Publication Details

Cahill, R. (2013). A khaki future?. Overland, 212 (Spring), 1-3.

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Australia is a martial and warlike nation, established on beachheads on the east coast of the continent in 1789 by the military might of Britain. Long-running conflict with the indigenous people ensued, a struggle that went on into the 1920s and is yet to be incorporated into mainstream tellings of the history of the Australian nation.

With invasion secured and indigenous dispossession well in hand, military interventions followed in the lands and affairs of others: in New Zealand during the 1860s against the Maori people, where volunteers were enticed with the promise of sharing confiscated land; the Sudan (1885–86); the Boxer Rebellion in China (1900–01); the Boer War in South Africa (1899–1902); the First World War (1914–18) and the anti-Bolshevik North Russian Relief Force (1919), where we picked up two Victoria Crosses. So on through the twentieth century: the Second World War, Korea, Malaya, Borneo, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, with the Second World War (arguably) the only time the security of the nation was threatened