But you are Effluential Kim!

For those of you who don’t know – or who’ve forgotten – Scott Wickstein is taking your entries, under the heading, The Ten Most Influential Australians Of the 20th Century over at his place. He’s going to be collating them tonight and plans to publish the outcome tomorrow. Thought I’d throw my 10 up here in a no doubt fruitless bid to evade detection as a Troppo posting shirker over the last day or so

Alfred Deakin

Nation builder, visionary. Turned the idea of Commonwealth into a functioning reality.

John Curtin

Flawed alcoholic, depressive self-deprecating battler whose courageous, can-do leadership as Prime Minister through years of unprecedented crisis, mark him out as perhaps our greatest political leader.

Gough Whitlam

Presided over an inept political administration but did so with a style, panache and confidence that defined an era, and re-defined our sense of and confidence in – ourselves.

Archbishop Daniel Mannix

Roman Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne 1917-63

An uncompromising Irish theocrat who held Australian Catholicism in his thrall
– and delivered it politically – for nearly half a century. His death in 1963 coincided with Vatican II and presaged a new era in which the rigid sectarianism over which he had presided, evaporated as a force in Australian society and politics in a generation. Fervent foe of conscription during WWI; facilitated the rise of Bob Santamaria and the DLP.

Lowitja O’Donoghue

First Chair of ATSIC and “Mother” of the modern Aboriginal rights movement.
Thinker, doer, achiever.

Charles Perkins

First aboriginal graduate. Prime aboriginal stirrer. Basically co-founded aboriginal activism in the 60’s by aligning the lessons of the US Civil Rights movement to the Australian environment. Fearless, OTT, bloody-minded, determined, relentless.

Manning Clark

Our greatest historian to date, whose 6 volume History of Australia reflected Settlement back to ourselves in ways that Ninian Stephen platitudes never could or would. As a kid, he made history “real” for me. Never mind the dodgy politics, he’s my personal hero.

The Post-War Migrant

Simply, rebuilt, reinvigorated and created a new sense of Australia and Australian destiny – in one generation.

Henry Lawson/Andrew Patterson

Jointly created the myth of the town-based but bush-hearted Aussie.
The laconic, piss-taking, irreverent icon that emerges, forged with the
ANZAC legend, provided the classic “Australian” frame of reference for much of the century.

The Murdochs

Keith and Rupert, as a double act, pretty much bookend the Australian media 20th Century from trench reporting at Gallipoli to, well, your Total World Domination.

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wen
wen
2022 years ago

Patterson & Lawson, Geoff!
An’ here’s me thinking that the battle’s still raging …. mythmaker & debunker together.
I dips me hat.

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2022 years ago

How about Howard Florey? By discovering penicillin, he saved millions of lives. I think that makes him pretty influential, as these things go.

wen
wen
2022 years ago

should be Paterson

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

I agree Dave – you should put him on your list and fire it in to Scott. These things are more a case of exclusion than inclusion ultimately. I could have had Menzies, Hawke, Barry Humphries, Weary Dunlop, Gus Nossal, Joan Sutherland, Norman Lindsay, Sidney Nolan, Robert Helpmann, Nugget Coombs, Billy Hughes, Mason CJ, Dixon CJ, Tom Keneally, Judith Wright, Peter Weir, Don Bradman, Baz Luhrmann, Roy Cazaly, Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert….the list goes on.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

wen – there’s a case for either of them of course.
But we could ignite a debate here that would make the ferocity of Windschuttling look like Ikebana classes….

wen
wen
2022 years ago

no, no – it was the spelling – one ‘t’ in Banjo.

I think you’re right to choose them both (tho’ speaking purely literarily, rather than over-all contribution – would favour Lawson – his short stories being up there with Tchekov, Mansfield, etc. )

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

Yep I think he was the sounder talent. Were it not for bloody ‘Waltzing Matilda’ I think it would be no contest – in Lawson’s favour. Henry Lawson actually has more appeal for me personally as well – kind of a romantic loser….

He also got the biggest crown turn-out in Oxford St’s history (apart from Mardi Gras) albeit that it was to observe his funeral procession …

Gummo Trotsky
2022 years ago

I think we can chalk Banjo’s popularity up to the fact that he gave us a fairly comfortable and relaxed literary version of the bush, populated by romantic heroes like “The Man from Snowy River” and “Clancy of the Overflow” and folksy comic characters like “The Man From Ironbark”. Lawson’s grittier and more realistic presentation of the bush just doesn’t cut it as a fitting literary record of our heroic nation-building forebears.

wen
wen
2022 years ago

But weren’t those musical versions of Banjo’s poems (early eighties?) good fun!

For real ‘grit’ you can’t go past Barbara Baynton’s Bush Studies – makes Lawson’s outback experiences look positively cheery.

Gianna
2022 years ago

ah, Kath & Kim….how funny is that show?

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

Well you can of course read “Snowy River” on a number of different planes Gummo. The wiry, young outsider on his raggedy-arsed brumby taking on the big boys and winning is a kind of allegory for the nascent Australia in the world, while “and alone and unassisted brought them back” is almost Vanstonian in it’s testimony to rugged self-reliance…..

wen
wen
2022 years ago

And where would we be without Sigrid Thornton?

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

Surely she hasn’t left us wen?

matt
2022 years ago

I’d pick Paterson, on the basis of “Clancy of the Overflow” alone. It is THE Australia poem. I think it, more than any other single work of literature or art, encapsulates the essence of the Australian experience – a nation of city-dwellers staring out office windows to the vast space beyond. It both establishes and debunks the bush myth in eight stanzas.

“And the hurrying people daunt me, and their pallid faces haunt me
As they shoulder one another in their rush and nervous haste,
With their eager eyes and greedy, and their stunted forms and weedy,
For townsfolk have no time to grow; they have no time to waste.

And I somehow rather fancy that I’d like to change with Clancy,
Like to take a turn at droving where the seasons come and go,
While he faced the round eternal of the cashbook and the journal –
But I doubt he’d suit the office, Clancy, of “The Overflow”.”

Tim
Tim
2022 years ago

Oh bollocks, Matt ;-) Not only do “city people” not resemble Paterson’s caricature, they are not staring out the window thinking about the bush, but the beach. The great liberating fantasy of the Australian imagination is the coast, not the Bush – the road to surfdom, if you will.

Lawson wins hands down for all the reasons people have already stated.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Tim,

You’ve got a point, but so has Matt. The whole country and western “boot scootin'” Tamworth Country Music festival thing is all about reclaiming imagined bush roots, even if most of them are in Nashville, Tennessee rather than back o’ Bourke.

There’s also the huge and quite extraordinary procession of recently retired people who wend their way through inland Australia every year in caravans and campervans of every type imaginable, again looking to reclaim the outback heritage of the rugged bushman.

The fact that the “seachange” fantasy is very real, especially among overworked, stressed yuppies, doesn’t deny the power of bush dreaming as a real cultural phenomenon.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

You may be imagining bush roots Ken. I recall mine vividly.

And I’m not sure that you enhance your case by invoking the spectre of a whole bunch of caravanning, be-fringed suburbanites – with an unnatural interest in ‘bootscootin – heading to Tamworth in search of Clancy of the Overflow, or Tammy Wynette. Faced with that terrifying prospect, Clancy, Henry and I would all be with Tim and Sigrid on a headlong dash down the Road to Surfdom

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Geoff,

I’m a creature of comfort.Bush roots and the coastal variety are equally unappealing. Sand and friction can be a painful combination, I found.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

I would have nominated Henry, except that most of his good work was done in the 19th century, such as this extract:

But, ah! to dreader things than these our fair young city comes,
For in its heart are growing thick the filthy dens and slums,
Where human forms shall rot away in sties for swine unmeet,
And ghostly faces shall be seen unfit for any street
Rotting out, rotting out,
For the lack of air and meat
In dens of vice and horror that are hidden from the street.

I wonder would the apathy of wealthy men endure
Were all their windows level with the faces of the Poor?
Ah! Mammon’s slaves, your knees shall knock, your hearts in terror beat,
When God demands a reason for the sorrows of the street,
The wrong things and the bad things
And the sad things that we meet
In the filthy lane and alley, and the cruel, heartless street.

I left the dreadful corner where the steps are never still,
And sought another window overlooking gorge and hill;
But when the night came dreary with the driving rain and sleet,
They haunted me the shadows of those faces in the street,
Flitting by, flitting by,
Flitting by with noiseless feet,
And with cheeks but little paler than the real ones in the street.

Once I cried: ‘Oh, God Almighty! if Thy might doth still endure,
Now show me in a vision for the wrongs of Earth a cure.’
And, lo! with shops all shuttered I beheld a city’s street,
And in the warning distance heard the tramp of many feet,
Coming near, coming near,
To a drum’s dull distant beat,
And soon I saw the army that was marching down the street.

Then, like a swollen river that has broken bank and wall,
The human flood came pouring with the red flags over all,
And kindled eyes all blazing bright with revolution’s heat,
And flashing swords reflecting rigid faces in the street.
Pouring on, pouring on,
To a drum’s loud threatening beat,
And the war-hymns and the cheering of the people in the street.

Scott Wickstein
2022 years ago

All the votes are in guys come over and check it out. Thanks to everyone that participated.

Gianna
2022 years ago

City people do so dream of the bush, Tim! Okay, so maybe it’s coastal bush…

Stewart Kelly
Stewart Kelly
2022 years ago

As a guy I dream of bush all day.

wen
wen
2022 years ago

What a wonderful thing – to revive a hundred year old argument!

Now – what about this female suffrage idea?

mark
2022 years ago

Bad idea. Just ask Miranda Devine.

matt
2022 years ago

Oh bollocks to you too Tim. :)

Remember that up until recently Paterson’s collection of poems was the biggest selling publication in Australian history: written for city-slickers, bought by city-slickers.

I think the beach as part of the Australian mindset comes mcuh later. Remember that for almost half our history we haven’t been allowed near a beach. The idea of actually going to a beach, taking your togs off and jumping in the ocean is a purely 20th C invention.

And let me tell you, if you’re in an office in Melbourne, you sure aren’t thinking of the beach. :)

I’m might be a bit biased though. I grew up inland, and then moved to the coast. I look back over my shoulder …

cs
cs
2022 years ago

I’m into deserts myself … deserts and beaches … must be a sand thing.

slatts
slatts
2022 years ago

Geoff, here’s my favourite poem about two well-known Australians — on of them destined for greatness:
Noon and heat: Jerilderie. Dust drifts like sheep.
A crow swears high behind a boy’s left shoulder,
then slides offensiveness glissando down to silence.
“What’s your name, my boy?” The presence, and quesion, commanding.
In the time it takes to take one’s time to speak,
Edward Kelly dismounted around his chestnut mare,
and bridle in hand, presented it to the lad.
“Jackie MOnash, Sir”, looking up at up and eyes
and beard and breadth; two smiles refresh the day.
He grips the bridle in his right, without needing to look,
and runs his left along the horse’s neck.
“Her name is ‘Mirth'”, the big man says, talking down
without talking down, “can you hold her half an hour?”
and tapping his horse’s flank at K reversed on E,
he turns to attend to letter, bank and myth.
“Ned Kelly”, he said, shaking then filling the child’s hand.
Jackie spent the shilling; could never spend the story.

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