Great Australian World Firsts: The Things We Made, the Things We Did

Great Australian World Firsts: The Things We Made, the Things We Did

Great Australian World Firsts: The Things We Made, the Things We Did

Great Australian World Firsts: The Things We Made, the Things We Did

Synopsis

Over the years, the experiences of soldiers at war become the stuff of legend: tales of great bravery, battlefield wins, and also the tragic losses and poignant moments. Great ANZAC Stories gathers iconic stories of Australian experience in the major wars the country has fought: World Wars I and II, Korea and Vietnam, and also tales from the home front. Here we relive the horror of the first day on Gallipoli, acutely aware of what was to come. We admire the courage of the Rats of Tobruk, the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels, and the Vietnam Tunnelers. We remember the nurses from the Vyner Brooke tragedy and some of the most daring men the country has ever produced. With jokes from the front, yarns about the slouch hat, the Lone Pine, and the real origin of the Anzac biscuit, Great ANZAC Stories also reveals a distinctively Australian way to remember the nation's years at war.

Excerpt

Australians are so proud of the tradition that no one should do better than another within our culture that we’ve given a name to the practice of cutting down achievers: ‘the tall-poppy syndrome’. We’ve assimilated this national harvest that reduces everyone to an equal shortness so thoroughly that it’s become one of our great cultural excuses. As a nation, we have become so smug and self-satisfied in our lucky country that we would rather everyone lose equally than any individual win. We insist that students must not fail in the classroom because competition is too psychologically damaging, and then we decry the country’s lack of business and political leaders when such leaders are forged in the heat of the race to win and honed by the cut and thrust of competition.

Unfortunately for our culture, reducing everyone to the same size in Australia hasn’t meant raising everyone up to the same level; instead, traditionally the practice has been to cut everyone down to the lowest common denominator. Rather than stretch some student minds, for example, the entire class has to be taught at the pace of the slowest. Although Australia hasn’t gone down the extreme paths of other countries that wanted everyone equal and so imprisoned their educators, scientists, talented artists and writers, it transports them instead to a cultural wasteland of inadequate funding, lack of interest . . .

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