Alan Bouch (30/6/1936 – 8/6/2021) was President of what is now the British Australian Community, from 1993 to 1996. This was a period of great difficulty for the BAC. Without Alan’s firm hand on the helm at that time our association would not exist today. But because of Alan’s vision and energy it was also a time of great expansion, when hundreds of fine new people joined as members.
Alan handed over the Presidency to Barrie Hunt in 1996, in order to concentrate on promoting the BAC on free-to-air radio. He then had a weekly program on Radio Port Phillip until ill-health prevented him from continuing.
Alan’s program was called “Northern Lights”, and this is the introduction that he used on December 25, 2009
During Alan’s association with 3RPP, that station broadcast a BAC commercial, written by Alan himself, several times a week. Here it is:
Alan’s radio program promoted British values at the deepest cultural, spiritual and aesthetic level. Here is an extract in which he discusses the practice of Wassailing:
Alan loved the work of the Old English scholar and novelist, JRR Tolkien, and at his funeral he was honoured with this extract from a Tolkien poem:
Unlike many people today, Alan’s life was devoted to the service of his people. Perhaps we shall never look upon his like again.
This article looks at a bit of English History, where we go back to 7th century, to the era known as the Dark Ages, to find the last Pagan Anglo-Saxon King, by the name of Penda. He was the and son of Pybba of Mercia, with an ancestry supposedly extending back to the Pagan Germanic All-Father God himself, Wōden. It was the time before even the famous story of Beowulf was written, and the common tongue throughout the lands controlled by the Anglo-Saxons was Old English. This was a language brought to England in the early 5th century by Anglo-Saxon settlers who came to the island of Great Britain and who were originally the Germanic tribes of the Angles, Saxons and Jutes. Penda was a great warrior-king from Mercia, who fought many battles, which led to the omnipotence of that particular kingdom in the English Midlands. Mercia repelled the impingement of Christianity for a long time, compared to some of the other seven Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms in England during that period (Sussex and the Isle of Wight held out a little bit longer).
Penda ruled Mercia from about 626AD until 655AD. He took over the Severn Valley in 628, following the Battle of Cirencester, and then defeated the great Northumbrian King Edwin at the Battle of Hatfield Chase in 633. Nine years later, Penda defeated and killed King Oswald (Edwin’s successor) at the Battle of Maserfield. After his victory at Maserfield, Penda was probably the most dominant of the Anglo-Saxon rulers of the time. Oswald’s death meant that Northumbria divided back into the two previous kingdoms of Bernicia and Deira making Mercia the dominant Anglo-Saxon Kingdom. Penda repeatedly defeated the East Angles and forced Cenwalh, the king of Wessex, into three years of exile. Sometime after 633 the two East Anglian kings, Sigebert and Egric, were both killed in battle by Penda. Throughout Penda’s reign war was waged continuously between the Mercians and the Bernicians of Northumbria.
Examples of what Anglo-Saxon warriors wore
Under Penda’s leadership and fighting prowess the Kingdom of Mercia was respected, hated, and feared by its enemies. Detailed accounts of Penda’s exploits can be found in Bede’s ‘Ecclesiastical History of the English People’, the ‘Anglo-Saxon Chronicle’ and (in the early 9th century) ‘Historia Brittonum’. Penda was known as the “most warlike man of the royal race of the Mercians” according to Bede. However, it should be mentioned that there would likely be a strong hint of bias against Penda in Bede’s writings, due to the long-standing Northumbrian animosity towards Mercia. It is theorised that Penda is mentioned, under the name of Panna ap Pyd, in the 7th century Welsh praise-poem ‘Marwnad Cynddylan’ with the line “when the son of Pyd requested, he was so ready!”
It is interesting to note, from a literary viewpoint, that J. R. R. Tolkien is one of many scholars who have studied and promoted the Mercian dialect of Old English. Tolkien included various Mercian terms in his legendarium, thus familiarising his readers with the Mercian language; this was principally in relation to the Kingdom of Rohan, which featured in his famous fantasy book series ‘The Lord of the Rings’. Not only is the language of Rohan actually derived from the Mercian dialect of Old English, but a number of its kings are given the same names as monarchs who appear in the Mercian royal lineage, such as Fréawine, Fréaláf and Éomer. Quite fittingly, just as in Tolkien’s wonderful fantasy stories of the Riders of Rohan in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, it would be easy to imagine a saga of Penda’s triumphs being told in Old English amongst the Mercian peoples throughout the Dark Ages.
Thirteen years after his glorious victory at Maserfield, and at the peak of his powers, Penda suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Oswald’s successor and brother, Oswiu, the king of Northumbria. It was here at the Battle of Winwaed in 655, that Penda was finally killed. Overall, Penda ruled the Mercians for 22 years with varying fortunes during his reign. Penda had his name given to a number of places in the West Midlands, including Pinbury, Peddimore, and Pinvin. Penda’s legacy not only lives on with place names and being known as the last great Pagan warrior-king among the Anglo-Saxons, but also his contribution to England endured linguistically through the Mercian dialect of Old English flourishing through the 8th to the 13th centuries, and more recently in the 20th Century, being preserved and endorsed by Tolkien. Penda was also portrayed in several movie/TV productions, including ‘Penda’s Fen’ (1974), ‘The Coming of the Cross’ (1975; an episode of ‘Churchill’s People’), and ‘Whiteblade’ (2016). The Mercian dialect of Old English was a vital cornerstone of our language. It was Penda’s expansion of the kingdom of Mercia, and the Mercian cultural influence that accompanied it, which provided one of the most important foundations for the eventual creation of the modern English language.
The British impact on Aussie music
© R. Furlan, 2012
The Swinging Sixties and British Musical DNA
The Swinging Sixties was a British cultural phenomenon – influencing fashion, dance, art and, most significantly, music. The sounds were vibrant, creative, compelling. This creative musical source emanated from a combination of the harmonies and lyrics of the Beatles, the guttural throb of the Rolling Stones and the Animals, the blues wail of the Yardbirds and the pop beat of the Pacemakers. At its peak, the Swinging Sixties British sound comprised a creative cacophony that surged in an unstoppable musical wave.
The impact of this British upsurge on Australian music was immediate and profound. It inspired many recent young British migrants in Australia to form their own bands and play vibrant music. While the music was imbued with a British beat, the singers and groups were often themselves literally imbued with a British heartbeat.
Young British migrants formed groups like The Bee Gees, the Phantoms, the Easybeats, the Loved Ones, the Purple Hearts, the Twilights, the Master’s Apprentices; the Aztecs, AC/DC and Cold Chisel, launching themselves like a tidal wave onto Australian and international music shores. British born singers like Frank Ifield, Olivia Newton-John, John Farnham, Jon English, Mike Brady, Billy Thorpe and Jimmy Barnes first emerged in Australia and many experienced international success. Collectively, these singers and groups defined Australian music.
While the Australian music scene did have an appreciation of American music, there were fewer adaptations of American musical style by Australian bands. Australia had no bands or songs that imitated the Byrds or the Doors. Most Australian bands comprised either British-born singers or were fundamentally influenced by the more powerfully creative elements of British music.
This led to British born singers and groups developing a musical style that defined Australian popular music. From the most popular Australian song (the Easybeats’ Friday on My Mind) to the most popular musical ‘anthems’ (Men at Work’s Down Under and Mike Brady’s Up There Cazaly) to the defining exposition of Australia’s most revered national song (Eric Bogles’ Waltzing Matilda, sung as a dirge), British born artists created the bedrock of Australian music.
Where did it all begin?
Skiffling to the Beat
It started with skiffle.
The music was basic, easy to play and, best of all, the instruments were cheap and accessible. These factors were critical in encouraging the formation of musical groups.
The original skiffle groups developed in Britain in the 1950s. A typical group had a core of three performers – one playing acoustic guitar; another playing a tea-chest bass and a third playing a household washboard. Later, drums and banjos were introduced, providing a more polished sound and backing beat.
The music was a contemporary derivation of folk, with a rhythmic beat, original lyrics and a singing guitarist. As skiffle evolved, it became known as beat music.
Lonnie Donegan and Tommy Steele were two of the best known skiffle singers of that period. The Glasgow-born Donegan’s musical roots were in jazz. Donegan’s signature hit, My Old Man’s A Dustman, was a typical skiffle tune, adapted from the much cruder and ruder Liverpudlian song, My Old Man’s A Fireman on the Elder-Dempster Line.
It’s been estimated that there were upwards of five thousand skiffle groups in Britain in the late 1950s. The Quarrymen, eventually to transform into the Beatles, were one such group, playing at the Cavern Club, the cellar venue in Liverpool’s Mathew St near Albert Dock, where they garnered an impressive local fan club.
Then came the Merseybeat explosion.
Scousers on the River
The Mersey River is Liverpool’s heartland, the journey’s end of Liverpool’s vibrant port. Sailors brought the latest American and European record releases to a city of eager kids who had just started to explore skiffle and beat music. This spurred a creative musical surge in the port city. Within a few years, skiffle had morphed into rhythm and blues and a unique sound was beginning to emerge – the Merseybeat.
Enhancing the beat sounds of their music, the Beatles popularised a songwriting technique based on their life experiences. Many of these songs were tinged with the rosy reflections of their Liverpool upbringing. Strawberry Fields, actually the location of a Salvation Army orphanage in Liverpool, was John Lennon’s ode to his Liverpool childhood. The B-side of this single, Penny Lane, was McCartney’s ode to his Liverpool childhood.
Memories of Liverpool also provided visual artistic inspiration. The collage album cover of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band depicted the features of Liverpool comedian Tommy Handley, the figure in a cloth cap next to Marilyn Monroe and Albert Stubbins, the legendary Liverpool footballer. Liverpool ‘mod’ fashion was as well known and as imitated as Carnaby St fashion. And the renowned Scouse wit and humour abounded. As John Lennon acknowledged “We came out of Liverpool and we reflected our background”. With the Beatles, however, Liverpool was a launching point.
By contrast, the upbeat bouncing music of Gerry & the Pacemakers, Billy J Kramer with the conspiratorial Do You want to know a secret? and the Searchers, with the jangling twin guitars of Needles and Pins and When you walk into the Room, made Liverpool a musical destination.
Gerard Marsden formed the Mars Bars in the early 1960s. He thought the chocolate company of the same name would see fit to sponsor the group but his music mustn’t have been to their taste as the company forced the band to change its name. Under its new incarnation, Gerry & the Pacemakers produced a steady output of high-energy, likeable pop songs with a particular Scouse flavour – I like It; Ferry Cross the Mersey– as well as signature sentimental songs like Don’t let the sun catch you crying and You’ll never walk alone. The iconic You’ll never walk alone (1963) was later adopted by the Liverpool FC as the club anthem.
Another Liverpudlian singer, Cilla Black (born Priscilla White) recorded her biggest hit with Anyone who had a heart in 1964, another booming Mersey sound single. The first song Black recorded, however, was a McCartney penned ballad – Love of the Loved, the result of a friendship developed in the Cavern Club, where both Black and the Beatles sang in the 1961-1963 period.
The language of the Liverpool music scene became embedded in popular culture – Scouse terms such as “fab”, and “gear” for clothes, “grotty” for dirty/unappealing; “shag” for the proverbial; and “y’know” as a catch-all phrase infiltrated and permanently subverted the Queen’s English.
Cosmopolitan London produced the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds, the Who, Cream; Manchester produced Herman’s Hermits; Newcastle produced The Animals and Belfast produced Them (Gloria) and the unique vocals of Van Morrison. None of these cities, however, fused musical and cultural attributes to the same extent as Liverpool.
It was inevitable that Liverpool groups and singers were also fashion trend-setters – from the Beatles’ hairstyles to the make-up of Dusty Springfield. It was also no coincidence that Lynne Randell, the Liverpool-born Australian singer, typified and popularised the desirable fashion look for Australian female teenagers.
Dedicated Followers of Fashion
Music spawned fashion in a broader cultural context – clothes; hairstyles; musical styles; innovations in eastern mysticism and the sexual/drug liberated atmosphere of swinging London.
The early sixties generation who were part of the burgeoning music scene in England were largely born in the mid to late 1940s. In parts of Britain, they were the first generation to experience the affluence of full employment and enjoyed relatively high earnings in localised economic booms (eg in London and Liverpool). The 1960s also provided an opportunity for young people to participate in an extended adolescence with greater scope for avenues of higher education. The permeation of mass media including TV, radio and music-oriented press publications provided the publicity and popularity that could generate a following and sustain a musical wave.
Discos and dance venues like the Mecca, the Hammersmith Palais, the Marquee, the Flamingo, the Ramjam and the Scene Club, where the Rolling Stones first played, became the haunts and breeding ground of beat music.
The era conspired with the youthful generation of music-influenced mods, attuned to creative innovations in fashion and in musical style. With the emergence of the Beatles and a myriad of groups, the Swinging Sixties took hold.
The 1960s were a decade of change & fashion styles. Britain emerged at that time as a musical crucible for the changing values and fashions of the age.
The Sixties celebrated youth (David Bailey’s fashion photos; Carnaby St clothes) and rebellion against authority and interest in revolution. The drab grey world of postwar Britain was being rapidly overwhelmed by fashion conscious youth wearing startling fashion colours and listening to exciting musical groups.
John Stephens, a Glaswegian who defined London fashion style, set up a clothes shop in Carnaby St. With blaring contemporary beat music, kaleidoscopic window displays and garment racks that spilled onto the outdoor pavement, fashion now ruled the streets. Shopping for clothes became a lifestyle experience and the King’s Road in Chelsea and London boutiques like Biba catered for a cashed-up young ‘mod’ crowd.
Although revolution was manifested not in London but in the 1968 Paris riots – “aux barricades! L’imagination au pouvoir!” – a revolutionary mood of rebellion infused British fashion and art and music. The period spawned an interest in the esoteric – ranging from eastern religions (Maharishi Yogi; Hare Krishna) to diverse and innovative musical forms (eg Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells; the use of sitars by the Beatles).
Only in Britain, however, and most importantly in the vibrant cities of London & Liverpool, was the expressive youthful spirit of the age fully embraced and enlivened in a cultural sense. Artists became icons and music became the preferred medium of the youth message.
The Mod Beat
The music was full of vitality (Gerry & the Pacemakers) and experimentation (eg the use of harmonica by Lennon in the Beatles’ Love me Do).
Sometimes the music had a hard edge, manifested most overtly in the Animals, the tough Tyneside group whose origins were in Newcastle’s Downbeat Club. The Animals’ Eric Burdon’s deep gravelly vocals wailed of lost youth in House of the Rising Sun (1964) and voiced the despair of dead-end futures in We Gotta Get out of this Place. The Rolling Stones played on these same themes with a more overt sexual accent in Satisfaction and a more nihilistic tone in Paint it Black.
The Who’s anthemic My Generation (1965) epitomised youthful energy, urgency and passion in musical form. The song made a virtue of Roger Daltrey’s stuttering speech impediment. Pete Townsend’s classic guitar feedback and Keith Moon’s frantic drumming created the chaotic environment that gave resonance to the refrain “Hope I die before I get old”.
The music had a mellower but nonetheless powerful sound. Dusty Springfield (Mary O’Brien), with her brother Tom, was originally a member of a folk-rock fusion band, the Springfields. Their song Silver Threads and Golden Needles was a big hit in 1964. Tom Springfield’s compositions were later to propel the Seekers to international prominence.
As a solo artist, Dusty rode the love-tragic railway with I only want to be with you (1964) and You Don’t have to say you love me (1966). She also represented the archetypal fashion icon of the period – heavily lacquered hairstyle; diaphanous silk gowns; Panda-style dark eye make-up. Although Dusty had a dramatic voice with natural power and range, she amplified her vocal attributes by recording her biggest hit in the stairwell of a seven-storey circular staircase to achieve a haunting echo effect.
When they launched themselves nationally in 1963 as the Beatles, the fab four transformed the British music scene. She Loves You, their debut single, sold over 1 million records. It boasted an energetic working class refrain (yeah yeah yeah) and its simple lyrics were part of everyday language. Twist and Shout, their EP release, with a rawer rock sound, sold over 250,000 copies. They spawned early imitators in Australia such as The Invaders, whose hit single She’s A Mod included the already famous “yeah yeah yeah” refrain.
The Beatles dominated the charts and were extremely adept at saturating the media with their music. BBC radio produced a 15 week program Pop Go the Beatles; ABC TV screened Lucky Stars, featuring the Beatles; Beat Monthly, a national music magazine, gave prominence to the Beatles and other Liverpool groups. With their Scouse humour and witty one-liners, the Beatles were a media publicity manager’s dream. While there was no commercial radio in the UK, with the exception of pirate radio stations like Radio Caroline and Radio Atlantic, the Beatles’ domination of the BBC airwaves provided unstoppable musical and popular momentum.
Previously, soloists with a backing band often singing American hits had dominated the music scene– eg Cliff Richard, backed by the Shadows. After the popularity of the Beatles and the emergence of groups as the new form of musical paradigm, soloists declined and groups began writing their own music and lyrics. This music was often self-composed, a collaborative effort and expressed characteristics of the group’s origins.
Pills & Spills
The 60s also inaugurated the era of sexual liberation. Contraceptives were readily available; the Pill made sex safe for girls. If the mood was right, your luck was in. Importantly, the music established the mood.
The easy availability of drugs was also a feature of the times. “We were all pillheads” confessed The Who’s Roger Daltrey. Uppers or pep pills bred a hyped-up energy that made some people go “over the top”. Daltrey noted the effects on his colleagues: “We were probably the most aggressive group that’s ever happened in England.” The Who’s swirling arms and a swirling sound attested to this, with Peter Townsend’s shrill guitar soaring over the pounding backbeat of Keith Moon’s double-bass drumkit with its forest of clanging cymbals. The Who’s musical mayhem resulted in the staged destruction of instruments, as infamous as Keith Moon’s party trick of setting fire to hotel mattresses and launching these smouldering items from hotel windows into swimming pools or onto unsuspecting pedestrians below.
Drugs later saturated the psychedelic music scene. From Cream’s In A White Room and The Story of Brave Ulysses to the Beatles’ Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, the vibes were drug-soaked, hip and ultra-cool.
Surging Sounds in SummerLand
These musical influences were to rapidly permeate the Australian cultural fabric and dominate popular music.
Song lyrics spread ideas and values. The predominance of the musical beat gave focus and profoundly influenced the emerging Aussie music scene.
While the British sound was influential in Australia, the contribution of British-born artists was seminal.
In the early 1960s, more than 1 million British migrants arrived in Australia – known as the land of perpetual summer – on “assisted passages”. Australia was undergoing reconstruction and was keen to attract working class migrants. Known as 10-Pound tourists, many families included young lads who had grown up in the nascent swinging period of the British music scene and whose influences gave rise to a unique version of Aussie music. This population also provided an enthusiastic base of fans who appreciated the music of the Beatles and the Stones and who supported local music that mined similar musical veins.
Any British migrants not sponsored by families or by employers were placed in migrant hostels, which were usually converted wartime bases and camps. Tragically, 25% of British people allocated to these hostels returned home. Those that remained, however, provided raw musical talent. What’s more, that nascent talent was young, energetic, creative and concentrated in specific locations – Elizabeth in Adelaide; Villawood in Sydney; Nunawading in Melbourne. They were to burst onto an Australian cultural environment that provided limitless opportunity.
The Beatles visit to Australia in 1964 sparked Beatlemania. In 1964, when they toured Australia, the Beatles were able to attract a crowd of 300,000 in Adelaide who lined the 10-mile route from the airport to Adelaide City to see them. Crowds of 250,000 greeted them in Melbourne.
At the time, the Beatles had an incredible 14 singles in the US top 100.
Their influence in Australia was both immediate and profound. The Beatles’ success and whirlwind tour of Australia in 1964 launched a massive upheaval in Aussie music. Groups composed often of British kids were influenced by the British beat and gave voice and energy to new anthems of rock that re-invigorated Aussie music.
Prior to the arrival of the Beatles, Melbourne dances featured music that comprised about 50% traditional jazz and 50% rock. After the Beatles’ visit, almost no dances featured jazz music. A new beat had taken over. Other British groups also toured Australia at that time, further embedding the British musical influence and inspiring imitators. 1964 onward saw a host of young British and Australian born singers, guitarists and drummers form bands to play the same style (some even tried to sound the same) as their idols. The best of these bands soared to the top of the Aussie music spire.
The British cultural music invasion took a firm hold of the Australian music public and alternatives were no longer desirable or possible.
Spicks and Specks – British-born Solo singers & Groups
Before the 1960s, Slim Dusty, Johnny O’Keefe and Col Joye dominated popular music in Australia. Apart from the Wild One’s rock style, the music was relatively sedate, boring and predictable. As British-born artists began to emerge, things started to change. At first, the change was barely noticeable.
Then, a growing number of British-born singers started to put their stamp on Aussie music.
The attractive looks and palpably fresh youthfulness of many of these artists were made-to-order features for the emerging television market. While the initial hook was their looks, it was their singing style that generated excitement.
Frank Ifield, born in Coventry, migrated to Australia with his family while still a lad. Aged 21, he recorded Whiplash in 1957, a song about the 1851 goldrush. In 1962, his yodelling vocals launched I Remember You, which sold over 1 million records and was the first international hit by an Australian artist. He relocated to the UK on this wave of success and for several years, headlining the charts there. He was the first singer to achieve three consecutive number 1 hits in Britain with I Remember You, Lovesick Blues (1962) and Wayward Wind (1963). The arrival of the Beatles wave, however, overwhelmed traditional musical styles and gradually consigned his music to the cabaret circuit.
Bryan Davies at seventeen became the perennially smiling compere of the Bryan Davies TV show, featuring popular music. A teen idol, he headed the charts with Dream Girl in 1961. Influenced by the Beatles, his later songs included Night and Day and I’m Gonna Make you Cry.
Lynne Randell (Randall) from Liverpool was a Go!! Show TV regular and typified the Swinging London style in Oz. Allan Field, an English comedian, who compered the Beatles’s 1964 tour of Oz, hosted the Go!! Show, dedicated to pop music.
A curvy sixteen-year-old, Randell wore backless dresses, striped tops and bell-bottom pants, while dancing and singing Going out of My Head 1966 with gusto. She had dollybird looks, which earned her the admiring title of Australia’s ‘Miss Mod’. In a successful example of exporting coals to Newcastle, she performed at the legendary Cavern Club in her hometown Liverpool. She had a huge hit with Ciao Baby in 1967 and supported the US group The Monkees on their 1967 American tour, eventually settling in the US before returning to Melbourne and calling it a day.
Barry Stanton supported the wildest and best of the original Australian rock stars, Johnny O’Keefe, and was part of the tour that almost ended O’Keefe’s life when he crashed his Belvedere. Stanton appeared regularly on O’Keefe’s TV show Sing, Sing, Sing and his best known hit was Beggin’ on my Knees (1961). He was an early victim of the decline in popularity of solo singers.
Buddy England (Ian Kilgower) was another Go!! Show regular, belting out hits like There Goes My Baby 1966 and What a Wonderful World 1969. He later became the lead singer of the Mixtures and in the 1977 replaced Bruce Woodley in the Seekers.
Jon English was the lead vocalist with the Sebastian Hardie group, a Sydney suburban dance band in 1968. The band backed Johnny O’Keefe in 1969 before English launched a solo career in a range of stage musicals, most famously as Judas in the Australian production of Jesus Christ Superstar, which ran from 1972 to 1974. He also had several record hits with Hollywood Seven 1976 and Turn the Page 1975. He is still appearing in stage musicals including Gilbert & Sullivan.
The Bee Gees were primarily vocalists, whose harmonies dominated the songs. Born in Douglas on the Isle of Man, to Barbara, a singer, and Hughie, a band leader, Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb emerged after a long musical grounding in Brisbane, where they had a regular singing gig at the Redcliffe Speedway. Originally the brothers sang skiffle in the style of Tommy Steele, later moving to a harmonic style to record Spicks & Specks in 1966, which first featured their marvellous melodies and vocal harmonies. Barry Gibb, the lead singer, specialised in writing love ballads with a heavy interplay of piano and horns and the backing sound of his brothers’ heartbreaking male harmonies.
Following their first Aussie hit, the Bee Gees travelled on the Fairsky to London. From being expatriate Britons in Australia, they returned to England in 1967, ironically to be managed by an expatriate Australian, Robert Stigwood. With the extensive falsetto range of the ferret-faced Robin, the Gibb brothers produced To Love Somebody in 1967, I’ve Got to Get a Message to You in 1968 and Lonely Days 1970.
The Gibb brothers must have enjoyed the sublime taste of whisky or porridge or both as Barry Gibb married Linda, a Miss Edinburgh of 1967 and Maurice Gibb married Lulu, a Scots-born British pop star in 1969. The Bee Gees proceeded to a successful International career in the 1970s following the popularity of their three-part harmony ‘disco” songs in the 1978 movie Saturday Night Fever (Stayin Alive and Night Fever).
Barry Gibb continued to write hit songs for other artists, including Islands in the Stream, a Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton duet that became the most successful country song ever recorded.
Judith Durham, a jazz singer, defined The Seekers with her pure soaring voice. With Keith Potger, the English-born bassist, the Seekers had a debut hit with Waltzing Matilda. After travelling to London via a world cruise on the Sitmar line, the Seekers found an ideal songwriter in Tom Springfield whose song I’ll Never Find Another You sold nearly 2 million records, followed by A World of Our Own in 1965. Other Springfield compositions The Carnival is Over 1965 and Georgy Girl 1967 maintained the group’s momentum in Britain. Their album Best of the Seekers supplanted the Beatles self-titled album (the white album) in 1968.
Olivia Newton-John was born into an academic family in Cambridge. Her music career began as a folk singer in Melbourne until she won first prize in a talent quest on Johnny O’Keefe’s Sing Sing Sing television show. The prize was a trip to England, where she appeared on BBC TV, eventually supporting Cliff Richard on tours of Europe. Her ballad style was appealing and very successful. In 1971, she released If Not For You and Banks of the Ohio from her self-titled debut album, produced by her fiancee and Shadows’ band member, Bruce Welch.
In 1972, she issued a lilting version of George Harrison’s What Is Life? A ballad co-composed by Peter Allen, I Honestly Love You became a hit in the US in 1974 and she relocated to California, where she and Pat Carroll, her Australian singing partner in Britain, established a fashion chain, Koala Blue.
Newton-John’s greatest hits emerged from her role in the film Grease. You’re the One that I Want, written by John Farrar, previously of Melbourne band The Strangers and the British group, the Shadows, Hopelessly Devoted to You and Summer Nights were all international hits in 1978.
John (Johnny) Farnham was born in Dagenham, England. While some may proffer that the name of his birthplace characterised his style, he nonetheless had a string of hits in Australia the late sixties of which Sadie 1967, One 1969 and Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head 1969 are the most well remembered. Another victim of the declining solo singer popularity, he went from King of Pop to a cabaret/RSL venue circuit singer in the 1970s. He subsequently joined the Little River Band as lead singer following the departure of Glenn Shorrock in 1982. He revived his solo career in 1986 with the album Whispering Jack and the single You’re The Voice, a song co-composed by Chris Thompson of the Manfred Mann Earth Band and Keith Reid of Procul Harum. He had an international hit with the album Chain Reaction and the single Burn For You in 1990. His lasting legacy to the Aussie music industry, however, was the perpetual farewell tour (for absolutely last time ever…).
A Beat Like a Thunderclap
The Atlantics, Sydney’s premier group in the early 1960s, were heavily influenced by the Shadows.
The Shadows were a predominantly instrumental British group (Apache), who also formed the backing band for Cliff Richard. The band’s leading lights were Hank Marvin (Brian Rankin, from Newcastle) and Bruce Welch (Bruce Cripps from Sussex). Bruce Welch later was engaged to Olivia Newton-John, whose early British records he produced. In the early 1970s, John Farrar joined the group. He was later to marry Pat Carroll, Olivia’s singing partner, and composed a number of Newton-John’s greatest hits. Hank Marvin eventually migrated to Australia in the 1980s, producing Aussie music from his new home in Newcastle, Australia.
The Atlantics’ duelling twanging guitars and thundering backbeats on Bombora and The Crusher (1963) from their Now It’s Stompin’ Time album became surf anthems. They pioneered many guitar techniques later made popular by Jimi Hendrix. The Atlantics popularised The Stomp dance style at Surf City in King’s Cross. An original Aussie dance style, the Stomp dominated the music scene for a brief 18-month period: the basic moves required two thumps with the right foot, two thumps with the left and a lot of leaping about with hands behind one’s back.
Colin Cook, born to British parents in the Indian sub-continent in Bangladesh, subsequently became the lead singer with the Thunderbirds. Peter Robinson was another British-born band member. The Thunderbirds was the first distinctive Australian rock and roll band. Cook, the lead singer, was an early teenage idol in Australia, crooning Crying Over You and Sea of Love and producing his biggest hit Heart in 1964. He returned to Britain in the late 1960s, performing in the stage musicals Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar.
Betty McQuade, the Scots-born singer, used the Thunderbirds as her backing band. As a solo performer, her most memorable hits were Midnight Bus, originally recorded in 1961 and re-recorded in 1965 and Blue Train in 1966. Angst-ridden slow blues tunes, however, proved to be a bus to nowhere as she didn’t trouble the music charts afterward.
Tony Worsley was the lead singer of the Fabulous Blue Jays, a Sydney group. Something’s Got a Hold on Me became their biggest hit although their lasting claim to fame was supporting the Kinks and Manfred Mann in their joint tour of Australia.
Derek Fitton formed Derek’s Accent in 1966 in Sydney. Comprising five teenage British migrants, the group played beat pop – Derek’s accent was musical as well as literal. Ain’t Got No Feeling was their one hit.
The Throb, a Sydney rhythm & blues band, mirrored the Easybeats in composition. John Bell & Denny Burgess were the British element. Their version of Fortune Teller was issued in Australia prior to the Rolling Stones single and did well. The Throb’s other hit was a rock version of the folk song Black is the colour (“of my true love’s hair”). Bassist Bob Daisley later played with Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath fame.
An instrumental group also influenced by the Shadows, the Melbourne-based Phantoms created Stampede in 1962 and The Rumble in 1963. They comprised four young British boys from the Nunawading migrant hostel – Alan “Ollie” Fenton, Dave Lincoln, Gene Taylor and Pete Watson. Watson, from South London, recruited a new lead guitarist, a young Mike Brady, a fellow south Londoner from Croydon, who had settled at Fishermen’s Bend migrant hostel. The Phantoms established a national profile when they supported the Beatles during their 1964 tour of Australia.
Later, Mike Brady, Pete Watson and a fellow Brit, Danny Finley formed MPD Ltd, which had a meteoric rise and fall. Fuelled by appearances on the Go!! Show, Little Boy Sad 1965 became the group’s first hit. A popular band with an energetic stage show, MPD played in Yardbirds style. The group played one concert with the Easybeats and the Fabulous Blue Jays at Brisbane’s Festival Hall that famously ended in a complete riot, with female fans going berserk on stage. While the band produced a further hit with Lonely Boy in 1966, the group soon folded and Mike Brady went on to a successful solo career.
Mike Furber, the British lead singer of the Bowery Boys started the beat style in Melbourne with Just a Poor Boy in 1965 and You Stole My Love in 1966. His last successful single was the Vanda & Young penned I’m On Fire in 1969. After a period of national service, Furber tragically committed suicide.
Villawood Dreaming – Friday on My Mind
The Easybeats, formed at Villawood Migrant Hostel in the south-western area of Sydney in 1965, comprised an amalgam of British and Dutch musicians whose style later came to define Australian music.
The precocious fifteen-year-old lead singer was Stevie Wright from Leeds
The other Easybeats group members were George Young (Scotland); Gordon ‘Snowy’ Fleet, a drummer from Liverpool; and Johannes Vandenberg (Harry Vanda) and Dick Diamonde, two Dutch guitarists. Harry Vanda had before migrating to Australia played with a Dutch group strongly influenced by the Shadows. The Easybeats originally played at the Beatle Village club in Sydney.
Snowy Fleet, from the style capital Liverpool, dressed the band in the height of current Liverpudlian fashion, with the band wearing grouse matching suits. Snowy also proposed the band’s memorable Easybeats name.
The band featured a crescendo of ascending duelling guitars backed by a strong rhythm beat and the lilting but powerful voice of Wright.
The Wright/Young songwriting team spurred the group to fame with She’s So Fine (1966) and Sorry (1966). Vanda and Young collaborated for two of the epic songs of Aussie rock – Wedding Ring 1965 and Friday on My Mind (1966), recently voted the best Aussie song of the twentieth century. As Harry Vanda reminisced, Friday on My Mind was inspired by the bands’ common Villawood experiences: “Being hostel boys, that’s what you dream about all week – Friday”. The iconic Aussie single was – perhaps appropriately – recorded in the UK in the famous Abbey Road Studios. The song sold in excess of one million copies internationally and is the most recognisable song of the 1960s Aussie music scene.
The Easybeats supported the Rolling Stones on their European tour in late 1966 and in 1967, supported Gene Pitney on his US tour. The band produced two further small scale singles The Music Goes Round My Head and a rock number, Good Times in 1968 before eventually breaking up in 1969.
Stevie Wright went on to take the lead role in one of Australia’s most popular stage musicals, Jesus Christ Superstar, in 1971. As a solo artist, he sang the brilliant Evie Parts 1, 2 & 3 (1974). This Vanda/Young produced masterpiece comprised 11 minutes and 24 seconds of soaring vocals and ebullient instrumentals and was the longest single to feature on Australian record charts in a period when the traditional radio airtime for a song was between 3 and 4 minutes.
Vanda and Young also wrote and produced a string of hits for other Aussie recording artists, starting with Johnny Young’s song Step Back (1966) and ranging through to Stevie Wright’s Evie (1974). Under the stage-name ‘Flash and the Pan’, they also produced a pop hit Hey St Peter in 1977 followed by Down Among the Dead Men in 1978. Both songs were synthesisers driven, with spoken words backed by a shouted chorus.
The Groop had a Shadows-inspired beat and featured Peter Bruce, a former member of the skiffle-period British band, the Dave Clark Five. The Groop’s hits included I’m Satisfied 1966 and Woman You’re Breaking Me 1967. The band won Hoadley’s National Battle of the Sounds in 1967, winning the traditional ship cruise to London. While their sojourn was unsuccessful they returned to Australia in 1968 to record Such a Lovely Way in 1968, a tune heavily influenced by Beatles’ compositions.
Before the band wound up, The Groop provided the instrumental backing to Russell Morris’ psychedelic classic The Real Thing in 1969. This six-minute collage of sounds included an excerpt of one of Hitler’s speeches, counterpointing the Groop’s powerful instrumental sound. Two band members, Brian Cadd and Don Mudie later joined Glenn Shorrock, formerly of the Twilights, in Axiom.
Yonder She’s Walking!
1966 was the year of Revolver (Beatles) and Paint it Black (Rolling Stones). In the US, by contrast, it was the year of Good Vibrations (Beach Boys).
It was clear from the music popularly being played and listened to throughout Australia which musical influence held sway in the land down under.
In addition to groups with British-born singers or band members, British music was hugely influential in the Aussie music scene. The Missing Links (Wild About You 1965), an innovative although short-lived band, modelled themselves on The Who. Using powerful amplifiers and strong guitar feedback sounds, their performances also involved smashing guitars and drums on stage. In a bizarre innovation, they recorded one song backwards with the back-to-front title “H’Tuom Tuhs”. Amazingly, the song was popular although the lyrics were, understandably, indecipherable.
Melbourne and Sydney rapidly became the epicentres of the burgeoning music scene in Australia. Melbourne had discotheques like Sebastian’s in Spring St; the Thumpin’ Tum in Little LaTrobe St; the Biting Eye, Prince Albert’s, The Catcher in South Melbourne and an endless range of suburban dances. The Melbourne music scene attracted the best interstate bands – the Twilights and the Masters’ Apprentices from Adelaide; the Valentines from Perth; the Purple Hearts from Brisbane and Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs from Sydney.
A small coterie of avant-garde jazz players also appreciated the potential of the British sound and helped shape Australian rhythm and blues style.
Formed from the Red Onion Jazz Band and the Wild Cherries, The Loved Ones performed rhythm and blues with a rock direction. While an original sound, attributable to the unique musicianship of the group, the Beatles and the broader Merseybeat style unarguably influenced their sound.
The Loved Ones with the inimitable Gerry Humphreys, the eccentric lead singer with a magnificent jazz-infused voice, gave birth to unique expositions of Aussie music. Their biggest hit, The Loved One (1966), was a chord progression of vocals supported by intensifying organ and guitar. The song featured a unique double rhythm, cleverly established by handclapping which dominated the two-beat pattern, developing a strong atmosphere of excitement until the release of Gerry’s opening soaring blues-style yell: “Yonder she’s walking!”
The band’s album, Magic Box, is reputedly the only Aussie record of the 1960s to remain continuously in print. Everlovin’ Man (1966) and Sad Dark Eyes (1967) were the group’s other classic single releases. An EP, Blueberry Hill, was released in late 1966. Tragically, the band split after 18 months.
Gerry Humphreys went on to form Gerry & the Joy Band and produced a popular hit Rave On in 1972 followed by Ongo Bongo, a single that had Ross Wilson and Ross Hannaford of Daddy Cool playing in support. Humphreys compered the first Sunbury Festival in 1972, before returning to London in 1977, where he dropped out of the music scene for a decade.
INXS later recorded a version of The Loved One in 1982, re-released on their platinum-selling Kick album in 1988. Based on the re-emergence of popular acclaim for this musical style, Gerry & The Loved Ones briefly re-formed and toured Australia in 1988, producing a live album Live on Blueberry Hill in 1988. Gerry died in 2005, aged only 62.
Sex, Thugs, Rock n Roll
The Purple Hearts, a name derived from the speed tablets (pep pills) preferred by the English mods of the sixties, comprised Brits Mick Hadley, lead singer, and Bob Dames, a bass player, who had first hand experience of the London blues scene, and Scots-born Fred Pickard. The band also featured a young Queenslander, John Baslington ‘Barry’ Lyde, later to become famous as Lobby Loyde. Another English guitarist Tony Cahill joined the group in 1966; he eventually replaced Snowy Fleet in the Easybeats line-up in 1968.
The Purple Hearts sang uncompromising rhythm and blues. Founded in Brisbane they initially relocated to Sydney before moving to the active Melbourne music scene in early 1966. Their first single in 1964 was Long Legged Baby; the B-side was Them’s Gloria. They enjoyed two further hits in 1966, Of Hopes and Dreams and Tombstones and Early in the Morning, before the band split in 1967.
Lobby joined the one-time jazz band, Wild Cherries in 1967 and produced experimental psychedelic music. In 1968, Loyde joined the Aztecs, performing heavy rock numbers. With Billy Thorpe also on guitar, the Aztecs established a reputation as the wildest rock band in Oz. Loyde later formed the Coloured Balls, a sharpie proto-skinhead band and joined Rose Tattoo in 1979. Known as the master of amplified guitar feedback, Loyde has been Australia’s most famous guitar hero for a generation of kids.
Ian McCausland, a Scots-born guitarist, played with Ray Hoff and the Offbeats, some of whose members later joined the Aztecs.
Manchester-born Billy Thorpe inaugurated the hands-behind the back dancing style, which mirrored the style of the English swinging beat singers. Like the fashionable Mods, the original Aztecs wore satin shirts, skin-tight striped pants and mops of long hair. Tony Barber from Norwich emigrated from Britain to Australia as a young man on the Fairstar and subsequently joined the Aztecs. Like many British migrants with musical inclinations, Barber maintained a strong link with English fashions, including musical developments. His brother in England sent him a copy of the Rolling Stones EP that included a cover of Poison Ivy. Barber re-arranged the song and it became the first hit single for the Aztecs.
In addition to Poison Ivy, the Aztecs had a huge hit with Over the Rainbow (1965), a mellower ballad piece that contrasted with their later heavier rock period that gave birth to CC Rider. The Aztecs played at Surf City in the Cross, which accommodated 3000 stomping music lovers and the band’s popularity led to Thorpe compering a pop music TV show, It’s All Happening in 1966. Thorpe’s book Sex, Thugs, Rock N Roll provides a worm’s eye view of the lifestyle and the music of this period in Sydney.
In a performance that attained legendary status, Thorpe and the Aztecs performed at the Bondi Lifesaving Club in Sydney. With the volume at full blast, the group performed their hits in the upstairs club lounge, which also featured a massive tropical fish tank. By the time the group had finished their set, all the fish had gone belly up in the tank, killed by the thumping vibrations of their amplifiers. In recognition of this performance, for a time the group became known as “Billy Killed the Fish” but the name never quite stuck. Moving into the realms of pub rock, the Aztecs performed in brick sheds filled to the rafters with screaming drunken fans (and nowhere near aquarium fish).
On the Australia Day weekend of 1972, at a farm near Diggers’ Rest, Billy Thorpe and the New Aztecs, strutting a hard rock line, headlined the Sunbury Rock Festival. They performed an 18 minute rendition of Ooh Poo Pa Doo during which, coining a slogan for his generation, Thorpie urged the crowd to ‘Suck more Piss’. Thorpie’s autobiographical song Most People I know (think that I’m Crazy) epitomised the evolution of the Aztec sound.
The Beatletown Push – Adelaide Bands of the 1960s
The working class northern Adelaide suburbs of Elizabeth and Salisbury were situated close to the car plants and industrial factories of Adelaide. Many British families settled there. It was no coincidence that Adelaide gave rise to a disproportionate number of great rock bands in the 1960s. Receptive to the British music trends, the young migrants of Adelaide possessed the same rhythm, the same sense of style and the same musical DNA as their swinging London brothers. The Master’s Apprentices, the Twilights, the Mixtures and Zoot all originated in Elizabeth. In homage to the British settlement and the crop of musical groups which that environment spawned, Elizabeth became known locally as Beatletown.
Heavily influenced by the musical style of the Beatles, the Zoot, with John D’Arcy on lead guitar, produced an appealing layered harder rock version of Eleanor Rigby. Their pink flouncy outfits, however, were an eyesore and an affront to good taste and they were overshadowed by the harder playing Master’s Apprentices, their hometown rivals.
Adelaide gave rise to the Master’s Apprentices, formerly the Mustangs, a Shadows-influenced instrumental band. Jim Keays, Scottish-born, formed the Masters at Salisbury Migrant Hostel with Colin Burgess, brother of Denny Burgess of the Throb. The group generated a string of hits starting with Undecided in 1967, a rocking classic written by guitarists Mick Bower and Rick Harrison and influenced by the Rolling Stones, Yardbirds and Animals blues-rock sound. Later came the psychedelic Living in a Child’s Dream in 1967, influenced by the Beatles’ Sergeant Peppers’ album and voted song of the year by the Aussie music bible, Go Set.
After running second to the Groop in Hoadley’s National Battle of the Sounds in 1968, the Masters also received boat tickets to London. They eventually went to London in 1970 and they recorded the evocative Because I Love You as part of their Choice Cuts album in 1971 in one of Abbey Road’s studios while John Lennon was recording Working Class Hero in studio 1. Further hits included Turn Up Your Radio, still touted as an Aussie rock classic.
Keays went on to a successful solo career, releasing an album, Boy from the Stars in 1974. In a curious sidelight, Keays also sang on Monster Planet, an album produced by one of Australia’s few electronic bands, Cybotron in 1975.
The Twilights with Glenn Shorrock, another Elizabethan denizen, as lead singer produced eight pop hits, including Needle in a Haystack and Baby let me take you home. Sporting mod haircuts in imitation of the Small Faces, they tried to replicate the Beatles guitar sound, and came closest on Cathy Come Home. Shorrock later became lead singer of newly formed Axiom (Little Ray of Sunshine). Terry Britten, the group’s lead guitarist, later composed Devil Woman for Cliff Richard and What’s Love Got To do with It for Tina Turner.
The Twilights won the Hoadley’s Battle of the Sounds competition and went to London. Winning this competition was often the death-knell for the winning band. The winners won a trip to London but had to play on the Sitmar cruise ship; the bands received no support once they arrived and often found it impossible to get playing gigs or production support to make records. Most winning bands that did travel to London broke up soon after. The Twilights started the trend.
The Mixtures comprised Idris Jones as lead singer, who moved in and out of the group, interchanging lead vocals with fellow British singer, Buddy England. The Mixtures’ masterful pop of In the Summertime coincided with the 1970 radio ban by Australian radio stations of major labels and overseas records due to a royalty payment dispute. This allowed Aussie versions of overseas songs like In the Summertime to blossom. The memorable Pushbike Song – “Riding along on my pushbike, honey”- followed in 1971, which secured a top ten billing on the British music charts. Following this success the band travelled to London in 1971, releasing Captain Zero in 1972, before succumbing to the disease that befell most Aussie groups – failure and disillusion in London.
Barrie McAskill, the Scots-born singer, fronted the Levi Smith Clefs, a successful Adelaide dance band. The group’s first single, House of the Rising Sun in 1966 clearly displayed their musical influences. The group later produced a standout version of the Beatles’ classic We can work it out in 1970. When the Clefs folded, several band members formed Tully, a progressive rock band, which was the first Australian band to use a Moog synthesiser.
The Beatles had bequeathed an enduring musical legacy and the bands of Beatletown paid suitable homage to their muses.
Way out West – Groovers of the Heart
The Valentines from Perth with the Scots-born Bon Scott and the English-born Vince Lovegrove as lead singers (My Old Man’s A Groovy Old Man) paid homage to the skiffle era with the title of the song recalling Lonnie Donegan’s My Old Man’s A Dustman. My Old Man’s A Groovy Old Man was written by Vanda & Young and was inspired by George Young’s old man. The Young patriarch must have been a real groover to father three kids in George (Easybeats) and Malcolm & Angus (AC/DC), whose careers contributed so seminally to Aussie music and whose musical trajectories spanned the golden age of Aussie rock music.
The Valentines acquired notoriety as the first Aussie band to be arrested for possession of marijuana. Bon Scott, who went on to front AC/DC, preferred multiple forms of excess and died of alcoholic poisoning after a drinking binge in 1980. AC/DC issued a tribute album Back in Black in memory of their late lamented larrikin lead singer.
The Perth band, the Dugites, boasted a keyboard player, British-born Bob Andrews, who had played with Graham Parker and the Rumour in the UK. The Dugites’ funky soul sound, supported by piercing keyboard rhythm, featured on In Your Car and No God, No Master.
Dave Hole, the acclaimed English-born blues guitarist, played a masterful slide guitar. He formed the Beaten Tracks in 1968, with Wendy Saddington as lead singer and Phil Manning on guitar. After some line-up changes, Beaten Tracks became Chain, Australia’s premier blues band whose classic gutsy blues hit Black & Blue took flight in 1971.
Ballads, Anthems & Glam-rock Dags
Richard Clapton was an Aussie-born artist who adapted his name from those of his musical heroes – Keith Richards and Eric Clapton. Richard spent his formative musical years in Britain in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He emerged imbued with the musical spirit of the 1960s and produced the classic Girls on the Avenue in 1975 and Deep Water in 1978, ballads of timeless appeal and artistry.
Mike Brady, the Croydon-born former rocker with MPD Ltd, continued a successful songwriting career, creating the Aussie Rules anthems, Up there Cazaly in 1979 and That’s the Thing about Football in 1990.
In the 1970s Linda George produced the hit I’m not Mama’s Little Girl and then promptly faded from view.
The Moir Sisters, comprising three Scots-born sisters Jean, Margo & Lesley also had a one-hit wonder with the sweet and mildly suggestive Good Morning How Are You?
William Shakespeare (Johnny Caves) a glam-rock construct, in imitation of David Bowie and Garry Glitter, was the creation of Vanda & Young. Shakespeare, dressed in platform shoes and glitter costumes with Elizabethan styling, sang the Vanda & Young compositions, My Little Angel and Can’t Stop Myself from Loving You in 1974. My Little Angel was subsequently voted the daggiest song of its generation and Shakespeare ended his days headlining Dag Nights on the nostalgia circuit.
Dirty Deeds Down Under
AC/DC was headlined by Ronald “Bon” Scott, the tattooed larrikin lead singer previously with the Valentines & Fraternity. He joined Angus & Malcolm Young, the younger siblings of George Young (of Easybeats fame) who played guitars, and Englishman Cliff Williams. Brian Johnson, a Geordie, was recruited to replace Bon Scott following the lead singer’s death in 1980.
AC/DC’s original repertoire comprised cover versions of Beatles, Stones and Chuck Berry classics. They were quickly to develop their own powerful unique form of high energy Aussie rock and roll. In a unique musical genre crossover, the band took the rawness and rugged energetic playing of pub rock venues to a Countdown teen audience, establishing a phenomenally broad base of fans. Their stage antics included a schoolboy-uniformed Angus doing a gradual strip, climaxing in a full-rear nude view.
AC/DC’s hits included Baby Please Don’t Go (1975), the Young/Scott/Young composition High Voltage (1975), followed by TNT, Jailbreak and Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap in 1976. The group’s classic Long Way to the Top, produced by Harry Vanda and George Young in Sydney in 1976, was the first and possibly only Australian rock and roll record with a bagpipe solo (played by Bon Scott). The song became a legitimate and long-lasting anthem for Aussie rock.
After travelling to the UK in 1976, AC/DC toured in support of Black Sabbath, producing Let There Be Rock in 1977. Highway To Hell followed in 1979. Their album, Back in Black, a eulogy to the departed Bon Scott, featured You Shook Me All Night Long.
Stranded on a Distant Shore – Punks Vs Rockers in the 1970s
With the decline in British migration, British born artists continued to feature albeit less prominently in Australian musical groups in the 1970s.
Chris Bailey, the Kenyan-born Belfast-raised lead singer of punk-new wave band, The Saints, sang his powerhouse snarling lyrics on (I’m) Stranded in 1976. Another English-born band member, Alasdair ‘Algy’ Ward joined the Saints in 1977, during their tour of Britain.
The band notoriously played at parties at their house in Petrie Terrace, Brisbane, dubbed Club 76. These sessions featured the song Erotic Neurotic that became a hit single in 1977. Who can forget – or more aptly who can remember- the prophetically titled classic EP release Paralytic Tonight, Dublin Tomorrow.
After an appearance singing this song on Countdown, the group was permanently banned from the program after Bailey commented derogatorily about the content and standard of the show.
McPhee, a Sydney group, included Terry Popple, the former drummer of the British blues band Tramline. The band produced a self-titled album in 1971, which featured Indian Rope Man, with a transcendent Hammond organ backed by driven drumming pyrotechnics.
Mick Rogers, the English-born lead singer of Bulldog, a blues-influenced band of the 1970s, later played guitar with Doug Parkinson’s In Focus, well known for their version of the Beatles’ Dear Prudence, released in 1969. Bass player Bob Dames, formerly with the Purple Hearts, also played in Bulldog. In the late 1970s, Rogers returned to London and joined Manfred Mann’s Earth Band.
Buster Brown, a pub band which headlined the Sunbury Festival in 1974, had Geordie Leach on bass. Angry Anderson, Buster Brown’s lead singer, later joined Rose Tattoo, one of Australia’s most successful hard rock pub bands. The Tatts’ self-titled debut album was produced by Vanda & Young and featured the aggressive rock of Bad Boy for Love.
Broderick Smith, vocalist and harmonica playing lead singer of the blues group Carson (Travelling South) played Sunbury in 1973. He formed the Adderley Smith Blues Band, later establishing the Dingoes (Way Out West), and the Broderick Smith Big Band. Smith also contributed lead vocals to the Tamam Shud song First Things First, which featured on the film soundtrack of legendary Aussie surf movie, Morning of the Earth in 1973. Smith supported Joe Cocker on the latter’s 1993 tour of Australia.
Mal Capewell, the British-born saxophonist with Carson, later played with Co Caine, eventually returning to Britain to play with Graham Bond’s Holy Magick.
Love is Everywhere
British-born artists also contributed to the folk/bush music revival in Australia.
The Bushwackers, a traditional Aussie bush/folk band with electronic instrumentation, had Peter Farndon on bass who later joined the British new wave band the Pretenders in 1978. Roger Corbett, bass and vocals and Tony Hunt on fiddle were two other Brits who featured in other line-ups of this popular bush band which continued into the 1980s.
Eric Bogle, the Scots-born songwriter artist, produced the definitive version of Waltzing Matilda, singing emotively of the horrors of war.
British musicians and singers also produced a significant layer of teenybopper music in the 1970s.
Sherbet, a teenybopper band, comprised Englishman Clive Shakespeare on lead guitar. The original Sherbet lead singer, Dennis Laughlin, had run the Union Jack disco in Sydney. Shakespeare and fellow band member Garth Porter penned the group’s most popular hits Slipstream in 1974 and Summer Love in 1975.
John Paul Young, another Glaswegian, sang the melodic Yesterday’s Hero and Love is In the Air (1978), later to be revived and featured in the Aussie movie Ballroom Dancing.
Ted Mulry as a solo performer had hits with Falling In Love Again in 1971 and I Won’t Look Back in 1972. He formed the Ted Mulry Gang in 1975, from former members of Velvet Underground, a popular dance band in Newcastle, which had included Malcolm Young (later of AC/DC fame). Mulry’s big hit Jump In My Car (1975) featured 12 bar guitar riffs and tongue-in-cheek lyrics.
Air Supply, with the English-born Graham Russell as singer-songwriter produced a procession of love songs of which the most memorable was All Out Of Love in 1980. Russell was truly in love with the word “Love” as it featured prominently in most of the group’s song titles: Love and Other Bruises 1976; Lost In Love 1979; Young Love 1982. The group had substantial international success throughout the 1970s, particularly in America.
Hard Rock – The Screaming Meanies
The streets of Elizabeth once more resounded to the British beat in the 1970s, although this time the sound was meaner and more intense than ever before.
Cold Chisel was formed in Elizabeth, the British migrant suburb of Adelaide and headlined at the Largs Pier Hotel, a tough working-class pub, whose foundations the band’s thumping sounds regularly rocked. Band manager Rod Willis recalled one band gig: “I’d seen some pretty rough gigs in my time but nothing prepared me for this. It was f… scary. The place was packed with bikies and thugs (and) I was terrified. There were fights everywhere … I’d never seen such overindulgence in alcohol.” Barnes’ specialty of tossing half-full beer cans into the crowd further fuelled the atmosphere of potential riot at each gig.
Boosted by alcohol and speed, the powerful voice of lead singer Jimmy Barnes (James Swan) and drummer Steve Prestwich (a mod from Liverpool) produced a number of iconic Aussie rock songs of the 1970s and 1980s. Barnes was at his best belting out hits like Star Hotel 1980 and Khe Sanh 1978 and the bittersweet ballad about King’s Cross, Breakfast at Sweethearts in 1979.
After going solo, Barnes produced the unforgettable ode to his upbringing in Elizabeth, Working Class Man, in 1980.
John Swan the Glasgow-born older brother of Jimmy Barnes, was also from Elizabeth and formed his own band, the Hard Time Killing Floor in 1971. Swan replaced Bon Scott as lead singer in the rock band Fraternity and subsequently formed another band, called Swanee. His rock hit, The Road Keeps Moving Sideways, captured the sensation most people experience after a hard night’s rock and roll. Over a decade later, John Swan became the lead singer of the Party Boys, and had hits in 1987 with the heavy rhythmic rockers He’s Gonna Step on You Again, Hold Your head Up and a belting version of Them’s Gloria. Joe Walsh, the Eagles’ guitarist, later played with the Party Boys. The band supported AC/DC on their 1988 Australian tour. In 1989, the British blues legend Eric Burdon briefly became the band’s lead singer.
The Brewster brothers formed a key part of the Adelaide band The Angels in 1974. In an earlier guise, the band had appeared as the Moonshine Jug and String Band. The Angels produced the memorable singles Take a Long Line in 1978 and Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again. The latter, a Vanda/Young production, was originally released in 1976, with a more offensive version, with the predictably explicit answer to the chorus question, emerging in 1979. The band supported David Bowie on his Australian tour in 1978.
The Little River Band with Glenn Shorrock as lead singer achieved international success in 1977 with the album Diamantina Cocktail. Hit singles from that album included Help is On Its Way and Home in the Morning. Reminiscing followed in 1978.
Who Can It Be Now?
Bands of the 1980s & 1990s
The creativity of British-born singers and songwriters continued unabated in the 1980s.
British-born vocalist Grace Knight, was a singer with the Perth band Eurogliders, recording Without You in 1982 and later, in Britain, the national hit Heaven (Must Be There) in 1984. Knight transformed into a reputable and successful jazz singer, best known for her soundtrack recording of the TV mini-series, Come In Spinner in 1990 and her popular collaboration with Vince Jones, Stormy Weather in 1991.
Ambient band Dead Can Dance with Brendan Perry from Northern Ireland produced “world music”, including a fusion of Gaelic folk, Gregorian chants and Middle Eastern sounds. The band produced two well-received albums Serpent’s Egg and Aion, and had international acclaim with Into the Labyrinth, which sold 500,000 copies in 1993.
The symphonic rock of Aragon, featuring the Scot Les Dougan, drew its inspiration from UK bands like Genesis. Their album Don’t Bring the Rain (1988), while virtually ignored in Australia, was hailed by European and British underground music press as a masterpiece.
Men at Work featured Colin Hay, the Scots-born singer-songwriter. The band played at the Cricketers’ Arms Hotel, in Punt Rd, near the sacred turf of the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Men at Work’s greatest songs include Who Can it be Now? and the anthemic (I Come from the Land) Down Under with the eerily familiar themes of Vegemite sandwiches and men chundering. Down Under became the unofficial theme song of Alan Bond’s America’s Cup syndicate challenge and is still a ‘national pride’ song of note.
Men At Work’s debut album, Business As Usual, sold a staggering 10 million copies worldwide. The album secured bragging rights as the longest-running number one debut album in the US charts, shattering the Monkees previous record. Like the Beatles in the 1960s, Men At Work leveraged successfully off the fame and familiarity generated by MTV programs, which often featured the quirky antics of the band. Men At Work had further success with the Cargo album, released in 1983.
Colin Hay went on to produce a solo album Wayfaring Sons in 1990, drawing on his Scots Celtic folk roots.
The Church featured Steve Kilbey and Mart Wilson-Piper from Liverpool, performing jangle Byrds-style guitar riffs. They produced Too Fast for You, When you were Mine, and Under the Milky Way. The band toured the UK and its Starfish album sold over 600,000 copies in the USA. Kilbey had co-written Under the Milky Way (1988) with Karin Jansson, a Swedish artist, who established a band Curious (Yellow), named after the famous Swedish movie. Kilbey later also produced her band’s album in 1990. Steve Kilbey went on to produce albums for other singers, most notably Steve Cummings’ album, Falling Swinger, in 1994
Steve’s younger brother, Russell Kilbey, was the lead vocalist with the Crystal Set in the 1980s, producing She Spits Out Stars (1990). Russell later played with another brother, John Kilbey, in Warp 9 (Five days in a photon belt).
Savage Garden, with English-born Daniel Johns, joined Darren Hayes in a songwriting partnership in 1994 which resulted in international success with To the Moon and Back in 1996 and Truly Madly Deeply in 1997.
An Enduring Legacy
In popular music, every year brings new songs and temporary musical fads.
The music generated by those British-born musicians and singers and British-influenced bands of the 1960s however will retain appeal as classic masterpieces produced by an energetic, creative wave, propelled by the influence of swinging Britain.
These artists’ contributions have produced a lasting legacy – a pioneering Australian sound with an undeniable British intonation.
By Dr Geoffrey Partington
The losses on the Western Front in the early months of war in 1914 and 1915 were far higher than each warring nation had anticipated. After early German advances in Flanders, a virtually stationary Western Front ran from the English Channel to the Alps and thousands of lives were required for advances measured in yards. An alternative way of waging war against Germany and Austria-Hungary seemed highly desirable to the Allies, especially since it seemed likely that other states would enter the fray, Greece and Italy to join the Allies and Turkey and Bulgaria the Central Powers. The ‘Young Turk’ leaders in Constantinople decided to ally with Germany. They opened the Dardanelles to German warships, which bombed Russian Black Sea ports before the formal Turkish declaration of war. In this context the Dardanelles, or Gallipoli, campaign was conceived. Its leading advocate, Winston Churchill, then first Lord of the Admiralty, was convinced that the Dardanelles Straits could be forced, Constantinople captured, Turkey knocked out of the war, Greece and Italy encouraged to enter on the Allied side, and aid given to the hard-pressed Russian and Serbian forces.
Formation of ANZAC
Before 1914, all major political parties in Australia supported military training for young men. Labor leaders such as Billy Hughes, born in London, and John Christian Watson, of Scottish descent but born on board ship in Valparaiso Harbour, Chile, were ardent supporters of the Australian National Defence League. In his recent Soldier Boy: The True Story of Jim Martin the Youngest Anzac, Anthony Hill explains how young Jim was imbued at school with pride in being part of the British Empire and was keen to join the military training scheme for boys of twelve and above. Jim enlisted at 14, giving a false age, and had not reached his fifteenth birthday when he died of typhoid fever in a hospital ship off Gallipoli in October, 1915.
When war broke out, the Labor leader, Scotland-born Andrew Fisher, supporting the England-born Liberal Prime Minister, Joseph Cook, declared that Australia would stand beside the mother country to help and defend her to the last man and the last shilling. About 40 per cent of all Australian males aged between 18 and 45 voluntarily enlisted to serve in the Australian Imperial Forces (AIF), that is about 417 000 men, of whom about 60 000 died in all campaigns and another 160 000 were wounded or maimed. At least a quarter of the Australian volunteers were born in Great Britain and Ireland, Robert Rhodes James’s estimate being 35 per cent. About 98 per cent of the rest were of British or Irish origin. The immigration rate from the United Kingdom was exceptionally high between 1910 and 1914. ‘Simpson’ – ‘the man with the donkey’ was John Simpson Kirkpatrick, a recent Geordie emigrant.
‘Rule Britannia’, ‘Soldiers of the Queen’ and ‘Sons of the Sea’ were sung at recruiting offices in Adelaide and Sydney, Wellington and Christchurch, as loudly as in Birmingham or Glasgow. In 1914 and 1915 there was little difference between the volunteer rate in Australia of Protestants and Roman Catholics of Irish descent, but the number of Irish volunteers fell sharply after the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin and after Cardinal Mannix, Archbishop of Melbourne, took a leading part in opposing conscription in the referenda of 1916 and 1917.
In 1915 almost all Anzac troops considered themselves part of a wider British people and wanted to be regarded as British, not only as Australians or New Zealanders. When Australian units were photographed in Egypt they usually chose themselves to wear the standard British pith helmet. Most Anzac units landing at Anzac Cove wore British-issue caps, but when after the war George Lambert was commissioned to paint that scene he was instructed to show them with slouch hats.
The Australian forces soon made themselves distinctive. One example of Australian ingenuity was Lance-Corporal Beech’s periscope rifle invention which enabled gunners to fire without putting their heads above the trenches. Two British generals, Walker and Birdwood, made important contributions to Anzac successes but their role was played down by Charles Bean and some other Australian historians in order to elevate the role of Monash, an excellent planner but an indifferent commander in the field. Birdwood and Walker tightened discipline among the Australians without alienating them or reducing their aggressive spirit.
Some Australian troops considered British regiments stuck too much to regulations when encamped, whereas some British troops thought Australian regiments made bad conditions worse by lack of attention to routine. Birdwood admitted to Lord Kitchener, Secretary of State for War, that, although ‘my men are A1 in attack’, they are ‘curiously callow, and negligent, and the only thing I fear is a really heavy night attack … as I cannot get the men to bestir themselves and hurry up to repulse an attack at once’. The Australians were usually distinguished by boldness in attack, the British by discipline in retreat. The New Zealanders were widely thought, not just by themselves, to possess both Australian and British virtues in warfare. Perhaps the most remarkable individual achievement of the campaign was that of Lieut-Commander Bemard Freyberg, awarded the DSO for swimming naked in an ice-cold sea for two miles to light flares on the coast at Bulair. Freyberg later gained the VC in France and became Governor-General of New Zealand, among other distinctions. The epitome of Australian guts was Albert Jacka, who killed seven Turks in a single engagement and was awarded the VC.
The Naval Campaign
The directive that ‘The Admiralty should prepare for a naval expedition in February to bombard and take the Gallipoli peninsula with Constantinople as its objective’ was later derided by opponents of the plan, but it came close to success. Reports recovered later from the Turkish staff revealed that on 19 March nearly all the Turkish ammunition was expended and that ‘A naval attack executed with rapidity and vigour might have been successful.’ The Gallipoli campaign proved more than once that often a small group, even one person, may make a great difference to mighty issues. The mines of a single Turkish mine-layer had a powerful effect on the naval battle, more perhaps than shells from all the Turkish guns. British minesweepers, manned by civilian crews, refused to continue to clear the mines whilst under Turkish shell-fire, and that proved a crucial failure. After the sinking of HMS Irresistible and the French ship Bouvet and severe damage to the French ships Gaulois, Suffren and Charlemagne and to HMS Inflexible, Agamemnon, Lord Nelson, Albion, Admiral Carden called off the attempt to enter the Straits. Carden feared that his ships could not deal with the Turkish guns until the mines were cleared, but that the mines could not be cleared so long as the Turkish guns were intact. Under Carden or his replacement, Admiral de Robeck, the Allied fleets never tried to force an entry into the Sea of Marmara, even when thousands of troops were fighting on the Gallipoli Peninsula.
When ships’ gunners could get a sight of Turkish positions, they were generally accurate and effective, with the result that few Turkish officers would risk an advance across ground vulnerable to their fire. Inevitably, there were some instances of ‘friendly fire’, the most devastating being when a New Zealand battalion close to breaking through the Turkish lines was shelled from a British warship and forced to retreat to better cover, but overall the ships ensured that the army’s artillery, often seriously short of ammunition, was able to compete with Turkish fire. However, a significant reason for Allied failure during the land fighting of 1915 was poor co-ordination between the British Army and Royal Navy, although co-ordination between General Sir Ian Hamilton and his subordinate military commanders was not much better. Especially weakening was division at the very head of the Royal Navy. The aged Admiral ‘Jackie’ Fisher returned to the Admiralty as First Sea Lord at the invitation of the responsible minister, Winston Churchill, who believed that Fisher still had ‘fire in his belly’. Fisher initially supported the Dardanelles concept but soon became its fiercest critic at the very time strong support was needed for it to have a real chance of success.
Warships were very vulnerable to submarine attack in 1915, when depth-charges had not yet been invented. The sinking of HMS Triumph and Majestic by the German U21 under Lieut. Commander Hersing forced the withdrawal of the largest British and French battleships from the Eastern Mediterranean, with demoralising effect on some of the troops. On the other hand The Australian AE2 torpedoed Turkish gunboats well inside the Narrows before it was itself destroyed. British submarines under Lieutenant Commanders Nasmith, Boyle and Stocks did substantial damage to Turkish ships in the Straits, creating panic in Constantinople.
The Turkish Forces
Few of the Allied troops had previous experience of modern warfare, but many of the Turks were battle-hardened. They had not performed with much distinction in the recent Balkan Wars, but then they had been fighting to retain provinces with huge non-Turkish majorities. At Gallipoli the Turks felt they were defending their homeland, especially when they learned that Constantinople would come under Russian rule after a Turkish defeat. Allied troops soon realised the stupidity of HQ propaganda about low Turkish morale and lack of equipment. Although medical organisation was even worse on the Turkish than on the Allied side, most Turkish troops fought with great courage, even when required to attack well-defended positions without cover, as at the Nek in May and Helles in December, just before the Allies withdrew from the peninsula. Their successful defence of their lines at Krithia in May was significant in the final outcome of the campaign. Mustapha Kemal ended the Gallipoli Campaign as Turkey’s greatest war hero, with little tribute being paid to the able overall strategist, the German General Liman von Sanders. Kemal was responsible for some of the bloodiest Turkish losses and, had the Allies prevailed, might well have been denounced for unnecessary deaths, since the Turks had only to hold on to their hill positions to win the campaign, whereas the Allies had to attack in order to justify the entire venture. On the other hand Kemal rallied his troops successfully when the Anzacs nearly broke through soon after their first landings and in later crises.
Early in the campaign many Anzacs believed the Turks practised vile atrocities on prisoners, but later experience suggested that many disfigured corpses had suffered from shrapnel rather than bayoneting after capture, although two British officers were bayoneted in cold blood after surrender at Suvla in August. After the truce at Lone Pine in May, during which the Turks were able to pick up their over 10 000 casualties, Turks and Allied troops regarded each other much more as decent human beings. However, Turkish treatment of prisoners of war was worse than treatment by Germans, French, British or even Russian captors. The chilling account provided by Greg Kerr in his Lost Anzacs is a salutary corrective to the Turkish monument at ANZAC Cove, ‘depicting a Turkish soldier fondly cradling a wounded Australian’, as Rhodes James put it in his Gallipoli. Turkish troops were often threatened with immediate execution if they withdrew and with officers such as Kemal that was no idle threat. On the Allied side General Hunter-Weston recommended the MC to a young subaltern who summarily executed three men for alleged cowardice.
Whilst the Gallipoli campaign was being waged, the ‘Young Turk’ government launched an horrific attack on Armenian civilians, some of whom were suspected of supporting the Allied cause. The Turkish massacre of the Armenians was only exceeded during the century by the Nazi holocaust of Jews and the mass killings ordered by Stalin. Of two million Armenians in Turkey in 1914, Alan Moorehead’s estimate was that ‘three quarters of a million were dead or dying by the time the frantic rage of their tormentors had exhausted itself’ by 1916.
The early fighting
The British commanders in Egypt as well as on the Western Front were reluctant to give the swift backing to the Gallipoli enterprise essential for maximum chances of success. There was abysmal lack of co-ordination between the French and British forces, and between the British naval and military staffs, although things were little better in this respect between German and Turkish officers on the other side. One key difference, however, was that General Sir Ian Hamilton was reluctant to interfere with the immediate commanders in the field, who in their turn were often uncertain about his overall strategic intent, whereas von Sanders forced his decisions on subordinates. Several British officers were brought out of retirement in 1914: the most able were usually used on the Western Front and some appointments to commands at Gallipoli, such as Sir John Stopford, proved disastrous.
Some British operations were carried out skilfully and successfully, such as the organisation of supplies from Egypt, but there was considerable muddle and confusion in the landings. Landing gear, medical supplies, water carriers, and much besides, were all available in the vicinity but rarely where and when most needed. A popular joke among the troops linked Imbros, Mudros and Chaos, the first two being the islands serving as supply bases. Lines of Communication were weak and there was resentment among the troops at reports of creature comforts for the HQ staff at Mudros. Hamilton was for some weeks mainly on HMS Queen Elizabeth and in poor contact with shore operations.
In the first wave of landings in April, 1915, British troops under Hunter-Weston were responsible for landings at Cape Helles, the southern tip of the Peninsula. The core was the regular 29th Division, supported by battalions of recent volunteers. Some landings, such as that at W Beach, met ferocious Turkish gunfire. As the Lancashire Fusiliers tried to reach the beach they lost six officers (including the commanding officer and his next-in-command soon afterwards) and 183 men killed, four officers and 279 men wounded, and 61 men missing, out of 950 who started out. Six VCs, 2 DS0s, 2 MCs and one DCM were awarded at W beach on 25 April. The Dublin Fusiliers, Munster Fusiliers and Hampshire Regiment suffered heavy losses, too, at V Beach under heavy Turkish fire, many being killed as they tried to disembark from the River Clyde.
At X beach the Royal Fusiliers met little Turkish resistance, nor did the South Wales Borderers at S beach, or the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, South Wales Borderers and Plymouth Battalion of Marines at Y beach. Unfortunately, Hunter-Weston thought his task was to land the troops successfully and failed to order immediate progress inland. Thus the Turks had ample opportunity to reinforce their positions, and the belated Allied penetration inland was bitterly contested. At ‘Y Beach’ there was uncertainly whether Lt-Col Koe of the Scottish Borderers or Lt-Col Matthews of the Marines was in command, with the result that no one was effectively in charge. After Koe and many other officers had been killed, some troops panicked and sought evacuation on the boats, even as new troops were being landed and the Turks were retreating because of losses under naval fire.
The Allied dilemma was that energetic attack was the only way of securing victory, and assaults on defended heights immensely bloody, but early aggression might have ensured that the Turks did not occupy positions from which they later dealt out severe punishment. Morale varied greatly from unit to unit. The Border Regiment broke and ran when charged by the Turks on 28 April, whereas the Royal Fusiliers and Royal Scots successfully repelled a similar attack on 1 May. In June the Manchesters, Lancashire Territorials and Worcesters broke through nearly to Krithia, which would have forced a massive Turkish retreat, but Hunter-Weston reinforced the stationary Royal Naval Division, not the advancing units. Hunter-Weston. a martinet who was strangely enough very popular with his men, collapsed in July, leaving behind an army utterly exhausted and incapable of further offensive action. Indian and British losses at Gully Spur on 28 June were even higher than anything at Anzac, but Turkish losses were higher still and the Turks on Helles were close to breaking point.
The landings at Anzac Cove in April were a mile north of those intended. Whether strong currents were to blame, errors by Lieut. Commander Waterlow, the British naval officer directing the landings, or even a late change of plan by Generals Birdwood and Throsby, remains uncertain to this date. Yet the initial landings were successful, since the Turks did not expect them, and two parties of Australian troops under Captains Lalor and Tullock fought their way inland. Lalor was a scion of an old English military family, who had deserted from the Royal Navy, fought in revolutionary wars in South America and then sailed to Australia to enlist in its army. Lalor ordered his men to dig in on hill Baby 700 but they were reported by a scout sent to check on their progress to be ‘smoking and eating as if on a picnic’, one soon interrupted by a murderous Turkish counter-assault. The Australians then counter-attacked up the hill against massive odds and Lalor, wielding an old family sword, was killed with many of his men. An hour’s picnicking exacted a heavy price. Nearly all the Anzac units were handicapped by razor-sharp cliffs and deep ravines, unsuspected since they landed at the wrong beaches and had the wrong maps. They also faced the most able and determined Turkish commander in Kemal.
The main effort of the French troops was on the Asian shore of the Dardanelles, where they captured the fort at Kum Kale previously badly hit by British warships. Turkish troops who went through the motions of surrendering killed the French officer accepting the surrender, following which French troops executed eight Turkish prisoners. The French commanders had problems with their Senegalese regiments, which sometimes fought hard and sometimes surrendered under little pressure. Hamilton had great difficulty in preventing the French commander, General D’Amade, from ordering total evacuation. Some of the French generals, such as General Bailoud, proved very inadequate, but great courage was shown by most of the French forces. At Helles their attack on Kereves Spur, heroic but unavailing, greatly impressed allies and enemies.
The heavy Anzac losses led the Divisional Commanders, Major-General Godley of the New Zealanders and Scottish emigrant Major General Bridges of the Australians, to recommend that Anzac Beach be evacuated. Hamilton instead urged them to dig in, which they did and so ensured that the campaign became immortalised in Australian and New Zealand history. The Australian approach was embodied in Colonel Braund, whose defence of Russell’s Top, overlooking the main landings, probably saved the situation. Braund was accused by New Zealand Colonel Malone of having ‘no defensive position, no plan, nothing but a murderous notion that the only thing to do was to plunge troops out of the neck of the ridge into the jungle beyond’. Braund was soon afterwards shot by an Anzac sentry whose challenge he did not hear. Malone nearly shared the same fate and several Allied troops died in that way. Within a week of the landings the Anzacs suffered 6 554 casualties, including 1 252 dead. The opposing Turks, so their own officers estimated, suffered 14 000 casualties, the majority killed. British Marine reinforcements sent to support the Anzacs were described by General Birdwood on their arrival as ‘nearly useless … special children of Winston Churchill, immature boys with no proper training’, but they proved him wrong and won Anzac respect by scaling and re-capturing Dead Man’s Ridge on the night of 2-3 May after the Australians had been forced to retreat. Within a few days of the Anzac Cove landings, the situation there was relatively quiet, so that Hamilton moved some ANZAC troops south to join in what he hoped would be a critical attack, The Australians lost over a thousand men during an advance of under 600 yards up the steep Krithia Spur on 8 May when their courage made them deeply admired among the Allied troops who had not been at their side at Anzac Cove.
Quite apart from bullets and shells, lice and flies, together with poor food and water shortages, contributed to acute dysentery – the Gallipoli Trots, which affected three out of four Allied troops. Dental disease also became acute. Australians suffered severely from these scourges, partly because they were generally less rigorous in hygiene routine than the British or New Zealanders and partly because they bathed frequently in the contaminated sea. The British, held by the Australians to keep their towels dry, may have benefited for once from aversion to water. On the positive side, British aircraft under Commander Samson, whilst not inflicting a great deal of actual damage, were feared by the Turks and greatly encouraged the Allied troops.
The later fighting
The best Allied military plan at Gallipoli was devised by Lt-Col Skeen, a scholarly Scottish migrant who lectured at Quetta Staff College before the war. It revolved on the capture of Sari Bair Ridge and Chanuk Bair, the heart of the Turkish position. The plan was partially adopted by Hamilton in August: Australians under Walker were to attack the Turkish lines at Lone Pine, whilst the New Zealanders tried to outflank the Turks to the north. At the same time, British and French troops further south at Helles were to attack once more the strong Turkish positions at Krithia and Achi Baba, and other British troops were to land at Suvla Bay north of Anzac Cove.
Execution of the plan was delayed, partly because of the worst accident in the history of railways in Britain, when at Gretna Green on their way south 210 officers and men of the Royal Scots were killed and 224 injured. The attempted break-out from Anzac Cove was planned well, but aerial photographs proved very misleading, since they failed to show a timber cover protecting the Turkish trenches or a steep gully interrupting any advance. In bloody and confused fighting Turks sometimes killed Turks and Australians killed Australians. The Australians came close to a complete breakthrough but were finally overwhelmed with the loss of over 2000 men, the Turks suffering 7000 casualties, in the bloodiest single encounter during the whole campaign. The New Zealanders, Wellington Mounted Rifles and the Auckland Regiment, supported by Gurkhas, Wiltshires and South Wales Borderers, made rapid early progress towards the key point of Sari Bair. Much of their good work was undone by the New Zealand commander, Brig-General Johnson, who ordered a halt until the Canterbury Battalion, which had lost its way, arrived. The New Zealanders’ best scout, Major Overton, was killed during the advance. The Gurkhas broke through their opposing positions and the Turks were nearly encircled, but Johnson’s lack of determination gave the Turks time to reinforce their positions. Johnson’s failure was costly for the Australian 3rd Light Horse, who had to charge the Turkish trenches at The Nek. Furthermore, the Welch Fusiliers, protecting the Light Horse flank, were forced by Turkish bombs back down the hill they were trying to climb. The Light Horse lost 372 out of 600 officers and men from Turkish fire within minutes. The New Zealanders, Welsh Fusiliers and Gloucesters fared no better: only 70 out of 760 New Zealanders survived unwounded, the 8th Welsh Fusiliers lost 17 officers and 400 men, and the 7th Gloucesters lost every officer and sergeant and over 350 other men. The Turks, too, suffered heavily in these battles, but Kemal threw all his reserves into the biggest assault of the campaign on 10 August at Chanuk Bair and The Pinnacle against the Allied front trenches in the Anzac section. None of the British troops, mainly Wiltshires, survived the assault.
The British, French and Indian troops at Helles did their part in the August plan, but lost heavily in assaults on strong Turkish positions. The key weakness was the Suvla Bay landings. Blame lies mainly on Hamilton, who surrounded his plans in an air of secrecy: Turkish spies knew more of his plans than did his own commanders in the field, let alone his junior officers. Hamilton fatally changed the initial instructions to Stopford to read: ‘your primary objective will be to secure Suvla Bay as a base for all the forces operating in the northern zone …. If it is possible, without prejudice to the attainment of your primary objective, to gain possession of these hills at an early period of your attack, it will greatly facilitate the capture and retention of Hill 305′. The original plan was justified if surprise was achieved and rapid advance took place to occupy the ridges overlooking the bay, but Stopford felt he had done great deeds if his forces simply managed a successful landing.
Many of the British troops landed on August 6 at Suvla Bay were inexperienced and had never undertaken a night landing before. Many suffered severe reactions after cholera inoculations. Some landings took place significant distances from the intended points, so that the troops were faced with landmarks they did not recognise. One battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers lost 60 per cent of its officers and 20 per cent of its rank and file between the night landing and the following noon. However, at other landing points there was little resistance and 20 000 men were put safely ashore. Had they advanced resolutely inland, they might have captured with relatively few casualties the positions at. Kiretch Tepe and Tekke Tepe. Instead for a day and a half several units loafed around the beach waiting for instructions and unaware that the heavy fighting a few miles to the south could only succeed if they attacked the Turkish positions quickly and vigorously. An East Yorkshire officer and signaller climbed to the top of Tekke Topi and reported it unoccupied, but the message never reached Hamilton or any senior commanders. The troops at Suvla Bay were short of water and were soon blisteringly hot, but staying on the beaches did not help them or the other Allied forces. The positions they should have attacked were soon occupied by Turkish gunners who rained down fire on the Suvla beaches. The East Yorkshires were shot to pieces from heights they themselves could well have occupied. A few days later, Hamilton and General de Lisle, who replaced the demoralised Stopford, decided on a further major attack at Suvla across the Salt Lake which forced the Turks to bring in their last reserves, but British losses were over 5000 and no significant advance was made. The last realistic chance to occupy the Gallipoli Peninsula was gone.
Hamilton’s replacement, Sir Charles Monro, did not take long to decide that the Gallipoli positions could not be held, let alone extended to threaten the Straits and Constantinople, without massive injections of men, artillery and ships which were not going to be made available. Unfairly blamed by Churchill for limp capitulation, Monro took the decision which enabled the remaining Allied troops to fight another day, which many did on the Western Front and Middle East.
As winter set in, instead of flies and sunstroke, the troops suffered from frostbite and extreme cold. At Suvla there were over 12 000 cases of frostbite and exposure, nearly 3000 at Anzac Cove and 1000 at Helles. One junior officer found 30 Worcesters frozen to death in a single trench. Heavy seas made supplies harder to land and any withdrawal more difficult week by week. Those for staying on argued that bad conditions at sea meant that losses in trying to withdraw might well be as high as a third of the troops. In the event, the withdrawal from Gallipoli was perhaps the most successful part of the expedition. Monro ordered withdrawal first from the Suvla and Anzac positions, both of which were under heavy Turkish counter-attack. Between 14 and 18 December 80 000 men, together with most of their guns and stores, were shipped out without the Turks being aware that a withdrawal was taking place. The Helles withdrawal took place only after one of the most ferocious Turkish assaults of the campaign. Von Sanders did not want the Allied troops to escape without loss as at Anzac and Suvla, but his assault against the British 13th Division holding Gully Spur was met with tremendous resistance: the Turkish losses were never revealed. 164 British casualties were the price of ensuring the complete withdrawal of over 35 000 men from Helles. Nearly 4 000 horses and mules were shipped out as well. The French battleship Suffren managed to sink a large Allied transport ship, but fortunately before it had been filled with departing soldiers.
Can Gallipoli be Justified?
The Turkish command was lax in record keeping and the official Turkish figures of 86 692 killed and 164 617 wounded or missing are likely to be a significant under-estimate. Rhodes James suggested that Turkish total losses were about 300 000. Estimates of the British and Dominion losses lie between 198 000 and 215 000, with something like 46 000 dead. Hell’s Foundation by Geoffrey Moorhouse, describes most movingly the effects of the campaign on Bury, the depot town of the Lancashire Fusiliers. Losses in Kitchener’s ‘New Army’ affected particular towns very badly, since many workmates and school friends enlisted together in ‘pals’ or ‘chums’ units and often died together as well. The Australian dead were about 7 600 and the wounded and missing about 18 500, the New Zealanders about 2 450 dead and 5 150 dead and missing. French casualties were probably about 50 000. These were dreadful losses compared with British campaigns during the previous century, although relatively light compared with the slaughter on the western and eastern fronts in Europe.
The British Royal Commissions which reported in 1917 and 1918 described the operations as ill-conceived and ineptly executed, with thousands of lives needlessly squandered. This view was held, too, by A. P. Herbert, General Sir William Robertson and, in Australia, Charles Bean. Churchill led opposition to this view, especially in The World Crisis, and other efforts to rehabilitate Gallipoli were made by Hamilton, Admiral Roger Keyes, John Masefield and Ernest Raymond. Their view gained some backing when it became known that at two or three times in the early exchanges, the Turkish forces were close to retreat and defeat. ‘Optimists’ still hold that with more energy in mine-sweeping the Allied fleet could have passed into the Sea of Marmara before the landings took place. ‘History’ seldom makes a final decision on such matters.
Alan Moorehead, referring to the ‘constantly repeated belief that posterity would never forget’ exploits such as those at Gallipoli, asked in 1956, ‘who in this generation has ever heard of Lancashire Landing or the third battle of Krithia? He answered, ‘Even as names they have almost vanished out of memory’. Now the ‘almost’ can be omitted so far as the Tommies and French and Indian troops are concerned. Perhaps because Australia and New Zealand have less of a burden of history to carry, Gallipoli is still remembered in the Antipodes. This is as it should be, but there can be no just cause for any Australian or New Zealander to denigrate the sacrifices of British and other Allied lives in the common cause.
Distorted propaganda is usually at its height during wars but corrected in later years. In the case of Gallipoli the opposite occurred. The official Australian war historian, Charles Bean, was reluctant to hint that Australians were ever less than heroic, and in the interests of maintaining good relationships with Australia, Cecil Aspinall-Oglander, the official British war historian, toned down even implied criticisms of any Australian action. As Rhodes James observed, the result of massaging the truth was an ‘Australian mythology that Gallipoli was an Australian triumph thrown away by incompetent British commanders’. Far worse distortions disfigure the Peter Weir film Gallipoli, which seeks to contrast cowardly and idle British troops with ANZAC heroes. Some British troops did bathe and drink tea at Suvla Bay whilst horrific fighting was taking place a few miles to the south, but others were as fully engaged in that conflict as New Zealanders and Australians. Rhodes James noted that the ‘suicidal assault’ of the Australian Light Horse at The Nek on 7 August 1915 ‘had nothing to do with the British landing at Suvla, but was intended to help the New Zealanders, as the film’s military advisers knew’. However, ‘the principal Australian sponsor of the film wanted an anti-British ending, and got it’, with ‘the deliberately inaccurate final scenes’ of the film, a potent source of Australian republican sentiments. Few Australians realise that ‘the British, French and Indian causalities were far greater than those of the Anzacs, and that the British bore the brunt of the fighting – and the losses.’
Far from covering up British errors, British historians exposed them at every level, from Kitchener, Churchill, Fisher and Hamilton down. The indecisiveness of the naval commanders , the muddle at Imbros, the incapacity of Sir Frederick Stopford, and every other British failing, were laid bare to the world. This is as it should be, if anyone is to benefit from past errors, but in 2001 British people, no more or less than Australians and New Zealanders, can take pride in heroic deeds at Gallipoli, as indeed can French, Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi people. We should not allow latter-day propagandists to sow seeds of unwarranted resentment between peoples whose ancestors fought with great courage in a common cause.
The United Kingdom Settlers’ Association survey of British migrant needs was completed in 1999, with financial assistance from the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs.
As a result of very extensive publicity, almost 11% of the British-born “usual residents” of the City of Melbourne completed survey forms.
The largest group of respondents was aged 20 to 49. 53% were female and 47% male, which possibly reflects the clustering of jobs in the “caring industries” in and around the City.
There were no apparent differences between the perceptions of male and female respondents.
74% of respondents were pleased that they had chosen to migrate to Australia. 78% reported that Australians had been welcoming and friendly. 32% even felt that they were now more Australian than British.
These results indicate that the survey did not attract a disproportionate number of malcontents. It would seem that the respondents represented a genuine cross-section of British migrants, and that their response to the migration experience was, overall, very positive.
Given this strong endorsement of their Australian experience, it is alarming that several of the questions elicited considerably negative responses. These responses need to be considered separately, but in general they suggest aspects of the British migrant experience that need to be addressed.
First, 43% of respondents felt they had not been adequately advised and prepared for migration. The main reported information deficiencies related to housing, children’s education, and the Australian medical system.
To address this problem it was recommended that DIMA should make a greater effort to inform prospective migrants of what to expect, particularly in the fields listed above. It was also recommended that DIMA assist British migrant community organisations to provide appropriate advice and information services to British migrants, both before and after arrival. Finally, in 2004 the British Australian Community (formerly known as the UKSA) created an exhaustive web page for prospective migrants.
The other issues that elicited a significant negative response tend to be inter-related.
35% felt that the Australian media “create or reinforce negative stereotypes about British migrants”
24% believed there was generalised discrimination against British migrants
39% claimed to be aware of discrimination “in favour of” people of non-British origin
37% disagreed with the statement that “Complaints by British migrants are taken just as seriously as complaints by other groups within the community”
The UKSA made appropriate recommendations to deal with these problem areas exposed by the survey.
The media was also informed of these results, which led to many reports being run in newspapers and on radio.
The President of the then-UKSA was invited to contribute an article to The Australian daily newspaper, which was run on 28th April 1999 on page 15, opposite the letters page.
In October 2000 the Immigration Minister, Phillip Ruddock, announced that every skilled British migrant adds (on average) $8,250 in value to Australia every year, years after year after year. By the same reckoning, each refugee costs Australia $5,5000 every year.
On this basis, the 18,272 British Isles migrants who arrived in 2003-4 are enriching Australia by $150,744,000 every year (to which an allowance for inflation since 2000 should be added).
The problem for Australia is that about 30% of British migrants who come here with the intention of enriching Australia for the rest of their lives end up returning to their original homeland – as a result, largely, of Anglophobia.
Clearly, Anglophobia is not a joke. It is costing Australia something like an extra 45 million dollars forfeited every year. That is to say, 45 million in the first year we choose to look at, then 90 million in the second year, then 135 million, then 180 million, then 225 million. That is just five years. It simply goes on and on, for the lifetime of those people who changed their minds about enriching Australia.
To put it even more simply, for every single British migrant who leaves Australia because of Anglophobic discrimination, Australia will be impoverished to the tune of at least a quarter of a million dollars over the next 30 years. (This figure does not even allow for compounding.)
We suggest that the next time you hear an Anglophobe sounding off on radio or television, or read one venting his or her personal inadequacies in the print media, you should send them a copy of this page. These anti-British people are clearly sabotaging the Australian economy.
There are many threats to the British migrant presence in contemporary Australia. This site will keep you up-dated on some of them. For the moment, read about a sad man called Harold Scruby …
Harold Scruby is the executive director of an outfit called Ausflag. You’ve probably heard of him. He’s always writing to newspapers, complaining about the existence of the Union Jack in the corner of the Australian flag.
Now Harold has another bee in his bonnet. He also supports the idea of Australia changing from a constitutional monarchy to a republic. He fears that the 300,000 to 500,000 British migrants who haven’t taken up Australian citizenship here (and whom he calls “a handful of foreigners”) might not support his republic.
According to Harold’s calculations, in any future referendum NSW, Victoria and Tasmania are likely to vote against the current constitutional arrangement, while WA and Queensland will vote to retain the Australian constitution. At least four of the six states have to vote for any proposed change to the constitution. That leaves South Australia as the key state.
The problem is that South Australia has the largest percentage of British subjects of any state, and Harold fears they would vote against a republic because “their loyalties lie elsewhere”. His proposed solution is to strip British subjects of their right to vote in Australia.
The people who would be affected all came to Australia several decades ago. They have made Australia their home, creating jobs here, paying taxes here, and raising families here. Regardless of Harold Scruby’s fantasies, they will obviously vote for whatever they think is best for Australia.
“Anglophobia” is a medical condition in which someone suffers an irrational fear of the English. Harold Scruby appears to have a bad dose of it. It’s time he sought treatment.
Six hundred and fifty years ago, the Black Death was stalking Europe. It arrived on ships from Asia, carried by fleas that had infected rats on board the ships. Before it burned itself out, the epidemic had killed about a third of the European population.
Today, another plague – AIDS – has ravaged the world. Although it seems very different from the Black Death, there is one eerie similarity. Both the Black Death bacteria, Yersinia pestis, and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, home in on macrophages, which are scavenger white blood cells of the immune system.
Now, in a provocative report, scientists at the National Cancer Institute in Frederick, Md., say they have found that a genetic mutation that protects against the AIDS virus, by preventing the virus from entering macrophages, emerged in Europe around the time of the Black Death. And, they have found, this AIDS resistance gene is astonishingly common in people whose ancestors lived in areas of Europe that were ravaged by the Black Death.
The HIV resistance gene destroys a protein, called CCR5, that pokes out of the surface of macrophages, the large white blood cells that can engulf and kill viruses and bacteria.
Scientists have discovered that when HIV infects a person, the virus goes straight to the white blood cells and in particular the macrophages, latches onto CCR5 and another protein, CD4, to hoist itself inside.
It lives there for about a decade, throwing off billions of genetic variants. Eventually it makes a variant that can get into another type of white blood cell, the T cells. Then the infected person’s immune system starts to decline, and the terrible symptoms of AIDS appear.
People who inherit two copies of the HIV resistance gene can only be infected with HIV if they happen to come in contact with a virus from someone in the late stages of infection, when the virus can go straight for the T cells, said Dr. Stephen J. O’Brien, who is chief of the Laboratory of Genomic Diversity at the cancer institute.
O’Brien and others have found that 10 percent of Caucasians have a copy of the gene, which slows the progress of HIV infections by several years, and one percent have two copies, which provides nearly complete immunity to HIV.
The HIV resistance gene is most common among British and other northern European people, and declines in frequency further south. Thus, it is present in almost 14 percent of Swedes but appears in only about 5 percent of Italians and is absent in Saudi Arabia. It is absent in Africans, American Indians and Asians. The gene emerged in the Caucasian population long after Caucasians split from Asians, which was about 50,000 to 100,000 years ago, O’Brien said. And so, although the bubonic plague began in Asia, the HIV resistance gene is not there.
By GINA KOLATA
N.Y. Times, May 26, 1998
Since this article first appeared, it has also been discovered that a gene variant called HLA-B*35px, which is associated with fast progression from HIV to AIDS, is common among people of Indian origin. This means that vaccines tested on people of British Isles and Northern European descent may well have no effect on the more than 5 million Indians who are HIV-positive.
Update on AIDS
It is now known that the CCR5-delta32 allele, which confers strong resistance or perhaps even total immunity to the HIV virus, is found in significant frequencies only in populations of European descent.
This natural genetic immunity means that if HIV were to mutate so as to be able to spread through droplet infection, thus potentially exposing everyone in the world, a significant number of us would survive.
Within Europe itself the frequencies are highest in the north, which has led some researchers to think the allele was spread by the Vikings. Others disagree. At any rate, the -Δ35 allele is most common among people of racially Nordic type. The frequencies for different populations within Europe are shown in the chart above, with the darkest-coloured areas having the highest CCR5-Δ32 resistance.
The precise percentages would be higher than in the chart here, because the researchers have tested people living in the different parts of these zones without regard to their race or sub-race. The large-scale presence of non-Europeans in some of these regions would obviously drag down the overall percentages.
If only racially Nordic people were tested, the frequency would obviously be higher. Take England, for example. The research done so far suggests that of the total population of England about 10% to 12% have the -Δ35 allele. However, according to the 2011 census, only 44.9 per cent of Londoners were “white British”. Of the 53 million people living in England in 2011, just under 80% claimed to be “white British” — let’s say about 42 million.
To use the average of the estimated range, if 11% of the total population has the -Δ32 allele, that comes to 5.83 million individuals. These represent nearly 14% of the total “white British” population. However, probably only racially Nordic white Britons are immune.
Early 20th century anthropologists estimated that 80% of the genuine English were Nordic, but differential breeding rates have probably reduced that figure to perhaps 50% by now. 50% of 42 million is 21 million, of which the 5.83 million who are immune equal nearly 28%.
To sum up so far: at least 14 per cent of British-descended people are genetically protected against HIV. The real figure is probably much higher — maybe in the region of 28% for racially Nordic Britons.
These figures aren’t as accurate as they might look on paper, since the 2011 census was based on self-identification. Many people who wouldn’t be regarded as entirely “white” by a geneticist will have chosen to identify with the “white” portion of their mixed ancestry. (But that self-identification won’t give them the -Δ35 allele.)
However, should the HIV virus mutate such that the whole world is exposed to it, somewhere between 14% and 28% of people with pure British ancestry would survive.
It’s important to stress that this applies as much to people in the overseas “white British” diaspora as it does to people living in the U.K. itself.
Take Australia, for example. In 2011 its total population was 22.34 million. Of these, 50.6% claimed to be of English, Scottish or Irish ancestry. (A further 35% claimed “Australian” ancestry, which is too vague to consider here.) 50.6% of 23.34 million is 11.81 million. 14% of that figure is just over 1.65 million. So in a hypothetical AIDS apocalypse, at least 1.65 million “white British” Australians would survive. This is a minimum survival figure, since it doesn’t include Australians of Scandinavian, Dutch, Baltic, German or similar descent — or many (probably most) of the 35% who wrote “Australian” in the census. It also doesn’t take account of the Nordic percentage of the broader white Australian population.
Even so, for perspective, in the year of Federation the total population of Australia was estimated at 3.76 million. Therefore at the very worst AIDS might cull the population to just under half of those alive in 1901. That’s still more than enough to ensure that the island continent remain inhabited and civilised.
A similar calculation could be made for countries such as New Zealand, Canada and the U.S., not to mention the nations of northern Europe. But it’s hardly necessary.
The World Health Organization estimates that about 39 million people have died of AIDS so far, even though in its present form it is hard to catch. If HIV ever mutates into an airborne disease, the resultant deaths will therefore be in their billions.
Yet no matter what happens, enough people of British and related origin will survive an AIDS apocalypse to ensure that “the world’s great age begins anew”.
Chief Justice Murray Gleeson
Justice Bill Gummow
Justice Ken Hayne
Justice Mary Gaudron
These are the four judges of the High Court of Australia who ruled, on the 23rd of June 1999, that Britain is a “foreign power”. (The remaining three judges dissented, arguing that the High Court had no right to address the issue in question.)
For those who may have missed it, the issue was the election of a Queensland senator, Ms Heather Hill, a British migrant. She had taken up Australian citizenship, but had failed to “renounce” her British citizenship.
A Chinese migrant, Chuck Hong, had complained that by not renouncing her original citizenship, the senator-elect failed to comply with section 44 of the Australian Constitution.
Section 44 excludes certain people from representing us in parliament. They cannot be undischarged bankrupts or insolvent. They cannot have been attainted of treason, or convicted and subject to sentence for an offence carrying a jail sentence of at least one year. They cannot be under allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power.
The High Court effectively ruled that Heather Hill could not assume her elected responsibilities because (a) she had not “renounced” her British citizenship, even though she was a naturalised Australian, and (b) Britain had been a “foreign power” since at least 1986, when the Australia Acts were passed.
At a single stroke the High Court ruling officially made second-class citizens of over a million British-born residents of Australia.
Other migrants are also affected. Some countries, such as Greece, do not allow renunciation of citizenship under any circumstances – even by children born here of Australian/Greek parents. It has been estimated in the print media that up to five million Australian residents may be barred from public office as a result of this ruling.
What, we must ask, does this mean for British migrants who are permanent residents of Australia?
First, it means that even if we have taken up Australian citizenship we must go through the motions of formally “renouncing” our British citizenship.
Yet the repudiation process has no validity in British law. By virtue of s.12 of the British Nationalities Act 1981 it is theoretically possible to renounce British citizenship. But it’s just a farce. No matter what contrived declarations we may make here, we still remain British subjects. Think about it …
There is ample precedent for this, the best-known probably being the case of “Lord Haw Haw”, who first acquired American citizenship, and then German citizenship at a time when Britain and Germany were at war, but who was still tried in the U.K. after that war for treason. No-one could have given a clearer indication of his desire to “renounce” British citizenship. The British government hanged him anyway.
None of our readers will be tried for treason, but that is, in theory, the acid test. If the circumstances were extreme enough, could, and would, the British government try for treason a migrant to Australia who had “renounced” her original citizenship under s.12 of the British Nationalities Act 1981? The answer is clearly yes. In an atmosphere of fear and loathing, as applied in the Lord Haw Haw case, does anyone really believe that “renunciation” of citizenship under s.12 would make the slightest difference?
Clearly not. Therefore the High Court-preferred process is a sham – and a very undignified one. We are being asked to pretend to deny our legal identity.
Then there is the question of second-generation British migrants. They are automatically Australian citizens as a consequence of having been born here, but many Australian-born children of British parents are entitled to British citizenship.
Those who take up this right, for the purpose of study or travel or work or whatever, will presumably be in the same situation as Heather Hill.
What of those who don’t? They’re banned too! Section 44 of the Constitution says: “Any person who … is under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power … shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives”.
Those of us who are not politically inclined might say they don’t particularly want to stand for the Senate or the House of Representatives. That is not the point. The point is that we are now banned from doing so. And so are most of our children.
What about voting rights? Those of us who have not taken up Australian citizenship – and what is the point now? – but were on the Commonwealth electoral roll before January 1984 will still be entitled to vote. That is, until a new High Court sitting on a different issue uses the June 1999 ruling as a precedent, and decides that we’re not entitled to vote, either.
What’s next? Well, perhaps we shouldn’t be entitled to jobs in which our status as people “entitled to the rights of citizens or subjects of a foreign power” might disqualify us. Like, say, the defence forces, the public service, the police, the education industry? It is already the case that promotion beyond certain levels in these careers is banned to migrants who haven’t taken out Australian citizenship. It is only a short step to applying the June 1999 Heather Hill precedent to these and other areas of employment.
The irony, of course, is that migrants from some groups who have had nothing to do with the development of Australia will be exempt from any such provisions.
Welcome to being a second-class citizen in your own country!
– Alan James
Did you hear about the bigot who hates all things English? He makes a good living in the concreting business, because almost everything in the city depends on this industry. It’s just a pity that reinforced concrete was invented by W.B. Wilkinson in Newcastle, England.
Our bigot’s home uses electric power generated by steam turbines, which were invented by Sir Charles Parsons. Many of his home appliances use electric motors, which were invented by Londoner Michael Faraday. These range from vacuum cleaners, the invention of Englishman Hubert Booth, to sewing machines, invented by Englishman Charles Weisenhall back in 1755.
Not all of his appliances run on electric motors, though. There’s his microwave oven, based on the magnetron invented by Sir John Randall and Dr H A H Boot at Birmingham University. Or his modern central heating unit, designed by Englishman A H Barker. Even his TV set, the brainchild of Englishman Shelford Bidwell, while its production depended on the invention of the cathode-ray tube by London physicist Sir William Crookes.
All these things reminded our bigot too much of England, so he turned on his radio for news from some country more to his liking. It didn’t help much though, because he remembered that satellite radio transmitters are powered by fuel cells invented by the English chemist Francis T Bacon.
He thought of expressing his frustration by writing an angry letter. But it wouldn’t go anywhere without the postal system, created in London by Sir Rowland Hill. That is, unless he chose to send his letter by e-mail on a computer – the brainchild of Englishman Charles Babbage.
Our bigot briefly considered getting away from it all, flying off to some remote place with nothing to remind him of English genius. But then he recalled that modern jet aircraft engines were designed by English test pilot Sir Frank Whittle.
He decided to do some home chores. So he thought of washing the dishes – but his sink is stainless steel, invented by Englishman Sir Harry Brearly. And some of his utensils are made of plastic, the brainchild of Birmingham professor Alexander Parkes.
Desperate to avoid the brilliance of the English, he headed out of doors – passing on the way out his modern WC, designed by Londoner Alexander Cummings. The lawn was a bit overgrown because he couldn’t bring himself to use a lawn mower, originally designed by Edwin Budding of Gloucestershire. That’s why he scraped himself, and was briefly glad that his tetanus shots were up to date – until he remembered that immunisation was discovered by Dr Edward Jenner, another Gloucestershire man.
All this contact with things English might well give him a heart attack. It’s just as well that he’s been fitted with a cardiac pacemaker, the invention of English surgeon W H Walshe.
Perhaps by this stage our bigot is secretly wishing that he could have a transfusion of good Anglo-Saxon blood. Well, it can be arranged – thanks to James Blundell, who pioneered blood transfusions at Guy’s Hospital, London. But whether that would turn him into a creative Englishman is another question altogether.
On 23/2/2011 the (Melbourne) Herald Sun newspaper published the results of a very large study which concluded that Australian residents of all racial, religious and ethnic backgrounds particularly disliked specific groups of other Australian residents.
The study, released by Kevin Dunn of the University of Western Sydney, was conducted over 12 years and involved 12,500 respondents.
According to the study the most disliked group, rejected by 48.6% of the general population, is Muslims.
Aborigines are disliked by 27.9%
Black Africans are disliked by 27.0%
Asians are disliked by 23.8%
Jews are disliked by 23.3%
Italians are disliked by 11.0%
Christians are disliked by 9.7%
British people are disliked by 7.8%
That last figure is alarming. Within the lifetime of some readers, Australia was an overwhelmingly British nation. Even during the period of massive immigration after World War 2, people from the United Kingdom and Ireland were by far the largest group of immigrants to Australia. People from other northern European nations were a clear second.
Therefore it is extremely unlikely that the 7.8% of the Aussie population which dislikes British people are “traditional Australians”. Equally, it is very likely that this 7.8% is mostly made up of people from more recent migrant waves, such as those from the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
If that’s the case, then another way of expressing it would be to say that we now have a core group here, 7.8% of the total population, who hate Anglo-Celts.
These people are having more children than the rest of us, and they are coming here in greater numbers, so obviously their numbers will continue to increase — and therefore so will Anglophobia.