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Proud to be British Australians!
29 August 2013

BRITISH AUSTRALIAN COMMUNITY LITERARY PRIZE

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THE BRITISH AUSTRALIAN COMMUNITY LITERARY PRIZE

BRITISH AUSTRALIAN COMMUNITY

ESU HOUSE, 146 WEST TOORAK ROAD, SOUTH YARRA, VIC,  3141

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CONDITIONS OF ENTRY

1. The British Australian Community Literary Prize is open to all Australian citizens or permanent residents of Australia.

2. The Prize will be awarded to an original, unpublished essay not exceeding 800 words, on the theme of the positive heritage of British culture in Australia.

3. Entries will not be under offer to any publication, or offered for publication, until the adjudication is finalized and the winner is notified.

4. The Prize will be awarded to a single writer, but up to three additional unpaid entries may be commended. The winner will be notified personally, and announced on the BAC website in early November, and be published in the BAC’s journal, Endeavour.

5. Entrants may submit no more than two essays for consideration.

6. Each single entry must be accompanied by a non-refundable fee of $10.00 for administration expenses. Personal cheques, bank cheques, postal/money orders should be made payable to the British Australian Community.

7. As a copy of the Entry Form can be kept for tax purposes, receipts will not be issued unless requested.

8. Entries should be typed, one side only, on A4 paper. Entries are assessed in their original submitted versions only. No subsequent editorial amendment or resubmission is permitted.

9. Personal details should not appear on any manuscript, to ensure discretion and fair-dealing in the adjudication process. Please supply full details as required on the separate Entry Form.

10. Do not submit original manuscripts. Please submit copies only as entries will not be returned.

11. The British Australian Community accepts no liability for loss or damage of manuscripts.

12. The decision of the BAC’s adjudication panel is final. No subsequent correspondence will be entered into.

13. The judging panel does not provide feedback or critical comment on individual entries, except at its discretion.

14. The judges reserve the right not to confer the Prize in any given year.

15. The value of the Prize will be AUS $1,000, until further notice.

The competition closes on 30/04/2014

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RESULTS OF PREVIOUS AWARDS

2012

2012 winning entry “From Everything to Nothing” by Saxon Smith, South Australia With unstrained appreciation of the pervasiveness of British culture in Australia, Saxon Smith approaches his topic with youthful vigour but also youthful playfulness. These are what enable him to open out the limited contextual space in which he begins until it is large enough to encompass a challenge for his entire generation.

2012 commended: “The English Ale: An Annual Celebration of the English Folk Arts in South Australia” by Bronwyn Lloyd, South Australia Bronwyn Lloyd successfully conveys a poetic engagement with the enduring mysteries of our intangible but resonant English cultural heritage.

2012 commended: “English Tower Bells and Change Ringing” by Warne Wilson, Queensland Each of Warne Wilson’s paragraphs is a charming miniature of one aspect of our culture, localised as much in the bells of our small country churches as in our great city cathedrals.

2012 commended: “Positive Aspects of British Heritage” by Peter H. Edwards Peter H. Edwards bravely affirms the restraining influence of British culture on a raw frontier society. His sincerity on the issue of British settler relations with Aborigines is undeniable, and a challenge to those who prefer the weak option of a black armband.

From Everything to Nothing:
The Positive Heritage of British Culture in Australia

by Saxon Smith

It is relatively easy to answer the question: what is the positive heritage of British culture in Australia. The short answer is: everything; that is, everything valuable, cherished, noble and worthy of preservation. British culture and traditions provide the sociocultural infrastructure and backbone to the Australian nation.

Here are some examples. The Australian legal system is derived from Britain, and although appeals from the High Court of Australia to Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council can no longer be made, because of the passing of the Australia Act 1986 in both the Australian and British parliaments, the foundation of Australian law is distinctively British. Our High Court in Sue v Hill (1999) held that Britain is a foreign power, within the meaning of section 44(i) of the Australian constitution, but the common law system and its modus operandi, is British.

The nation’s language, as much as the Asianist crowd may hate it, is English. English is the international language of science and technology. The major scientific journals, be they physics or medicine, are English language journals. Despite lip service about our Asian destiny that erupts from the orifices of ageing ex-prime ministers like bubbling toxic gas, English is also the language of world and Asian business. Learn an Asian language? I’ll learn one when Paul Keating and Mal (look up my name in a dictionary) Fraser learn two.

Our clothes are British in origin, not Asian, and even the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejab, wears a Western (i.e. British) suit, but rebels by wearing no tie. Our clothes are not those of the Australian Aborigine, however metaphysically enlightened and ecologically sensitive their culture may be, at least according to the sacred canons of politically correct secondary schooling.

What about sport and Australian culture? Australian Rules football may or may not have a British origin or connection, but cricket is English in origin, and nothing stirs up the blood of Australian cricket lovers like an Ashes match against England. To beat England is something of an eternal ritual of passage for Australia. But it is all good fun and an excuse to pour down our throats copious quantities of beer, a drink which was brought to Australia from the motherland. We drink our beer ice cold whilst the British like theirs warm, which may have something to do with the climate.

At Federation Australia ethno-racially was about 97 percent Anglo-Celtic, although there are debates about what exactly a “Celt” is. Let’s say 97 percent British. After World War II, Arthur Caldwell, Labour Minister for Immigration, and a blueprint for future politicians such as Paul Keating, scared the population with the cry of “populate or perish.” The idea here was that Australia needed a big population to deal with the coming threat of Asia, a taste of which was delivered by Japan in World War II. Thus while other countries learnt from World War II and understood the power of nuclear weaponry, Australia’s power elites developed a cargo cult mentality towards immigration. This became a new religion, which has spawned doctrines such as multiculturalism and Asianisation. The vast intake of non-British people since about 1947 has made us into, the elites say, a more exciting and rich culture. The metaphors used by them to describe this all are based on food, and the guzzling class love their rich fatty ethnic food and wine.

The food issue illustrates the deracination and deconstruction of the British people and culture which has occurred in recent decades. For example, media cook Jamie Oliver in his TV special, Great Britain: The West Country, travels through Britain to discover the dishes of his home country. But he starts the episode by saying that he doesn’t even know what it means to speak of British cooking because classic British dishes all come, according to him, from other countries. Thus, Oliver investigates the migrants who have the real dishes and culture and goes to Bristol to cook with a Jamaican chef. The subtext here is that the only real people in Britain are migrants and the native white people do not have a culture worth talking about. The same theme is pushed in a vast array of books and media.

People of Britain, including Australia, are being deracinated and dispossessed, by their own cultural elite. This may be the first time in history that this has happened without an outright invasion occurring, but then again maybe the invasion has been a quiet one and has already happened. British culture has given Australia everything worthwhile, but we now stand in danger of losing it all and ourselves as well. My generation, or that which is not brain-dead or brain-washed, will have to fight this or perish.

© Saxon Smith

2013

2013 winning entry: An older lady’s reflections (on an under recognised aspect) regarding the positive heritage of British culture in Australia by Llewella Jenkins, Queensland. Llewella Jenkins sheds a late-afternoon light on an almost forgotten ceremony. This celebration of a ritual that once helped bind together the world-wide British diaspora derives its charm from an understated certainty that small things matter.

An older lady’s reflections (on an under recognised aspect)
regarding the positive heritage of British culture in Australia

by Llewella Jenkins

What is it that has a civilising effect, is quietly reassuring and is quintessentially British? It has to be the traditional afternoon tea! As a young Aussie living in England I remember being a waitress at Fuller’s Tea Shop.

I wore a royal blue long sleeved uniform and a white apron with red polka dots.

It was my first job and I worked after school, at weekends and bank holidays to supplement my pocket money. I can still remember the heavy feeling of a pocket filled with threepenny bits and sixpences, my tips from serving old ladies their tea and cake … toast and cream cakes. It is hard to believe that I am now as old as they were, and with grand-daughters of my own serving fast food in an even faster world.

Sharing afternoon tea gives us an opportunity to socialize, sate hunger, gossip and sort out life’s problems. Through the inheritance of this custom it is also a reminder perhaps, from across the world, of what seems in retrospect, a kinder, slower and more gentle time.

We have either Charles II’s wife. Catherine of Borganza or Anna Maria Russell, Duchess of Bedford, to thank for introducing afternoon snacks to tide us over until the evening meal. The formal afternoon tea ritual has since remained virtually unchanged since popularised in the 1840′s.

Nowadays it may involve use of the finest flower be-decked china, a three tiered cake stand complete with tasty morsels, silver pot and spoons and a small vase of pretty flowers all set out on a snowy white cloth. The food should start off with small warm savouries, a selection of ribbon sandwiches, scones, jam and clotted cream … then if you have room … bite sized delicious cakes! Tea from a pot and may I suggest an upsize, to a glass of champagne for the indulgent: now that’s a High Tea! A Palm Court string quartet playing discreetly in the background can only enhance a feeling of well-being.

Once, I crossed the world to Brook Street, Mayfair. Believing as I do, that a wicked witch swapped me at birth, I felt obliged to regain my rightful place, however briefly, for just such an experience at Claridges. I’d been shopping at Harrods with my sister, and High Tea seemed an appropriate decadent finale to our overseas trip. So the Teddy I had just bought sat with us in his own chair. I still remember the Art Decor interior, massive marble columns, the black and white chequered floor, the elegance and sheer beauty of our surroundings. Our waitress had noted we were Australian so brought out the pastry chef, creator of the mouthwatering treats. He came from Sydney! Our visit had been spontaneous but I see on the Claridges’ website bookings now must be made months in advance for this experience.

At the other extreme I have also been fortunate enough to travel across the harsh Australian outback where mile after red dusty mile creates a thirst for a different afternoon tea ritual: a smoko ‘bushman style’. (First boil your billy over an open fire, gumleaf optional, throw in a handful of tea leaves then swing it aloft for a couple of rotations.) Sit under the shade of the nearest tree, if you can find one, then watch the sun go down.

Whilst I gain immense aesthetic pleasure from my cup, plate and saucer collection, supplemented by discoveries from op shops and garage sales, I now find I am running out of room to create effective displays. Precious china overflows from the mirror-backed cabinet, trails down the passage on shelves and will soon reach the bathroom. The nearly best drawer in the kitchen stores some use-able pieces that won’t cause me too much distress in the likely event of being accidentally smashed by my heavy handed husband.

I enjoy preparing afternoon tea for my daughters, usually to celebrate their birthday. I have been known to prepare a special treat just for myself as I did to celebrate the Royal Wedding. High Tea for one, in front of the telly, dressed in my nightgown, with pearls and flower corsage. I didn’t want to miss a moment.

These days tea has become quite trendy with shops dedicated to selling hundreds of blends from around the world. I’m even branching out myself with herbal infusions and a newly acquired taste for aromatic and spicy chai. But nothing will ever beat a British cuppa!

© Llewella Jenkins