Specialising in the human experience of Living with prostate cancer – warts and all

… and then they shot The President

with 3 comments

In Post World War II Australia, life was meant to be easy and everyone knew their place. Kids went to school, their dads worked for the one employer for all of their career, their mums were at home keeping the family functioning. To a teenager, the Prime Minister – Bob Menzies – had always been there and Pope Pious XII and Archbishop Mannix had always been the leaders of the Catholic Church … and then they shot The President.

Australia was for Australians and whilst we encouraged the British to emigrate with 10 pound sea voyages to Australia, we had the “White Australia Policy” to keep the yellow peril out. It worked like this … unwanted immigrants were given a language test that they could not successfully complete. If they were Asian, they would be asked to speak Gaelic or some language they knew nothing about. African negroes would be expected to speak Chinese or some other language. It was very effective and the country was pleased with the end result … and that is what we were taught in our schools.

We had no real problems with aborigines. They were suitably contained in areas such as Lake Tyers in Gippsland well away from our cities. There weren’t all that many of them and we had a national policy of assimilation. By helping their children learn our ways, they would more readily assimilate and eventually they would breed their race out of existence by marrying white Australians. The Christian Churches sent missionaries to preach the faith and to find homes for the unwanted aborigine children. Every year, we were given missionary collection boxes in our schools to help finance the work of the missionaries … and that is what we were taught in our schools.

After the trauma and hardships of World War II, there was a sense of community where we all had the same memories and expectations of life. There was no shortage of employment and when we left school, we took a job. People who took council or public service jobs were considered to be those with no talent or motivation. Those not married by the age of 18 for girls and 24 for boys were considered inadequate or queer (gay). We did not discuss sex, politics or religion as these topics could cause dissention.

Then we started bringing in European immigrants as we were short of skilled tradesmen to modernise Australia. We brought in Italians from the slums of Naples, and families from the Baltic States. We housed them in concentration camp conditions without barbed wire or armed guards. They joined the construction industries and layed concrete and built infrastructure such as the Snowy Mountains Scheme. The fact is, they were refugees, just like those from the middle east in this new century, and our parents knew it! As children, we were warned against them through the fear of the unknown. We had to tolerate them because we needed the manpower. To counteract this fear, they were promoted as new Australians … and that is what we were taught in our schools

Along with the Dutch, the Greeks, the Poles and a few others, the fact remained that they were different to Australians. War in their homelands had eroded their standards. They had been downtrodden at home and were being exploited here. Is it any wonder they took every advantage they could in their new country. As their numbers grew, their determination to succeed surpassed that of the Australians. They were prepared to work harder and longer. They owned their own homes sooner than we did. The Wogs were everywhere and they were eroding our lifestyle and taking our jobs. Australian governments reacted by refusing to recognise professional qualifications from European universities. When they had needed the physical manpower earlier on, qualifications had not been a consideration.

Over the ensuing years, we have been urged to be tolerent of other cultures and to accept the differences with our traditional society. Try their food, learn their languages and marry their children. We call this “Multiculturalism” … and that is what they have taught you in our schools.

It seems to me that the meaning of multiculturalism and assimmilation are rather close. But it does seem strange that we seem to attract people from monocultures and wonder why they can’t fit in.

On November 23, 1963, the Sun News Pictorial carried an announcement that Greg Naylor had became engaged to marry Maureen Morrissey. That date has remained with me because the very same newspaper announced that JFK, the President of the United States, had been shot. They say that you always remember what you were doing when momentous events occur. I was shaving first thing in the morning and listening to the radio as it announced the assassination. I was struck numb! The world had lost it’s innocence and we knew it.

From that day on, the people of the world lost faith in the future. Politicians and businessmen have become blatently self serving. Statesmen no longer exist. With the advent of computers and the Internet, censorship of the masses has become redundant and we are exposed to the weaknesses of mankind like never before. In my mind, the assassination of J.F.K was a more monumental tragedy than the terrorism of September 11.

Until then, the world was naive. It accepted the status quo. It honoured world leaders as statesmen. John Fitzgerald Kennedy was seen as a statesman. Since his assassination, and the revelation of the causes behind it, we have learned from Malcolm Fraser that “Life was not meant to be easy”. Now, 40 years on, I believe the deterioration in our moral and ethical standards passed the point of no return on the day they shot The President.


Written by Greg Naylor

4 August 2008 at 12:00 am

Posted in PERSONAL

3 Responses

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  1. Yeah, Greg, I was out fishing on Port Phillip Bay with a bunch of workmates, on THAT day.


    4 August 2008 at 6:08 am

  2. God bless mono-culturalism eh?

    Whitlam was a much greater loss than Kennedy anyway.


    4 August 2008 at 3:11 pm

  3. Jack – you are coming from a different reference point not having been there when JFK was assassinated. So, in your liftime it was Gough – in mine JFK!

    Greg Naylor

    4 August 2008 at 4:30 pm

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