difficulty in disposing of criminals, and whether the production of so many
denote an unsound condition in the mother country, must now be determined by the
wiser heads now occupied with the subject. Nevertheless, one cannot help fancying
that the necessity for cure, in a certain measure, be economically superseded
Indeed I am not
certain that every individual in the two English Houses of Parliament would be
the worse for seven years, "lagging"; it would make practical men of
All the evil in his nature
(and who is without any) had been developed and nourished by harsh and cruel treatment,
kindling, perhaps, a revengeful feeling against all mankind - a feeling, often
the cause, in Australia at a future period, of the barbarous murder of innocent
Activity 1 – Origins of quotes
Activity purpose – Identifying how beliefs often flow from experience
Choose three quotes and find a real-life situation where the quote seems to have some relevancy.
Activity 2 – Quotes of your own
Activity purpose – Learning from life
- The following quotes were created after considering various issues in Australian history. In each category, add to the list with quotes of your own. In other words, create a moral of the story.
Although painful at the time, hardship has been good for Australia. Bushfires have brought communities together, droughts have made farmers more efficient, and the needless loss of life at Gallipoli made Australian soldiers more humane.
Something good eventually emerges from something bad. As a consequence, weaknesses often become strengths.
Australia's culture has always been characterised by someone trying to make rules to live by, and someone else trying to break them.
Australia's greatest strength is that a tradesmen and CEO can sit down at a pub, share a beer and learn from each other.
Australia’s biggest weakness is that footballers and artists don’t want to sit down with a beer (or chardonnay) and learn from each other.
You can't take a stand against indency when your trousers are around your ankles.
People around the world are 95% the same, but use the 5% of difference to define respective cultural identities. Effective cross-cultural relations requires that the 5% of difference be acknowledged and the 95% of commonality be kept in mind.
As long as a diversity of values exists, there will always be people criticizing those icons that are held up as the "model" that Australians should aspire to be like.
Supporting the underdog encourages all participants to believe in themselves and to do their best. Being represented by underdogs invariably results in something other than achievement.
The only symbols of relevance are built from the bottom up. Top-down symbolism has never persuaded Australians to fall in line. It has merely resulted in alienation.
Because poor decision making is an inevitable part of life, power must always be diversified so that one bad decision, or one bad ruler, doesn’t bring the whole ship down.
Symbolism is to government what diet coke is to a fat man that loves eating Big Macs.
You don’t need to treat a criminal, a terrorist, or a brain-dead hospital patient with dignity to respect their humanity, rather, you need to treat them with dignity to respect your own.
A race-based identity, even if it is a self-flagellating one, still leads to racial segmentation and the exclusion of others.
White society can not reconcile with black society until it has reconciled with itself.
If someone believes that the individual is not responsible for his or her social position in life, the only solution to the individual's problems is to control society and deny all individual choice. Therefore, denial of individual responsibility leds to totalitarianism.
The extent of free will is something psychologists have long debated, but the more it is denied, the more the possibility of it is taken away.
People who focus on rights usually have a weak sense of responsibility.
You can't expect Australians to respect other people's cultures if they are not raised to respect their own.
People who shit in their own nest do not smell like roses.
If an individual cares about the reputation of their community or their family, he or she will try to act in a way that brings their community or family respect.
Having an opinion is a lot like waving a flag. Those who agree with the opinion will like you. Those that diagree with the opinion will dislike you.
Victimising a people is an easy excuse to avoid learning anything about them.
Defining a people as victims is an easy excuse to avoid learning anything about them.
You can criticise people because you want to help them improve. You can also criticise people because you want to protect your ego. If you criticise for egotistical reasons, you are a bigot.
By implication, to define one group as "disadvantaged" is to define the "advantaged" group as the model all others should aspire to be like.
The community benefits when individuals contribute to it.
A strong community is better able to help individuals within it than is a weak community.
Every society, from a tribal group to superpower nation, needs to strike a balance between the needs of the group and the needs of the individual.
Although activists are needed to make a community strong, activists are more interested in telling others their opinion than hearing the opinion of others. As a consequence, a society with too many activists is an ignorant society.
Being different is easy. Doing something better than others is hard.
Although there is a positive side to creativity, too much creativity produces a dogs breakfast.
Having pride in a group means having pride in the achievements of someone other than yourself, and supporting someone other than yourself.
Culture = commonality + respect + refinement
Appropriating culture or ideas is a mark of respect.
Criticising others can protect the ego. Respecting others can be educational.
An artist's role is to ask questions in the logical, moral and emotional realms. An activist's role is to give answers in the logical, moral and emotional realms.
Art is a creation that displays higher human intelligence.
If having a dinner party, it is far better to copy someone else’s recipe for something that tastes delicious, than create your own recipe for something that is unique, but tastes like shit.
All morals, even if they are misguided, are exerted with the welfare of a community in mind. Amoral people are selfish.
The type of morals a society needs changes according to the operation of dissimilar circumstances.
Morality should be shared otherwise it has little value. There is little use in being the only honest person in a colony of thieves. Likewise, in line with the economic theory of the Prisoner's Dilemma, there is little use in staying silent in a police interview if your partner is going to blab. Either you conform people to your morality, or you conform to their's.
Being open-minded means considering new experiences, morals, and customs without excessive corruption by history. It also means having the confidence to embrace new things that are worthy of respect and criticising things that are not.
Although being apathetic is not the same as being open minded, but being apathetic can help social harmony.
Being tolerant is not the same as being respectful or being open minded. Being tolerant means putting one’s prejudices out of one’s mind or looking the other way. It doesn’t mean eliminating prejudices or learning something new.
As long as an ecosystem, community or political party has the diversity that makes it adaptive to change, everything will be ok.
The greater the productivity, the greater the diversity that can be sustained.
The Australian ecosystems in 1788 were as much human creations as golf courses are today.
Although it may be ideologically confronting to admit, a bio-diverse ecosystem that is adaptable to change is not one and the same as a pre-1788 ecosystem managed by a scientist receiving a government grant.
The media doesn’t inform. It stirs the red ants and the green ants into conflict, so it can give running commentary. Along the way, media consumers get an emotional workout and gain a feeling of belonging. They don't; however, become informed.
Although a myth might not be a fact, belief in a myth is a fact in itself.
Many supporters of Aborigines advocate a life for Aborigines that they do not want for themselves or for their own children. This would suggest they have violated the golden rule, which helps explain their failure to alleviate ‘disadvantage.’