Prior to popping up to work this morning I drove out to the National Prisoner of War Memorial and took some photos.
Tony Robinson ( of Blackadder and Time Team fame) is in Ballarat at the moment filming a program on Australian military history. He was very generous with his time giving autographs and posing for photos.
This morning I worked through a pile of mail ( mostly advertising or farm machinery adverts) and found a parcel from the Veteran Affairs Department. They always create excellent resources around ANZAC day that they send out to schools.This year they sent out some posters and some books about Australian military heroes.Also in the pack was a poster advertising the Commonwealth Education Department's National History Challenge.It was interesting to see a big picture of Robert Menzies on the poster ( refer photo)
Over the years conservative politicians (Abbott, Pyne, Costello, Howard etc) have said they wanted to see some revision to the way history is taught in our schools ( hence the current curriculum review) so as to emphasise more the 'conservative political' contribution to Australian society.( that shouldn't take long) at hey were keen to crank up what has been dubbed 'the history wars'.So it was with some interest that I noticed that the picture they chose to have of Menzies on the poster was of him talking to Robert McNamara in Washington in 1964.
No doubt talking about their eventually disasterous intervention of the US and Australia in the Vietnam war. ( In fact in 1965 Australia would invite itself into the Vietnam conflict. Australia volunteered combat troops long before the decision was announced in April 1965.)Our conservative political leaders would go on to urge America to escalate the war by bombing North Vietnam while at the same time being totally indifferent to the views of the South Vietnamese.( For further reading on this I'd recommend 'War For the Asking' by Michael Sexton.)
I'll post my Paul Jennings bundle tomorrow or Monday.