by Sasha Uzunov
You are seeing this alarming trend emerge in Australian Rules Football and overall Australian sports historiography more and more -motivated by US styled corporate history, which aims to erase certain aspects for political purposes.
The British character of Australians sports is erased because of “colonialism” and in its place you are given a story which is tantamount to a fairy tale which cleverly implies -by deliberate omission of facts – that mysterious people with no ethnic identity whatsoever came from nowhere and for reasons unknown turned up in Australians parks in the 1850s, and immediately were called “Australians” (even though that nationality didn’t as yet exist) and began playing a game called Australian Rules Football.
Furthermore, you are told that for reasons unknown these mysterious people called “Australians”, voluntarily, freely abandoned these sports in 1914 to fight in an overseas war, thousands of miles / kilometres away from Australian shores. But you are not told that these people –“Australians” – identified as culturally British and volunteered to fight for Britain.
Moreover, cultural Americaness, which has its own colonial controversies such as mistreatment of native Americans and the use of African slaves, is permitted and even glorified by those who hypocritically seek to erase Britishness from Australians sport.
PREMATURE AUSTRALIAN UNIQUENESS (PAU)?
What on earth is PAU? I am not trying to be flippant or re-invent myself as a sex therapist but offering a serious analysis!
There is now a tendency in Australian sports historiography to portray leading historical figures and events as purely or uniquely Australian even though Australian identity, which proudly and independently exists today, was of dual character or nature pre World War II. Britishness went hand in hand with Australianess, unless you were a staunch Irish Australian nationalist.
Legally, Australian nationality and citizenship only came into existence in 1948-49. Australia only became de facto independent from the British Empire in 1942 when the Australian Federal Parliament ratified the 1931 British Statue of Westminster.
To give you an example of Premature Australian Uniqueness (PAU) is the 1907 Wimbledon men’s singles title win by Australian (Sir) Norman Brookes. Tennis Australia, the governing body of the game, classifies Brookes as being the first “foreign” winner of Wimbledon even though Australia was not independent in 1907, and Brookes was a British Subject, as were all Australians, and travelled on a British passport.
PAU simply put is the process of pushing a purely Australian identity, stripped of its Britishness, too early when it happened or evolved and hardened much later !
– MORE TO COME –