Topic: AIF - Misc Topics
Happy New Year for 2009
from all here at the
Australian Light Horse Research Centre
May your new year be happier and more prosperous than your last.
Now a glimpse in the past as to how Australia saw the new year over 90 years ago. The following two extracts give a window into the minds of Australians when they faced the gravity presented by reflections on the New Year.
The hopes of New Year's Day, 1917
[From: Melbourne Punch, 4 January 1917, p. 3.]
THE NEW YEAR.
The New Year has come in with the flag half-mast. It has begun its career Of 365 days in the uncountable periods of time with the world at war and Australia in the sickly sleep of drought. The year 1914 went out with bowed head and eyes full of tears, a year of momentous tragedy whose solution is still in desperate evolution. It is during times of great oppression that the robust characteristics of a nation are summoned to the fighting line to resist the onslaught of pessimism and doubt. Even tremendous disasters are not without moral significance and stimulus, and while we are a British Empire at war we are also a British Empire of a magnificent harmony, united not merely in sentiment and held together by artificial ties, but united in a shoulder-to-shoulder determination for the supremacy of right and the enthronement of honor among nations. Australia is associated with Great Britain, France, Russia, and Belgium in a noble and heroic struggle. and 1915 finds her lifted into the prestige of a world power-not in the large acceptation of the word, but in the valor and influence which her sons are exerting against the mighty immorality of a nation which menaces human freedom and is the demonstrated instrument of atrocity and despotism.
So, while 1915 has come to us under very sad auspices, and while Australia, with the rest of the world, is feeling the abomination of this war in the transference of her best manhood to the scene of action and in the crippling effects of trade, and while all these terrific handicaps on progress are associated at the same time with the awful struggle against drought, yet the position is being faced with courage and fortitude. Australia, in popular phrase, is not getting her "tail down." Her head is erect and her shoulders square, there is a vigorous swing in her body and an expression of unconquering determination on her face. She means to see the whole thing through, to stand by the Motherland in the awful calamity of a great war, and to remain firm against the oppressive circumstances that are waging within her own borders, and against which there is no defence except a strong and well-entrenched optimism. If 1915 has come in with the flag half-mast, there is a feeling of confidence that before it shall pass into history the war will have closed and the world be wrapped in a peace resting on liberty and right. The great powers of Europe have rested uneasily for a long time. This turmoil that has made the Continent a vast cemetery and turned the highways of commerce into rivers of blood, has filled millions with terror and plunged the various Governments into crushing expenditure on defence; this turmoil that has sucked the blood of progress and hindered the solution of fearful problems-of social horror will leave behind such an aftermath of security and tranquillity, such a sense of established peace, that perhaps, after all, it will have been worth while. It seems a terrible price to pay-a price in death and suffering that one shrinks front contemplating-but it was inevitable that the bill had to be met. And if 191 5 shall receipt it and give back to the world an unchallenged freedom the colors which now flutter from half-mast will be hauled to the peak, to stay there for a long, long period of happy and progressive years.
[From: Adelaide Critic, 6 January 1915, p. 6.]
Regardless of the conflict, Australians still enjoyed the festivity of the New Year's Eve countdown to the New Year.
A large crowd outside the Adelaide Town Hall counting down to the New Year.
[From: The Observer, 8 January 1916, p. 27.]
Happy New Year
Citation: Happy New Year for 2009