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AUSTRALIA AND WAR.

COMMON-SENSE PATRIOTISM

An interesting appreciation of Australia’s attitude at the outbreak of war is contributed to the London ‘Times’ by Sic Charles Lucas, who attended the meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. He writes: So far os 1 read and heard and soar in Australia there was no violent outbreak of anti-German feeling, little that was boastful or bombastic. Yet. none the less, but rather the more, there was sober, serious and willing participation with the Mother Country in time of trouble. The standard of the leading newspapers in Australia is as high as anywhere in the world. Here, as elsewhere, the war producedbig headlines and sensational paragraphs, but the feneral tone of the first-class journals left iltle to be desired. A plain statement of the duty of Australia in regard to the war is given in the ‘Guide to the War.’ published by the Sydney ‘Daily Telegraph’ on August 20 : “We understand our share in it well enough; it is to keep Australia going with as'little hindrance to sound industry and local development as may be possible, so that the whole attention oi our administrators may be centred on providing the Mother Country with whatever troops, ships, foodstuffs, and other resources she may require. - ’ This common-sense patriotism seemed to bo the prevalent feeling. Australia must bo kept going, and the Mother Country must receive all. possible support, because Australia and the Mother Country stand or fall together. Hence Australia offered troops even before war was declared : Australian ships were placed under Admiralty control; the export of meat, wheat, and flonr to any place outside of the United Kingdom was prohibited except with the written consent of the Minister for Trade and Customs; and public authorities and private citizens worked as if war was at their own doors. On this main question political parties, churches, and classes all spoke with one voice. War funds seemed to be almost unduly multiplied: everywhere young men were joining the Force and pressing to go to the front: on all sides women were making clothing of one kind or another; a doctor in large practice in Melbourne was taking himself and his assistant at his own expense to the seat of tho war; pedigree horses were given for war * service: all seemed to be making some sacrifice, to ho giving time, money, work, or themselves. A visit to a camp—the camp Adelaide —confirmed the impression of steady, busi-ness-like organisation without fuss or flurry. It was well laid out and well ordered. Men of good physique and strong, serviceable horses wore in evidence, and surely there can be no more effective mounted men in tho world than the Australians from the country districts. Australia must feel very keenly the pinch of the- war. As has been said, ft has come at a time of exceptionally bad drought, when the country is already suffering severely and likely to suffer more, irrespective of tho war. A reference to the Official Year Book of the Commonwealth will show how greatly the trade between tho Commonwealth and the Continent of Europe has grown in the last 20 or 25 years, and what a large proportion of the increase consists of trade with Germany and Belgium, or rather the port of Antwerp, the chief Australian exports to those countries being wool and concentrates. For the time being this trade is necessarily non-existent, and the German ships which are lying idle in Australian ports are evidence not only of British sea supremacy, but also of tho closing of a large and valuable foreign market. On the other hand, it must be remembered that, over and above considerations which affect the whole British Empire, Australia and New Zealand have a very direct interest in the war, in view of German possessions and German trade in the Pacific. They have their own special share in the war, apart from their contribution to tho main contest, and may well feel that it *s worth paying a largo price to strengthen their own future position in the Pacific, which they rightly or wrongly considered had not been sufficiently safeguarded in tho ’eighties, when Germany entered upon the path of colonial expansion. When I left Australia I was reminded of the war by Australians in khaki who inspected tho coming and going of passengers by tho Morea at tne Sydney wharf and by the searchlights which played across the mouth of Melbourne harbor, I left not only with gratitude for personal kindness and courtesy as unbounded as I had found it to bo on a previous visit,' but also with pride that, as far as could be judged fiom a short stay of one month, a great crisis was being met in a spirit which contained nothing that was common or mean

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141212.2.62

Bibliographic details

AUSTRALIA AND WAR., Evening Star, Issue 15674, 12 December 1914

Word Count
803

AUSTRALIA AND WAR. Evening Star, Issue 15674, 12 December 1914

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