"It is greatly to Australia's credit that we are a mongrel nation. None of that Aryan or ethnic purity for us. We benefit from hybrid vigour. Every race and religion - as mixed up as the flora in our multi-horticultural society."

PHILLIP, ADAMS - Dog is love

"It was my dream one day I come to Australia, The dream is gone, now it is real. Now I ask what I can do for Australia."


"No matter how far
Or how wide I roam
I still call Australia home."

PETER, ALLEN - I Still Call Australia Home

"Australian Humour. It's different and baked by a Bigger Sun. "


"Do you come from a land Down Under,
Where women glow and men plunder?
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder?
You'd better run, you'd better take cover."

MEN, AT WORK - Down Under, songwriter Colin Hayes

"If one has the ability to drink oneself into an alcoholic stupor without falling flat on one's face in front of one's mates, one apparently has then achieved the true blue hallmark of excellence of today's dinky-di Aussie."


"Let the word: Australian!
Dignify the lowliest man."

ARTHUR, BALYDON - Australian! Collected Poems

"The Australian, one hundred to two hundred years hence, will still live with the consciousness that, if he only goes far enough back over the hills and across the plains he comes in the end to the mysterious half desert country where men have to live the lives of strong men. And the life of that mysterious country will affect the Australian imagination much as the life of the sea has affected that of the English..."

CHARLES, BEAN - The Dreadnought of the Darling

"Such displays of the Australian spirit engender pride, regardless of background, religion and political persuasion. They are unifying... This spirit of leadership should be reflected in our national symbols and one appropriate way to do that is by finally making the changes needed to make Australia a republic... A country's history does not change because it takes a step forward, but its possibilities for the future do."

LARISSA, BEHRENDT - on the community and government response to natural disasters and flooding that affected Australia J

"It was humbling to see how ferocious our environment could still be, how powerless we could be against its force despite all our knowledge and technology. It is in the face of such devastation, such heartbreaking loss of life, such destruction of homes and livelihoods, that character is most strongly tested."

LARISSA, BEHRENDT - on the natural disasters and flooding that affected Queensland and other parts of Australia

"Some have reflected that this heroism, this natural desire to pitch in to help others in need and the tenacity to come together to rebuild communities that has been seen in such abundance over the past few weeks was not so much Australian as inherent human traits. Whichever way these characteristics are viewed, they are attributes which are strong foundations for any society and ones that will enrich a community the more it is permeated by them. Pitching in to help, doing what you can for those who are suffering and worse off than you are, even those you don't know, are values that would extend compassion, altruism and generosity towards all sectors suffering disadvantage."

LARISSA, BEHRENDT - on the community and government response to natural disasters and flooding that affected Australia J

"The continent had to be discovered emotionally. It had to become a homeland and feel like home. The sense of overpowering space, the isolation, the warmth of summer, the garish light, the shiny-leafed trees, the birds and insects, the smell of air filled with dust, the strange silences, and the landscapes in all their oddness had to become familiar..."


"Running foreign policy is not just about protecting our national interest. It is also being an exemplary global citizen when it comes to protecting human rights and the world's oceans. We can also promote and defend cultural diversity, the idea of a planet of 7 billion that celebrates and does not deny its contradictions."

SENATOR, BOB CARR - maiden speech 21 March 2012

"We can make sure that our multi-cultural society continues to tick over. There is no need to fetishise multi-culturalism... but relax into our easy-going Australian ethnic and cultural diversity, based on tolerance and respect."

SENATOR, BOB CARR - maiden speech 21 March 2012

"It's an interesting thing in this country. I haven't won a gold medal, yet Australians still take me into their houses and hearts, they know my name and they care. I think Aussies like the little Aussie battler and the person who will stand up for their rights and I've never been short of a word, especially with officialdom. "


"When considering the stature of an athlete or for that matter any person, I set great store in certain qualities which I believe to be essential in addition to skill. They are that the person conducts his or her life with dignity, with integrity, courage, and perhaps most of all, with modesty. These virtues are totally compatible with pride, ambition, and competitiveness. "


"What's wrong with leading the way? We've played that role before, after all. We gave the world the secret ballot... that did so much to raise living standards and improve conditions for workers worldwide. We were a leader in extending to women the right to vote. We were barely a nation when we set the bar for bravery and sacrifice by common soldiers in foreign wars. We grew up out of racism and misogyny and homophobia to become a mostly tolerant, successful multicultural society. We did these great things because we know we are in it together. It is our core value as Australians."

GERALDINE, BROOKS - Boyer Lecture 2011

"Australia has gained many things in the last thirty years, and I'm not for a moment belittling those gains. But some things have been lost, or misplaced, along the way. Maybe we can come to a new consensus that retrieves some of the best elements of the old one, that fair, visionary, daring and idealistic view that once defined us. Maybe, once again, it will be time."

GERALDINE, BROOKS - The Boyer Lectures 2011

"I also learned very early that you do not rise by planting your foot in someone else's face. Our way, the Aussie way, was to extend a hand so that no one was left behind."

GERALDINE, BROOKS - The Boyer Lectures 2011

"And at this moment in history, our core value happens to be the raw, aching truth of the human predicament. It may also be the only belief that can save us as a species. A species that will continue to find comfort and delight in the companionship of animals, the miracle of birds, the colours of the corals and the majesty of the forests. We are in it together, on this blue spinning marble in the cold and silent void. And we must act on that belief, if we are going to be able to continue to live a good life here, in this beautiful and fragile country, on this lovely planet, our only home."

GERALDINE, BROOKS - Boyer Lecture 2011

"I am not part of that earlier Australian generation who set off on a deliberate search for fame and fortune in distant lands. My generation was the first that didn't need to. By the 1980's when I left home, our culture had grown deep enough and wide enough to encompass all but the most rarefied of ambitions."

GERALDINE, BROOKS - The Boyer Lectures 2011

"In these times of hardship and grief for many Australians, you bring our hearts to soar and you remind us of the strength and the endurance of the human spirit. Thank you for what you did and for what you will continue to do."

QUENTIN, BRYCE - when pinning the medal on Corporal Roberts-Smith VC

"I have learnt how lucky I am to live in this country. I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to see the beauty of our landscape and to meet so many of my fellow Australians in rural, remote and urban places. To observe that unique Australianness we are so proud to call our own, those qualities that make us who we are - courage, toughness, compassion."


"The image of the bronzed Aussie may be a myth. But there is nothing fictitious about the importance of sport as a way of life in Australia: it promotes health as well as competitive spirit. We may stop just short of obsessed, but sport is as available to Australians - and as necessary - as meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars. "

THE, BULLETIN - 24-Oct-89

"Australia is no longer the country of 'fair go'; it is a country of 'get what you can'. "


"Sport is a passion and out of passion comes love. No point trying to work out why some become heroes and others don't. The chosen ones just go into the pantheon and refuse to fade. Think of Bradman and Les Darcy, Phar Lap and Tommy Corrigan. "

LES, CARLYON - The Sunday Age, December 1995

"Australia is a quirky country. It is happy to have as heroes Phar Lap, a racehorse who died, Les Darcy, a boxer who died, Ned Kelly, a bushranger who was hanged, and Simpson, a private soldier shot by a Turkish sniper. It celebrates a military adventure called Gallipoli that, brave as it was, was lost from the second day. We like gritty failures and folk heroes. Bradman , the folk hero who didn't stumble, is an exception. "

LES, CARLYON - Heroes in our Eyes

"Be true to yourself, fight for what you believe in, care for others and our land, venture without fear into new territory, and never give up, even in the face of apparently insurmountable odds."

MARGARET, CARROLL - Ordinary People Extraordinary Lives

"For better or worse, sport has become central to Australian life and the business of being Australian. Sporting culture is accessible and provides continuing satisfaction for many Australians. It is immensely popular and also addresses some of the central issues of Australian life. "

RICHARD, CASHMAN - Paradise of Sport: the rise of organised sport in Australia

"It would be surprising if sporting culture and sporting heroes and heroines did not contribute to the imagination of an Australian nation, to help flesh out what nationhood represented and to publicise the important symbols of the nation. "

RICHARD, CASHMAN - Sport, Federation, Nation

"Anyone to succeed in the colonies must take with him a quantity of self-reliance, energy and perseverance; this is the best capital a man can have."


"When I was a little girl my aunt wrote these lines in my autograph book:
So many gods, so many creeds
So many paths that wind and wind
And yet the art of being kind
Is all the sad world needs.

When I grew up I came to understand that basic truth - and I learned that more often than not the gift of kindness comes back to the giver."


"Ingrained into Australians is a sense of energy and initiative, a zest to achieve, to get a job done. We don't sit, dumb, uninformed and unmoving."


"Our vision is to look through the eyes of our kids. We are a lucky, peaceful nation. We are an unselfish people. That's one of our proudest national attributes."

GENERAL SIR PETER, COSGROVE - on his vision for Australia

"...Never before in human history, has a new 'culture/nation' established itself and flourished; so quickly (200 years) , so far from its' point of origin. "

BRYCE, COURTENAY - about Australia

"The modern Australian must find their sense of place in order to feel truly at home. For me the natural Australian landscape gives that sense of place. "


"When God knocked off one night, said He -
'This earth's a rotten failure;
How to improve it? Let me see...
Next day he made Australia."


"No matter how far I have traversed around this earth, I have yet to find another location that rivals Australia. Nowhere else on earth can you find such spectacular landscapes, such unique and fascinating animals, and such warm friendly people. This is why I will always call Australia home. "


"There is no better way of life in the world than that of the Australian. I firmly believe this. The grumbling, growling, cursing, profane, laughing, beer drinking, abusive, loyal-to-his-mates Australian is one of the few free men left on this earth. He fears no one, crawls to no one, bludgers on no one, and acknowledges no master. Learn his way. Learn his language. Get yourself accepted as one of him; and you will enter a world that you never dreamed existed. And once you have entered it, you will never leave it."

NINO, CULOTTA - They're a Weird Mob

"Be assured of the calibre of our national character. This war may see the end of much that we have painfully and slowly built in our 150 years of existence. But even though all of it go, there will still be Australians fighting on Australian soil until the turning point be reached, and we will advance over blackened ruins, through blasted and fire-swept cities, across scorched plains, until we drive the enemy into the sea."


"Travel bequeaths many unexpected gifts, but the knowledge we don't live in fear in this country is something we take for granted."


"Today, let us remind ourselves of those things we believe make Australia truly great: our harmonious multicultural society and our respect for each other, our culture of a fair go, our spirit of equality and our humane commitment to those in strife."

DAVID, de KRETSER - Australia Day address 2011

"For Indigenous peoples , the impact of separating us from our heritage goes directly to the heart that pumps life through our peoples. To expect a people to be able to enjoy their culture without their cultural heritage and their sacred belongings is equivalent to amputating their legs and digging up the ground and asking them to run a marathon."

MICHAEL, DODSON - Frank Archibald Memorial Lecture, University of New England, 1994

"Today the thing I find myself thinking about the most is our landscape...I think it's something a lot of us take for granted; for many of us Australia is just there but how many of us have really seen it, have seen Kakadu or Kings Canyon? I know I hope to at some stage, to see Uluru at sunset and the ancient art in the Abrakurrie caves. I think it's our landscape which defines our identity and it's what I'm most grateful for."

PROFESSOR MICHAEL, DODSON - Australia of the Year Presentation, 2009

"In this role my wish is to build our understanding of what it means to protect the rights and human dignity of all Australians. Upholding human rights is about looking out for each other, taking the idea of fairness seriously. And it goes to the heart of who we are as a nation."

PROFESSOR MICHAEL, DODSON - Australian of the Year Presentation 2009

"To many indigenous Australians, in fact, most indigenous Australians, it really reflects the day in which our world came crashing down. I'm sensitive to that, I understand that... but I think Australia is mature enough now to have a conversation about that, and let's get on with it, like we usually do."


"Australians will, in the main, resist being told what to think by anyone called an expert, but they will take note of thoughtfully presented evidence-based opinion."

PROFESSOR PETER, DOHERTY - The Beginner's Guide to Winning the Nobel Prize

"Wherever you are in the world, there's always something about the Australian light. There's something about the sharpness of it, something about the clarity of it, something about the colours of Australia. And hopefully, something optimistic about Australian painting too. "


"Every country needs its heroes, and we must follow them. "


"Australians are not given to applauding tragedy unless it is at a distance like Gallipoli or Cooper's Creek, and they prefer pure heroism to be spiced with disaster, except of course in sport. It was all very well for Adam Lindsay Gordon to have shot himself, but it would never have done for Don Bradman. "

GEOFFREY, DUTTON - The Australian Heroes

"You can lay down and die, or you can get up and fight, but that's it - there's no turning back."


"I have lived a very good life, it has been very rich and full. I have been very fortunate and I am thrilled by it when I look back."

A.B. ALBERT, FACEY - A Fortunate Life

"It's absolutely unbelievable. I'm very lucky. Australia does deserve national pride. We are right to instil national pride in our children, but please let's make our national pride encompass humanity."

JOHN, FARNHAM - accepting his Australian of the Year title 1987

"If I had one wish it would be to stop people shooting each other and killing each other. As Australians we must also look at the darker side of this country."


"The Australian people made heroes of none, and raised no idols, except perhaps Ned Kelly, an outlaw, and Carbine, a horse. "

BRIAN, FITZPATRICK - The Australian Commonwealth

"Fantastically, Australia is still the lucky country. We have the flawed but necessary gift of democracy. Currently there is a debate about whether there is racism in Australia. There is racism in every country in the world. Relatively speaking, we are tolerant of one another. We have a large and giving land and, if you haven't seen its beauty, you haven't seen a beauty precious to the earth."

MARTIN, FLANAGAN - The Age, 26 January 2012

"... Regardless of how you see it happening, the end result is that Australia is in the top bracket of parliamentary democracies in the world. That is the gift my generation were handed... that and the natural resources of a large and bountiful land. We all have a duty to care for this country... We need to have a militant regard for this land and its assets. Australian democracy is imperfect. Nonetheless it delivers rights and freedoms that people in countries such as Syria are dying for. We should not take democracy for granted as we took for granted those delicate, beautiful waterways that met the first Europeans and are now sick, exhausted rivers. Australia has problems... The question is whether a significant number of Australians really want to think about them..."

MARTIN, FLANAGAN - The Age, 26 January 2012

"Nationalism may be intellectually unfashionable as a concept but anyone who denies its existence should watch the Socceroos play a big match at home when there is massive excitement for the green and gold. People are connected in a way they don't even think about. Nationalism may be a myth but to refuse considering nationalism is to create a vacuum in which other mythologies, including anti-social ones, will spread and flourish. Like it or not, we are engaged in the business of nation building."

MARTIN, FLANAGAN - The Age, 26 January 2012

"If we want a long-term future for ourselves and our children, we need to learn about our country, and to nurture it - just as we hope that it will continue to support us. For all these reasons, Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) is vital to me because it allows me to express my love of my country. "

TIM, FLANNERY - Director of Australian Wildlife Conservancy

"The Australian continent is rich with indigenous flora whose power transcends any sense of jingoism. "


"If a need for a sense of independence is important for Australia, there is a need to our politicians in Canberra to start to kill the view that we are a racist nation. At heart, I don't believe the great majority of Australians are racist, but the government has behaved as though we are. The government has really demeaned us, not just the government, but the government and the opposition, the political process. Both sides of the equation have really done Australia an enormous disservice."

MALCOLM, FRASER - on asylum seekers

"It's a marvellous honour, especially as I follow in the footsteps of distinguished medical scientists who are recent Australians of the Year, including Professor Peter Doherty, Sir Gus Nossal and Professor Fiona Wood. Gus, Fiona and I all chose to be Australians and to make this country the cradle of research that aims to improve the lives of millions of people..."

IAN, FRAZER - 1960-2010 Australians of the Year, Wendy Lewis

"I want to be a positive role model, especially for kids and Aboriginal people... When people see me, often all they see is another Australian athlete having a go. It isn't until they see the full Cathy Freeman picture that they realise how proud I am of my ancestry and heritage. I'd like a little more tolerance and acceptance of my culture and all the differing cultures that make up Australia."

CATHY, FREEMAN - 1960-2010 Australians of the Year, Wendy Lewis

"It is not in our cities or townships, it is not in our agricultural or mining areas, that the Australian attains full consciousness of his own nationality; it is in places like this, and as clearly here as at the centre of the continent. To me the monotonous variety of this interminable scrub has a charm of its own; so grave, subdued, self centred; so alien to the genial appeal of more winsome landscape, or the assertive grandeur of mountain and gorge. "

JOSEPH, FURPHY - Tom Collins, Such is Life

"Difference and oneness are not separate entitities but one part of a whole. A multicultural society won't work if governments are blind to difference. Nor will it work if it descends into an unthinking cultural relativism. It seems to me that Australia has the opportunity to show the rest of the region that it is possible to have a robust democratic and civic culture that at the same time respects and values religious and cultural pluralism. To set this as an objective for our community, raises the bar to the highest level. Why not? Our nation is still young, our opportunities are many and we have the wisdom of different cultures and religions to guide us through these troubled times."

DR GEOFF, GALLOP - Living with Difference, 2003 Murdoch Lecture

"We all have prejudices. It takes more than clarity to overcome them. It takes courage."


"A difference between civilisation and anarchy is above all the capacity of a society to find a basis for efficient collective action when it is necessary to solve a problem of great consequence.


"I have always had, as I know many people have, a singular passion for Australia. I do love the sunburnt country, its ancient landscapes, its exhilarating reaches of sand and sea. "


"There is an incredible amount of isolation in the white community - because people haven't learnt to belong. Nobody should be homeless in this land, and yet there is an incredible amount of homeless people. You cannot build a nation until there is a national spirit."

KEVIN, GILBERT - The Search for Meaning Collection, Caroline Jones

"It's true, we are a highly professional force and we can produce highly lethal fighting forces, but I defy you to find more dedicated humanitarians or better friends when the chips are down. "


"The Australian Army is a highly respected National institution because of its people. It's all about the people. If we communicate, and leverage off all in our organisation, not just our senior officers, our IQ will be awesome. Then there will be no job which is beyond us. "


"All our best heroes are losers. "


"It's something I've always wanted - to be known as an Australian. When I was younger I was always referred to as an Aboriginal tennis player. Now I think the award means that I have been recognised as an entertainer and that makes me happy... It's given me probably as big a kick as winning Wimbledon."

EVONNE, GOOLAGONG - on being named Australian of the Year 1971

"From 1953 my family lived in a white town, and from 1966 I lived in a white society, but the former didn't make us white, and the latter never made me anything other than what I am - a proud Aboriginal woman, a Wiradjuri Koori. "

EVONNE, GOOLAGONG - 1960-2010 Australians of the Year, Wendy Lewis

"I am blessed to have been born in Australia where water sports are loved and swimmers are revered."

SHANE, GOULD - Tumble Turns

"The award was probably the best recognition that my country could give me, but I wasn't sure what responsibilities went along with it. I felt uneasy and uncertain about my worthiness to live up to it. I decided not to think about it for the time being..."

SHANE, GOULD - on her Australian of the Year 1972 award at the age of sixteen

"The Australian soldier has frequently been admired for his personal independence and individual initiative. The Australian voter has been continually blamed for his lack of initiative and for his excessive dependence on the State. Unless we are to assume that the fighters have not voted and the voters have not fought, we must seek some explanation of these contradictory reputations."


"Were it possible to compel the prison warders of this past age to produce for our inspection a 'typical' transported convict, they would show us, not the countryman who snared rabbits, but the Londoner who stole spoons."


"A country is a jealous mistress and patriotism is commonly an exclusive passion; but it is not impossible for Australians, nourished by glorious literature and haunted by old memories, to be in love with two soils."


"Among the Australians pride of race counted for more than love of country... Defining themselves as 'independent Australian Britons' they believed each word essential and exact, but laid most stress upon the last."


"For good and for ill, Australia has had forced upon her the inheritance of all ages. The continent has been peopled by a civilisation ready-made; the British have imposed themselves upon it with their barbed-wire and railways and commercial journalism and modern liberal ideas. Their advance resembles the forward scattering of a horde, and sometimes, like the onrush of a horde, it has been devastating."


"Without sending down some roots, no community can live an individual life - there cannot, indeed, be a community. The roots sent down in Australian soil by the transplanted British have only her and there struck deep beneath the surface."

SIR WILLIAM KEITH, HANCOCK - Machiavelli in Modern Dress

"Australia has been too much glorified by simple patriots, who imagine that civilisation started with the voyages of Captain Cook, and too much vilified by splenetic tourists of the English middle classes, who fail to find in Tumburumba the mild amenities of Tunbridge Wells."


"The little exclusive circles, which in Melbourne and Sydney had politely imitated English gentility, looked askance at the lucky upstarts - and intermarried with them. In the second half of the nineteenth century Australia became familiar with a new vulgarity and a new vigour."


"Power without Glory"

FRANK, HARDY - title of book

"Only the poor will help the poor."

FRANK, HARDY - Legends from Benson's Valley

"If Australia is The Lucky Country, the Aborigines must be the unluckiest people in the world."

FRANK, HARDY - The Unlucky Australians

"And the nearer a white Australian is to Aborigines the more likely he is to be racist."

FRANK, HARDY - The Unlucky Australians

"Poor fellow me,
Poor fellow me,
My country
It gave me
All that I see,
Gifts that I see,
All that I see,
Poor fellow me.
Now I'm alone,
Now I'm alone,
Now I'm alone,
Poor fellow me,
Nothing I own,
Spirit has slown,
Poor fellow me."

WILLIAM EDWARD, HARNEY - Wanderer's Lament

"I am a native of the soil and I am proud of my birthplace. It is true its past has not been hallowed in history by the achievements of men whose name reflected a light upon the times in which they lived. We have no long line of poets or statesmen or warriors; in this country, Art has done nothing but Nature is everything. IT IS OURS, THEN, ALONE TO INAUGURATE THE FUTURE."

CHARLES, HARPUR - Charles Harpur, J Normington-Rawling

"In an atmosphere of reciprocal banter or rubbishing Australians can express mutual affection without running the risk of indecently exposing states of feeling."


"The Australian world is peopled with good blokes and bastards, but not heroes."


"Talk-back radio is a device by which the stupid are allowed to reinforce the stupid in their stupidity. It is a device for the arrogant, bigoted, limited and self-centred people to proselytise their cause and to create a vast social force of like-minded bird-brains."


"Our major problem is the slobby passivity of the Australian female. She is not the prime chattel of the male. The Holden Monaro occupies that august position. On the other hand she has no great desire to play a more vital part in the human scheme. She doesn't know she has any dignity, therefore she isn't in pursuit of this most important attribute."

MAX, HARRIS - 1971

"There is a timelessness about sport. Like music and art, it is a quality that cuts across generations and nations. It provides a link between Australians of succeeding generations whether urging on a Donald Bradman or cheering and rejoicing in the America's Cup victory. Call it the spirit, the soul of sport - it will be in 2001 the same as it was in 1901. "

GREG, HARTUNG - Spirit in Australian Sport: a profile

"Do you know why I have credibility? Because I don't exude morality."


"I was always nervous about coming back to Australia which was a complete hangover of the days when I left when ballet was not accepted, when I was not accepted, when I was considered a freak for wanting to be a ballet dancer. And, to be 100% honest, I rather dreaded coming back..."

SIR ROBERT, HELPMANN - 1960-2010 Australians of the Year, Wendy Lewis

"I have always said and I have always thought that I would never have achieved what I have... if I hadn't been Australian... I can walk into an exhibition and say that man was born in Australia or that man comes from Australia. Painters from Australia - they have a vastness, a sense of light, a sense of distance that European people do not have. Being an Australian has given me an outgoing (sic), that supplies something to the theatre that is very very difficult to explain. But I believe, I firmly believe that if I had been born in another country I would not have achieved what I have today."

SIR ROBERT, HELPMANN - 1960-2010 Australians of the Year, Wendy Lewis

"And I saw Australia anew through her eyes. And I realised what a tremendously thrilling country it was. And ever since then I have been coming back regularly."

SIR ROBERT, HELPMANN - on playing opposite his dear friend Katherine Hepburn

"One thing I've learned from my short time trying to be a farmer is that our farmers have to be the bravest, most optimistic people in the world. To go back to the land year after year, after what nature throws at them and the world economy does to their income, takes a special kind of person. "

SARA, HENDERSON - The Strength In Us All

"Although I am madly patriotic, I am bored by talk of 'Nationalism'. What is Nationalism but the football-team spirit? Actually I hate Australians. I hate their faces, with those long Punch noses... & their cruel thin lips & moron's brows & hooded idiot's eyes. Yet I can turn to them in relief & love from contemplating the juicy faces of Pommies. I loathe Englishmen so much, that I can tell their footprints (bare feet of course) & about their tracks there is to me something obscene. Oh, I'm not a bit practical about my patriotism. Here's an example. Some years ago, in the town of Darwin, I rushed out of my house in the middle of the night & attacked a number of drunken Pommy sailors (off a British warship) who were piddling in the street. I rushed upon them roaring, 'How dare you piss on my country!' Fortunately they bolted."

XAVIER, HERBERT - Letter to C. B. Christensen, 19 October 1941, Meanjin Archives, Baillieu Library, University of Melb

"Cultural cringe is an extraordinarily potent phrase, because it not only identified a reflex in our culture that things had to find cultural approbation outside Australia before they could be accepted inside Australia. It's extraordinarily potent because 'cultural cringe' has, with the fame of the phrase, helped to engender the thing that it's meant to merely describe."


"Culture is growth, and growth is movement, and movement is power- for nothing can move without moving some thing."

HARRY, HOOTON - Directions

"On Australian speech: However whether we blame it on the flies, the heat, pure bone laziness or some other factor, the fact remains that Australians, as a general rule, do tend to speak through clenched lips, and the physical restriction of tongue, lip and jaw which results does produce nasalised vowels, whilst vowels which tend naturally to be hard are also clipped."

BILL, HORNADGE - The Australian Slanguage

"In Australia you may call a man a BASTARD or even a BLOODY bastard, and reasonably expect nothing in return of the compliment. But beware of calling any Australian a BLUDGER. It is the deadliest insult that can be offered in the Antipodes, and anyone who uses it loosely must be prepared to defend his person from assault from the person to whom it is directed."

BILL, HORNADGE - The Australian Slanguage

"Australia is a lucky country run mainly be second-rate people who share its luck."

DONALD, HORNE - The Lucky Country

"The very success of 'mateship' in Australia eroded individualism. In a sense mateship was a protection against is probably one of the most characteristic folk beliefs of Australia. There is concern for the ordinariness in Australians. Consider Anzac Day again - men in their ordinary clothes, marching through the streets out of step, unpretentious; and then getting drunk in the most ordinary manner imaginable. It is a celebration of the essential ordinariness and the common human-ness of man."

DONALD, HORNE - Southern Exposure

"All the same... 'She'll be right.' Their combination of high hope and deep doubt can make Australians devastatingly cool-headed and wry-witted. Although most of them have not even seen their deserts, the stoicism of the desert seems to have entered their souls. When they see the face of disaster - especially when they go to the wars in Vietnam as at Anzac - they joke with it and shake its hand."

DONALD, HORNE - Southern Exposure

"The desire to enjoy the games of the rich became one of the most effectively expressed moods of Australian egalitarianism."

DONALD, HORNE - Southern Exposure

"Only in sport... The qualification would seem meaningless to many Australians. What also is there that matters as much as sport. It is only in sport that many Australians express those approaches to life that are un-Australian if expressed in any other connection."

DONALD, HORNE - Southern Exposure

"With sport went beer drinking and gambling - until recently restricted by the wowsers, but part of that code of mateship of men, that necessity constantly to demonstrate masculine sameness, which provided one of the most flattening sources of uniformity."

DONALD, HORNE - Southern Exposure

"Fair-goes are not only for oneself, but for underdogs. Even in international sporting matches Australians have been known to switch from their own side to that of a gallant challenger. Australians love a 'battler', an underdog who is fighting the top dog, although their veneration for him is likely to pass if he comes out from under."

DONALD, HORNE - The Lucky Country

"A man who went to the 'footie' match on Saturday afternoon and played eighteen holes of golf was really doing his duty by the nation."

DONALD, HORNE - Southern Exposure

"The Lucky Country"

DONALD, HORNE - from title of book, The Lucky Country: Australia in the sixties

"There is a very special place in the Australian psyche for sport. It is one of the pillars of the Australian way of life. You don't really understand what makes the Australian nation tick unless you understand the great affection Australians have for sport. "


"I'd like to be seen as an average Australian bloke. I can't think of... I can't think of a nobler description of anybody than to be called an average Australian bloke."


"Sport is an important part of the Australian psyche. Anybody who thinks that sport is not part of the fabric of Australian life misunderstands this country quite dramatically."


"We must respect each other's right to choose a collective destiny, and the opportunity to develop the legal and political rights for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples so that we may enjoy the right to maintain our culture, our heritage and our land, as a united Australia."


"For people to be heroes in Australia they have to tap into the feelings and ideals of the nation. It has a lot to do with how they are represented and how the media portray them. A hero has to be seen at some level as a role model."


"There is a universal notion, exaggerated in Australia, that sport connects people who are not connected either by history, community, culture, gender, race, class or status. Sport is seen as the transcender, the unifier and the healer of difference. "


"Great Southern Land, in the sleeping sun
you walk alone with the ghost of time
they burned you black, black against the ground
and they make it work with rocks and sand"

ICEHOUSE, ICEHOUSE - Great Southern Land, songwriter Iva Davies

"Whatever the future may have in store, one thing is certain - no inferiority complex ever found a place in the true Australian creed of life."

SIR ISAAC, ISAACS - Governor-General's New Year message, January 1936

"There was no TV and we didn't have motorcars. It was nothing to do a hundred miles from Sydney - bus to school, walk to training and walk home from training. But doing without helped build character. The discipline made me a better person. I think we all need discipline and I think that helped to form my character for later years."


"A backyard is where you sit and think about life... We think about our kids and how we want them to grow up to be free. Life here is good. If you contribute and do your fair share you get to enjoy this beautiful country and your kids get to play in the park and go to the local school and they're safe."


"That is what I think I've been put on this earth to design - beautiful things that say I love you Australia, and my work will always be about the beauty of this country and this planet. "


"We're all members of the outback club
We don't back down and we don't give up
We're all living in a land we love"

LEE, KERNAGHAN - The Outback Club

"Our musicians and our songwriters are the modern day storytellers of Australia. Just as the poets of the 1880's, 1890's, Lawson and Paterson did for their generation, it's now up to us to tell the story of Australia today."

LEE, KERNAGHAN - Australian of the Year Presentation 2008

"As I travel around the country I am seeing something new emerging across regional Australia. It is a new way of doing things, taking the great traditions that made the bush what it is today and blending it with the new. There's innovation, new technology and new potential, it's almost as if there's a quiet revolution going on?some people call it the new bush."


"Being a Chinese woman in Australia for me is double happiness and double sorrow. Being a Chinese woman has largely been a subconscious experience for most of my thirty years living here. A person's culture is largely subconscious for most people, but it nevertheless propels the way we think, feel and behave. The power of the subconscious is enormous. It is when we make this subconscious knowledge conscious that we become powerful - in short, we truly know what we are doing."


"She (Julia Gillard) has been subject to sexist attacks and unwittingly called up the misogyny that lies deep in Australian culture."

MARILYN, LAKE - National Times 26 March 2013

"As a young kid in Hong Kong I was brought up in both cultures. My grandfather taught me calligraphy and Chinese poetry. But then I was asked to speak in English. I was told that I had to learn to speak in English, the language of status, the official language of the world. Then I studied English literature. As I was growing up, I think I grew away from my culture more and more."


"Though poor and in trouble I wander alone,
With a rebel cockade in my hat;
Though friends may desert me, and kindred disown,
My country will never do that!
You may sing of the Shamrock, the Thistle, and Rose,
Or the three in a bunch if you will;
But I know of a country that gathered all those,
And I love the great land where the Waratah grows,
And the Wattle bough blooms on the hill."

HENRY, LAWSON - Waratah And Wattle

" It is quite time that our children were taught a little more about their country, for shame's sake. "


"We shall never be understood or respected by the English until we carry our individuality to extremes, and by asserting our independence, become of sufficient consequence in their eyes to merit a closer study than they have hitherto accorded us. "


"It's the best country to get out of that I was ever in."

HENRY, LAWSON - While the Billy Boils

"In a land where sport is sacred,
Where the labourer is God,
You must pander to the people,
Make a hero of a clod."

HENRY, LAWSON - A Land Where Sport is Sacred

"Australian identity? Who knows. Who cares? And does it matter that such a complex and elusive concept about nationhood be enshrined in words?... Pronouncements about the national psyche, the bitter and the sweet, are foisted upon the citizens from above and bandied about for all sorts of purposes, but deep in their hearts people understand that there is no such thing as an average Australian. Thanks be."

MICHAEL, LEUNIG - Sleep on Country, The Age 26 January 2012

"While Australians may have uncertainties about the authenticity of their man-made culture, there can be no doubt that the land beneath their feet that stretches into the unknown beyond their horizons is utterly real and natural. It has identity and integrity. It has soul. Yet all too easily a nation that is predominantly urban in character may lose sight of its natural setting and spirit of country - and be all the poorer, sadder and less vital for such loss of connection; it may suffer some deadening loss of imagination, joyous humility and visionary innocence. A nation may turn its back on its greatest source of wisdom and underestimate how much it needs the natural world."

MICHAEL, LEUNIG - Sleep on Country, The Age 26 January 2012

"Yet there is a nation of individuals who occupy a common ground - of which they are the custodians, whether they realise it or not. Arrayed with a huge variety of creatures, plants and land forms, in spite of its use and misuse at the hands of settlers and occupiers, it is a unique natural estate of great beauty, spirit and strength."

MICHAEL, LEUNIG - Sleep on Country, The Age 26 January 2012

"The thing I absolutely love about food is it's a common thread that connects us no matter what culture we come from. "


"Australia is a strange country. It takes time to know him. Of course it was hard but you have to try something different to have a better life for your family. For us it was a better life here, for schools and everything."


"The colonial twang was never at the beginning anything better than the twang of Cockney vulgarity. We imported it long before rabbits, sparrows, snails and other British nuisances were grafted on our budding civilisation."

JOHN, MADDEN - The Bulletin 1894

"If non-indigenous and indigenous young people come together to learn about each other's cultures, to learn the real history of this country and acknowledge it, this will hopefully improve the way we all interact. "


"If you can imagine the one family continuously occupying the same land for 40,000 years or more, using it not just to sustain life but as a place of reverence and worship, where every tree, rock and waterhole had significance, you will get some understanding of the importance of land to indigenous people. "


"Probably only Ned Kelly and the largely nameless heroes of ANZAC rival in the public imagination those who have gained fame in the sports arena or on the race track. Phar Lap would rate more highly than any politician, Don Bradman more than any artist. "

BILL, MANDLE - The National Times, 2-7 July 1973

"The Australian Artist can best fulfil his highest destiny by remaining in his own country and studying that which lies about him..."


"Investing intelligently in those of us who are marginalised means fewer people in jail, fewer homeless, fewer unemployed, fewer of us who are forlorn and depressed, fewer people addicted to things that drag us down... Because as we invest in those that do it tough, we will see more Australians taking pride in themselves, having realisable dreams and aspirations and making their own positive contribution to the world's greatest nation."

SIMON, McKEON - The Age, 26 January 2012

"We are a nation with the most amazing potential. We are, I believe, not only the "Lucky Country" but possibly the "Luckiest Country". Our island continent has extraordinary beauty, has the oldest continuous living culture, is relatively under-populated, has a rich scientific, sporting, arts and multi-cultural heritage and, of course, has an economy which is the envy of the developed world. But to be a truly great nation, in my opinion, means adding to this list the importance of ensuring our most vulnerable are given a fair go..."

SIMON, McKEON - The Age, 26 January 2012


GENERAL SIR JOHN, MONASH - Inscription on the Rats of Tobruk memorial

"Not lip service, nor obsequious homage to superiors, nor servile observance of forms and customs...the Australian army is proof that individualism is the best and not the worst foundation upon which to build up collective discipline. "



GENERAL SIR JOHN, MONASH - Inscription on the Shrine of Remembrance Melbourne

"There has come a time when we can no longer remain silent but must speak up for our country which is being sold, abused, mined, depleted, drained, overworked, over-loved, its plants and animals becoming endangered and exterminated faster than we can renew them. Our country is silent, so we must speak and act to save it."

DI, MORRISSEY - The Silent Country

"Backyards are as Australian as the Hills Hoists they host, and as individual as those who work and play in them. Whether haven, pantry or playground, they all tell a story."


"Live, love, knowing that we're all free
Now that we are blessed in our country
And realise how lucky we are"

OLIVIA, NEWTON-JOHN - Australia For Me

"It's a long way from your merry old England out here, and it's a funny sort of place, where nothing happens like it should. Christmas comes in the middle of summer. The north wind's hot and the south wind's cold. Trees drop their bark and keep their leaves. The flowers don't smell and the birds don't sing. The swans are black and the eagles white. You burn cedar to boil your hominy and build your fences out of mahogany. Aye, it's not the same as the old country at all."

BRIAN, PENTON - Landtakers

"Our culture is something that has sustained us for thousands and thousands of years and will continue to do so in generations to come. "


"We know we cannot live in the past but the past lives in us. "


"This is the land of dreamings, a land of wide horizons and secret places. The first people, our ancestors, created this country in the culture that binds us to it. "


"Our artists have the power to bring our dreams and our nightmares to life so we will never forget. "


"It is difficult enough for me, an unmistakable Australian, albeit of the Awstalian rather than the Osstralian variety, to convey in words to other Australians the exact temper of the clan gatherings at Sale, gatherings of no importance, unrecorded because unrecordable, forgotten before begun, proof of nothing that cannot be unproved, and which, allowing for family verve and offhand solidarity, can be nothing else in the world but Australian."

HAL, PORTER - The Watcher on the Cast Iron Balcony

"The Australian form of self-respect, however rough-and-ready, heart-of-gold, come-and-take-pot-luck-with-us, and matily extrovert it is, essentially, genteel, ingrowing, self-pitying, vanilla-ice-cream hearted, its central fear a fear of intellect."

HAL, PORTER - The Watcher on the Cast Iron Balcony

"It is Australian innocence to love
The naturally excessive and be proud
Of a thoroughbred gelding who ran fast."

PETER, PORTER - Phar Lap in the Melbourne Museum

"If you live in a community, and you bring your children up in that community, if you keep taking and taking, it's just like a big water tank. If you take everything out and you don't put anything back in, it's going to be empty. But if you keep putting something back, something back, something back, that tank will keep on being topped up, and when you die your children will benefit."


"I just looked across and saw my mates getting ripped up, I thought I'd have a crack, not to let my mates down."


"I do what I do because I believe in the country that we live in. I believe we are making a difference in stemming the flow of terrorism into Australia... I want my children to be able to live as everyone does now without the fear of getting on a bus and having it blow up."

BEN, ROBERTS-SMITH VC - of serving in Afghanistan

"I'm going to win it for my country. I'm the first Aboriginal to win this. Isn't that something? I wish my Dad was alive to see it. He'd be as proud as I am."

LIONEL, ROSE - on defending his World Bantamweight title

"I wasn't aware of the impact that I had made on the lives of Aboriginal people until I did a bit of travelling and visited various communities throughout Victoria. To see the way that my people looked at me and to know that I made a difference to them was an honour."

LIONEL, ROSE - 1960-2010 Australians of the Year, Wendy Lewis

"We lost a lot of the culture up to the time of the War, and afterwards, up to the 1960's. In Australia then, they regarded assimilation as the only thing. You come here; you must be assimilated; you must forget all your old traditions and past; you must not speak in your own language. Those things are going now: the government is starting to realise that there is some good in old traditions and customs that are brought in from overseas."


"At the descriptive level, certainly, you would expect different cultures to develop different sorts of ethics and obviously they have; that doesn't mean that you can't think of overarching ethical principles you would want people to follow in all kinds of places."


"Well I'm back in the land of
Second chances
And rock 'n roll shows where
Nobody dances.
Well I'm back in the land of cheap incense
Where the favourite sport is sitting on a fence.
Back in the land of the pie and sauce
Drinking flat beer with no 3rd course."

SKYHOOKS, SKYHOOKS - his is my City, Songwriter: Greg Macainsh

"Australia is an absolutely fantastic country, but the only thing we lack is the ability to work harder."


"Australia formed me, I must be an Australian. "


"It is lives like this that teach us that man can aspire to and can achieve a true nobleness of character, and by doing so can inspire us all."

SIR NINIAN, STEPHEN - on the lesson we can learn from Sir Edward (Weary) Dunlop

"The blossoming of the waratah, the song of the lyrebird, typify the spirit of primitive loveliness in our continent; but the wail of the dingo, the gauntness of our tall trees by silent moonlight, can provide a shiver of terror to a newcomer. Against background strangeness, of strange beasts and birds and plants, in a human emptiness of three million square miles... A new nation, a new human type, is being formed in Australia."


"To the native-born Australian the Wattle stands for home, country, kindred, sunshine and love - every instinct that the heart most deeply enshrines... Let Wattle henceforth be a sacred charge to every Australian... Let us rouse our young people's sense of chivalry, and make the Wattle synonymous with Australia's honour. "


"Nowhere in the world does spring announce itself with so lovely a splendour as in Australia... our wattles burst in such passionate profusion of golden blossom as no other country can rival."


"But I think that Australians have a sort of independence, and I think that, rightly or wrongly, they tend to make their own decisions as to how a thing has gone. Pioneers are apt to be like that. I think that it's not a bad idea. You can listen to what everybody says, but the fact remains that you've got to get out there and do the thing yourself."


"I know I belong here (in Australia), it's not so much that the land is yours as that you belong to the land."


"This country is made up of many tribes. yours, your brothers, your sisters, cousins, uncles and aunts, many families making up a vast country. We're Australians, all connected by our different tribes. And this day, well it's all about celebrating that bond, because when we join hands we become one - one people, one place - and that gives a certain texture, a certain beat. It makes us want to shout for all to hear, 'this place, this tribe, this is Australia!'"

JACK, THOMPSON - Australia Celebrates

"I think the denigration of science is a real threat. If scientists are mocked and derided, then soon we will have the total triumph of 'know nothing'."


"The politics of gratuitous hostilities erodes the democratic relationship of respect between people on different sides of an argument. This is a problem bigger than the politics of the day...We ought to respect people who brave the intrusions and trials of public life. We need to respect women and men equally. And, as politicians are elected by a majority, we should also respect the choices of our fellow citizens...Look at other countries to realise where hostility and contempt for one's opponents and enemies lead. A healthy civil society requires solid foundations of respect. "

JOHN, WATSON - The Age, 19 June 2013

"A debased debate has left us all exposed to a highly personalised contest of bluster and brutal denigration. As voters, we seem vulnerable to bluster, assertion and denigration. And a loss of focus on policy substance makes it easier for character assassinations to cut through. Gillard and Abbott have both suffered this. "

JOHN, WATSON - The Age, 19 June 2013

"I suppose, because I am a sportsman and travel all over Australia, I see every day Australians doing small and large and often unnoticed deeds; many times I thought how nice it would be for them to be recognised, so I hope somehow that in receiving this honour that I represent these people. "

STEVE, WAUGH - on being named Australian of the Year 2004

"Australia will never a national identity until individual Australians acquire identities of their own."


"I'm just showing that you can be an Aussie and be yourself, and we've got so much to be proud of. We really have got a country that's equal to anything else in the world, and why not sing about it? And people appreciate that. If they go away feeling prouder about being Australian, well, then, I've done my job, you know. "


"We are not sea people by way of being great mariners, but more of a coastal people, content on the edge of things. We live by the sea not simply because it is more pleasant to be a lazy nation, but because of the two mysteries the sea is more forthcoming; its miracles and wonders are occasionally more palpable, however inexplicable they be. There is more bounty, more possibility for us in a vista that moves, rolls, surges, twists, rears up and changes from minute to minute. The innate human feeling from the veranda is that if you look out to sea long enough, something will turn up... The beach, in Australia, is the landscape equivalent of the veranda, a veranda at the edge of the continent."

TIM, WINTON - A Coastal Memoir

"An inordinate number of them (the children) have attended university and have entered the business and professional worlds. They have become the reality of their parent's hopes and dreams when they uprooted and took the painful step of cultural transplantation. Bonegilla was a garden in which the seedlings of immigration were allowed to grow. Australia is the land which their fruit has flourished. "

TONY, WRIGHT - The Young at Bonegilla. Receiving Young Immigrants at Bonegilla Reception and Training Centre, 1947

"Be proud of your Culture - it is not a barrier to your aspirations, dreams and achievement but it is the essence of who you are and the qualities that you have as a person."


"The old Australia was like a castle, trying to keep out all possible invasion, cultural or physical. Now the nation is on a cultural adventure, is trying to go everywhere, to take a look at the new world outside, in order to know more about this country, to understand it better."


"I have two homes in this world now. Neither is an entire one, a whole one. In China, I've got my parents, my brothers and sister. I have no relatives here. Back in China, I've got so many friends, the friends you can share life with. I miss this very much - and also something in the lifestyle you never forget here. Here, I feel lonely. My wife is with me, I've got two children, but sometimes I still feel very, very lonely. There are some things, there are some times, you can share only with your friends, or with your brothers or sisters. And then you don't have to talk sometimes - you know each other, and you enjoy something we don't have here. Here, the whole atmosphere, the air, the environment, are totally different culturally. Like if you put a fish from this river into that river, maybe she doesn't know what the exact difference is, but she can feel the whole thing is different."


"Stand up for what you think is right. That might be very different from what I am saying today, but you are allowed to differ from me just as I am allowed to differ from you. That is part of our strength as a country that we can differ from each other."

DR JOHN, YU - addressing graduates at the University of Sydney, 2008