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Nostalgia Was Better When I Was Young!

I remember a comment from someone who was complaining that Australia was being held hostage to political correctness and we couldn’t say “Merry Christmas” or sing “God Save The Queen” at the start of events…

I did point out that it may have been the change in the national anthem to “Advance Australia Fair” in 1984 which had led to nobody starting events with “God Save The Queen”. I wondered if he was actually making the comment or just copying something he’d read about the United Kingdom.

Well, the other day somebody posted this on Facebook:


Mm, that sort of rang a bell.

I mean, I did remember standing in primary school and reciting something about God and my country and cheerfully obeying my parents, teachers and the law, as the free milk soured in the sun.

Anyway I looked up exactly what was said and it went:

“I love God and my country, I honour the flag, I will serve the Queen, and cheerfully obey my parents, teachers and the law”.

So we didn’t do anything apart from “loving” our country and “honouring” the flag. The pledge was to serve the Queen and to be cheerfully obedient to the forces who would oppress us. We didn’t do it every day; we only did it once a week (on Monday), and it wasn’t the Australian “anthem”. We didn’t have an anthem until 1984 apart from “God Save The Queen”. Neither did we put our hands on our hearts. And the word “indivisible” was familiar, but…


Ah yes, “One nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all”!

Yes, it seems that this Australian Superman is fighting for Truth, Justice and the American way!

It didn’t take long to find the original on the Internet:

pledge j

Now I’m not sure at what point one can say that something is plagiarism, but I think you’ll agree that there’s only two possibilities here: Large chunks were copied, or there’s strong evidence for the collective unconscious.

So as I understand it, the writer of the Australian version (or plagiarist, if you feel there’s too little original material to refer to him as a writer) seems to be saying that unless you re-post something which is largely borrowed from the United States, then one isn’t truly patriotic. Yes, we need to go back to the days that we remember from watching “Leave It To Beaver” that “Father Knows Best” and we were one nation under God with equal rights for anyone no matter which part of the bus you were on. Where our kids happily pledged allegiance to whomsoever we told them to, when we were one nation under God and where we weren’t to our proms with our hearts held high because we knew that this nation was truly great and we asked not what it could do for us, but what we could do for America!

Of course, even the American version of the demand to re-post is a bit strange given I can find no record of any state ceasing the pledge of allegiance in their schools, but hey, why let the facts get in the way of a good rant. Just like the rest of that anti-PC bandwagon which is totally outraged that people are outraged by what they say and they never stop complaining about people who complain, we remember a time when difference wasn’t tolerated and we don’t like this time where people tell us that not to say things that are offensive. We want to go back to the days when everyone had good manners, including teenagers and everyone knew their place. Honestly, as Mark Latham told us, it’s got so you can’t beat your wife in the street without someone trying to make you feel bad about it or lower your self-esteem.

Well, as 26th January approaches, I’m continuing my campaign to have the name changed to Rum Rebellion Day. For those of you whose knowledge of history is sketchy: the Rum Rebellion was the day that Governor Bligh was overthrown for being too sure of himself, and it just happens to be January 26th. I think that any day that the people rise up is much more worthy of celebration than the anniversary of a lot of unwanted boat people landing in Sydney.

By the way, did you know that Turnbull’s middle name is “Bligh”? Just a bit of trivia, I’m not suggesting that we try to overthrow him, because that could be considered sedition!


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  1. Steve Laing

    So true! What about the alleged political correctness campaigns to make it Citizens Day, or to say Happy Holidays. Yet there is no evidence outside of the Murdoch media of any such campaigns. Are some people just gullible, or do they just love to show righteous indignation at the drop of a hat?

    I today saw a post from a chap I know about how we should not forget the Holocaust, yet the same person occasionally posts about banning burquas. Where do you start?

  2. mars08

    Australia is blessed and cursed by sharing a language with the US. With the arrival of cheap, efficient, fast and easy global communications…. it’s getting to be more of a curse than a blessing. The amoral American ruling class, it’s mindless, sensationalist media, and it’s angry, paranoid trailer trash are steering that nation down a terrible path… and far too many Australians are keen to go along for the ride.

  3. David Stephens

    At Blackburn North Primary School, Vic, we did put our hands on our hearts.

  4. Florence nee Fedup

    It was easy back then. One as a child done as told. Children meant to be seen but not heard.

    Allowed all types abuse to flourished.

    Convention that what happened in the family stayed in the family, to be protected and enforced by mother made for wonderful childhood for many.

    Respectful families turned up each Sunday in their best clothes for church.

  5. diannaart

    Those big “L” libs so cuddly and traditional and all.

    Selecting good, solid, god-fearing (whatever that means) Christian names, full of stiff lips and doughty, fearless men – mens’ men, all proud and true:

    John Winston Howard

    and now

    Malcolm Bligh Turnbull

    Sometimes I think I have never left Ole Blighty – which is interesting because I’ve never been there.

  6. Sen Nearly Ile

    i am an aust
    i love my country
    I salute her flag
    i honour our queen
    i promise to obey her laws
    hard to remember but the actions included a nazi salute, hand on heart, the swearing on bible position and ?????
    But in south australia no god
    ps I got to school as soon after 7 as I could and had breakfast of my milk and three of my friends who were rich enough to have breakfast

  7. Zathras

    Before the “hand on the heart” gesture, the original US Pledge of Allegiance included the Bellamy Salute, which was identical to the Nazi salute.

    Soldiers use their hand to cover their medals at ceremonies that acknowledge fallen comrades.

    As for respecting the flag, ours has become little more than a logo. The US flag cannot be used in specific ways but ours can be worn as a cape, we lie on it on the beach, use it to dry wet dishes or have it printed into thongs so it can be walked on.

    I recall having to speak some sort of oath to Queen and Country in Primary School back in the early sixties. It was pretty hollow back then and has lost even more relevance now.

    Back in those days, people were kept happily ignorant, women and blacks knew their place and “poofter bashing” was just a type of macho sport.

    Nostalgia has its limits and tends to ignore inconvenient truths. It’s not as good as we think it is.

    What worries me the most is that one day we may be looking back at these as “the good old days”.

  8. corvus boreus

    (Hand to heart, head bowed) “I honour my god, I serve my Queen, I salute the flag”.

    The first time primary school that I chose not mumble those words with downcast eyes in a show of meaningless obedience, but instead, stood silent with my head held high in proud but nervous rebellion, I was greatly heartened when a teacher caught my eye and, oh so subtly, nodded and winked.

  9. Kevin Brewer

    The idea of celebrating the overthrow of Bligh is abhorrent, I would rather not. However, had MacArthur or Johnson been hanged for treason I would be open to celebrating that. A day like that would be a suitable national day as it would have been the assertion of the rule of law and the rights of citizens over the money power.

    That we were kept ignorant, ‘back in those days’, is simply not true and shows some of the ignorance of those who post these little signs all over our Facebook pages. By the time I left school in the early 60s I think I knew more about the geography and history of the world than any generation since. Yes, we did our flag saluting, but in South Australia we sang a song written in that state which is better musically and lyrically than the present piece of doggerel. I never took the little ceremony to heart, never loved of my country right or wrong, I have always been a very reluctant flag waver, even years ago when I was in the army. And I still think patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. However, if the scoundrels would like to pass around the plate, for a decent pittance, I will gladly leave. Not sure where I would go as my people have been here for more than 175 years. Maybe somewhere where the weather is better, just south of the Arctic Circle. But kept in the dark, we weren’t. Like today, knowledge then was acquired by work. If you didn’t want to do the work, you could be as ignorant as you liked. Just like today; but unlike today, you could be quiet about it and not get harassed into conformity.

  10. Fiona

    Rossleigh & Kevin,

    I agree with both of you, for different reasons.

    Rossleigh: Given the history of politics in New South Wales (both major parties) from colonial times to the present, Rum Rebellion Day is more than apposite.

    Kevin: Bligh was a good governor in an invidious situation. Hanging MacArthur – one of the earliest and most rapacious of our many rapacious kleptocrats? Nah, he should have received the full monty: hanging, drawing, then quartering.

  11. Florence nee Fedup

    When I first attended one teacher school, I can still remember thinking how stupid singing to a flag was. God save the King then. No idea why. Haven’t changed my opinion since.

  12. Florence nee Fedup

    I can’t help but respect and admire Mrs MacArthur for the work she done. For achievements her husband was given credit for.

  13. iggy648

    Corvus, yours is incomplete with only 3 components: “I honour my god, I serve my Queen, I salute my flag”. The full gig at my school had 4 components: “I honour my god, I serve my Queen, I salute my flag, hands down”. I can never understand why USAnians feel the need to put their hand over their left breast during their anthem, but I really cringe when I see Australians who feel the need to copy them.

  14. Susan

    Milk souring in the sun….. I remember so well.
    Rum Rebellion day….. I love it?

  15. billie11

    Wasn’t Bligh’s commission from the Crown to protect the small settler and freed convict.
    Wasn’t MacArthur and co annoyed that they couldn’t turn the Antipodes into a slave culture
    I refer to the current government as the Rum Corps every time I hear of them outsourcing jobs, hacking the social safety net

  16. Wally

    From a musical perspective Advance Australia Fair is a piece of trash compared with God Save the King (Queen) which has changes in tempo, crescendos and diminuendos which as well as making it much more interesting also make it worthy of being a National Anthem.

    By definition an anthem is “a rousing or uplifting song identified with a particular group, body, or cause”. I don’t think Advance Australia Fair is a song you can get “roused” by. Waltzing Matilda is a very rousing, happy, cheerful song that could be great National Anthem, an anthem with the ability to unite people rather than polarising them.

  17. Bacchus

    A song about a sheep thief Wally? 😉

  18. diannaart


    “God Save the King (Queen)

    Thought you were far younger or are you in preparation for Charles?

  19. Lee

    In South Australia in the early 70s we marched to assembly!

  20. Jennifer Fay Gow

    When I went to school we had the dreadful English national anthem but no silly pledge of allegiance. As for the hand on the heart, that’s imported American crap.

  21. Wally


    I said it was a song that unites people have you not heard the saying “thick as thieves”? We are a nation that has evolved from convicts and thieves. Waltzing Matilda was considered when our National Anthem was changed.


    At school I played the National Anthem in the school band 3 mornings each week, God Save the King is the correct title of the sheet music, I assume the song was written when there was a king. Definitely not that old QEII has ruled my entire life.

  22. diannaart

    Who am I to disagree? Of course that was the title of the sheet music – what else could it have been?

    …and this topic is about tradition, therefore,

    Women; the afterthought in His-story


  23. Wally


    “Women; the afterthought in His-story”

    Fair comment but we have come a long way in the last 100 years.

    It probably wouldn’t even have been considered when QEII took the throne but if she became the ruler in more modern times how could you make everybody happy? Changing the words to the song from king to queen would have some saying a female ruler deserves a truly female anthem, one written for her while others would say that changing the anthem is denying equality.

    The British National Anthem dates back to the eighteenth century.

    ‘God Save The King’ was a patriotic song first publicly performed in London in 1745, which came to be known as the National Anthem at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

    The words and tune are anonymous, and may date back to the seventeenth century.

  24. Russ44

    I noticed on the news the other night that Malcolm Turnbull stood with his hand on his heart while the American anthem was played. Is that proper protocol?

    As for Rum Rebellion Day, I recall when I was a child we celebrated Guy Fawkes Day with some vigour (and a lot of fireworks). Maybe we should bring that back as well?

  25. MarkH

    Goes to show how shifting international loyalties to centres of power have shaped local cultural perspectives. Cries from modern nationalists in Australia for ‘liberty’ al a the US model of nationalism in some sort of unoriginal call to go back to basics really riles me.

    We are colonial settler state built from the truce negotiated between free traders and protectionists politically. Plain and simple.

  26. silkworm

    I don’t find making kids sing the national anthem so objectionable. It’s forcing them to go to scripture classes that really boils my bunions. Forty minutes each week forcing myths and false beliefs into young, impressionable minds is a form of child abuse, and prejudices kids’ minds against scientific theories and facts, like evolution. This is a huge waste of intellectual potential, and a national tragedy.

  27. diannaart


    I understand your point regarding original score ‘n all that.

    I am not making any personal slights towards you – simply that I have promised myself that I will speak out about even the most trivial of every day sexism – whether it was from a more unenlightened time or not.

    As for “coming a long way in 100 years” – yes and a very big no. We are all guilty of perpetuating bigoted behaviour – quite unconsciously – women as much as men. For example, football match I attended too many years ago, a female fan was calling one of the players as playing like a girl – to which I replied, nah, he’s playing like an old man – and it matters, it matters that we stop using the idea of female as the worst possible value a person can have.

    For myself and many others posting here, we were forced to sing “God Save the Queen” at least every Monday morning (irrespective of the original title) depending on the type of school we were at. Our unenlightened leaders would have us return to the stultifying cult of the 1950’s if they could. However, even women, non-land owners and the original inhabitants of this land were finally given the vote – not soon enough for some, but the idea of equity has escaped the bottle and will not be put back – even during the inhumane glitch we appear to be stuck in right now.

    Righting that which is wrong includes the small stuff.


    If anyone objects to calling a male player an ‘old man’ then provide an alternative. I don’t have a problem with this and will call a hapless female player an old woman with equal relish.

  28. Wally


    I definitely did not take any offence or consider your comment to be directed toward myself.

    In fact it made me laugh because it was so typical of you (as per your comments here).

    My last reply was a little tongue in cheek, yes I have a warped sense of humour.

    PS. I would probably call the player an old prick or much worse.

  29. diannaart

    Another promise I made myself was to try and find the humour in as much as possible.


  30. Rossleigh

    Diannart: I suggest playing like a Liberal frontbencher would be an acceptable alternative.

  31. diannaart


    Not much more incompetent than from our (notso) Liberal frontbenchers – now a catchy phrase to catch this truth.

  32. wgreenhallLeonard

    It is interessting to read of those who found the old words used in schools as offensive etc and yet at the same time a whole generation of people who live with permanent attachment to earphones as they walk or drive or catch a tram – and the words that fill the heads from my small testing are seldom uplifting — old guy from the 1940’s

  33. silkworm


    You use the word “offensive,” but do you find other people’s use of headphones offensive?

  34. Charles Arthur Davies

    Name of the Swagman in “Waltzing Matilda”?
    “Andy sat ,Andy sang as he waited ’til etc.”
    And the Rum Rebellion was not the only time that the Officer class used their power to pervert justice and in my opinion Gov. Bligh was steamrolled because too many in England sided with their mates.
    There is no justice,even now, just us.

  35. Janice

    Every Monday morning assembly at Lockleys Primary School, South Australia, in the 50’s we recited:

    I am an Australian (right arm raised straight up)
    I love my country (right hand on heart)
    I salute the flag (open hand salute to brow)
    I honour the Queen (open hand bent to shoulder)
    I promise to obey her Laws (open hand bent to shoulder)

    We then sang the Song of Australia:

    There is a land where summer skies
    Are gleaming with a thousand dyes,
    Blending in witching harmonies ; in har-mon-ies
    And grassy knoll and forest height,
    Are flushing in the rosy light,
    And all above is azure bright — Australia! Australia! Austra-a-a lia!

    All the classes then marched in turn into their schoolrooms. There were boy drummers; 2 kettle drums and a bass drum.

    At morning recess we were given small bottles of milk which had been delivered earlier, so were often warm.

    In 1954 when the Queen made her first visit to Australia, all school children were given a small Bible.

  36. Rossleigh

    Yep, Janice, that sounds more plausible than the people who cut and past things from the United States and just change a few words…

  37. Michael Taylor

    I played the drums to that one day, as we marched in after assembly.

    We used to take it in turns. In eight years I only got one turn.

    But at least I got a carton of milk.

  38. Michael Taylor

    This post is for and a half years old. 😳

    Rossleigh, you still pack ‘em in.

  39. Jack Cade

    Flags are just coloured rags, and anthems are just songs about how fabulous we are and how we’ll kick the shite out of anyone who demurs.
    And given the US attitude to and reverence for their flag and their generally acknowledged ignorance of other countries they haven’t bombed the shit out of, let me relate a ‘septicism’ that I witnessed in London when I joined the street crowds for the funeral procession of Sir Winston Churchill. About half a mile from the Tower there was a shop selling all the British Empire memorabilia, and I popped in to see if I could find something for my parents who were in Australia and revered Churchill. Also in the shop was a US couple, the definitive Ugly Americans. Picking up a Union Jack shopping bag, the woman, who had an arse like a brewers dray horse, said loudly
    ‘Oh my gard, these are gorgeous! Do you have them in different colours?’
    Red white and blue wasn’t good enough….

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