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Introduction: peace and patriotism in twentieth-century Australia


Harvey, K and Irving, N, Introduction: peace and patriotism in twentieth-century Australia, 14, (2) ISSN 1449-0854 (2017) [Edited Journal]

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DOI: doi:10.1080/14490854.2017.1319744


In the early hours of Friday, 23 April 1971, four young peace activists painted the word ‘PEACE!’ in large white letters on columns of the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne. Classed as vandalism by the press, the activists made a brash, visible statement of protest at Australia’s military involvement in Vietnam. That the graffiti would be visible to the estimated 13,000 returned servicemen and women who marched in the annual Anzac Day parade two days later was additionally controversial. The perpetrators also injured an unarmed Government House guard, stationed that night at the Shrine, when he interrupted their painting. The outcry over the act of protest – and the assault – was typically fervent. The acting Victorian Police Commissioner called it ‘an outrage’, whilst Victorian Premier Sir Henry Bolt said the perpetrators ought to receive a ‘flogging’. The acting chairman of the Shrine Trustees, former colonel Alfred Kemsley, went further, stating in the Age: ‘If I could become a soldier again I’d kill the bastards … I’d shoot them or hang them all from the nearest tree.’ Melbourne’s Sun also featured a photograph of five Gallipoli veterans in front of the Shrine on its front page, quoting one as muttering ‘What the hell do they think we fought for?’

Item Details

Item Type:Edited Journal
Keywords:history, war, peace, pacifism, nationalism, identity, Australia
Research Division:History, Heritage and Archaeology
Research Group:Historical studies
Research Field:Australian history
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Understanding past societies
Objective Field:Understanding Australia's past
UTAS Author:Harvey, K (Dr Kyle Harvey)
ID Code:127440
Year Published:2017
Deposited By:College Office - CALE
Deposited On:2018-07-27
Last Modified:2020-01-03

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