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Hitchhiking out of Melbourne


Republican changes in Australian values
Norman Greenwood Scientist
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Yes. You have to remember it's not so long after all the separate States, which were separate Colonies, formed a Commonwealth through federation and Australia was formed. That was on 1st January 1901, and we're only talking 20 years... Then there was Gallipoli, which was a defining moment in Australia's history, and then, of course, the war. But one of the features of Australian schools there was that every Monday morning we had school assembly, which was outside, which says something for the weather. And we would line up, girls and boys, and we'd put our hand on our heart and we would repeat, 'I love God and my country, I will honour the King, I will serve the flag and cheerfully obey my parents, teachers and the law'. That's what we did.

Now, the interesting thing is that when I went back to my primary school last year and they had a special assembly – it was a celebration for their centenary the year before actually –but it was the anniversary of that, they had a school assembly but they don't say that now, they say something different. And it starts, hand on hearts still, but, 'I love my country, Australia'. And there's a subtle difference; the King is not mentioned, the flag is not mentioned, so it's incipient republicanism coming in, I think, and very understandably. But it then goes on and instead of serving and obedience, which was the objective being instilled in children at an earlier stage, they're talking about being careful – sorry – caring to our neighbours and our fellow students, to be helpful and kind and so forth, and to look after the environment. So it's a complete change in the oath, but they still say the oath.

Norman Greenwood (1925-2012) was born in Australia and graduated from Melbourne University before going to Cambridge. His wide-ranging research in inorganic and structural chemistry made major advances in the chemistry of boron hydrides and other main-group element compounds. He also pioneered the application of Mössbauer spectroscopy to problems in chemistry. He was a prolific writer and inspirational lecturer on chemical and educational themes, and held numerous visiting professorships throughout the world.

Listeners: Brian Johnson

Professor Brian FG Johnson FRS, FRSE, FRS Chem, FAcad Eu, FAS. Professor of Inorganic Chemistry University of Edinburgh 1991-1995, Professor of Inorganic Chemistry University of Cambridge 1995-2005, Master Fitzwilliam College Cambridge 1999-2005. Research interests include studies of transition metal carbonyls, organometallic chemistry, nano- particles and homogeneous catalysis. Professor Johnson is the author of over 1000 research articles and papers.

Tags: 1901, Gallipoli, Gallipoli Campaign, Australia

Duration: 2 minutes, 14 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2011

Date story went live: 25 November 2011