Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

Frank William Boreham 1871-1959
A photo F W Boreham took of himself in 1911

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Boreham on Australia

England is an antique. In Australia we invariably speak of it, reverently and affectionately, as ‘the Old Country.’ And yet the thing that strikes every Australian who visits England is the fact that, side by side with so much that compels his veneration, there exists so much that is startlingly, sensationally, audaciously new. And from that antique realm, these young lands import the vast majority of their new ideas.

Australia, on the other hand, is new. An Australian in England feels that he is representing a land of novelties in a land of antiquities, a land of oddities in a land of orthodoxies, a land of impertinences in a land of dignities. Everything about Australia strikes an Englishman as novel. The fact that we have Christmas at midsummer and go for our annual holidays in January; the fact that we get up when an Englishman goes to bed, and go to bed when he gets up; the fact that we go north in winter if we wish to be warm and go south in summer if we wish to be cool; the facts that our trees shed their bark instead of their leaves, that our birds display vociferous hilarity and that our native animals are all fitted out with pockets; these things strike an Englishman as distinctly quaint.

And yet, whilst Australia is a land of novelties, it is essentially a land of antiquities. Geologically, Australia is immensely older than England. Our Australian aborigines are of much more remote origin that the early Britons. Sir Arthur Keith has shown that, long before Mr. Rudyard Kipling's first cockney ‘pushed through the forest that lined the Strand, with paint on his face and a club in his hand,’ our Australian aborigines had made history of a kind—and were growing weary of the monotony of the ages!

F W Boreham, The Drums of Dawn (London: The Epworth Press, 1933), 104-105.

Image: “our native animals are all fitted out with pockets.”