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30 December 2008

Does anyone know the context of this quotation?

Recently took walk down by the water at Brooklyn just north of Sydney. Here I found a quotation written on a park bench:

"We have endeavoured ... to lay down a broad and just foundation upon which a commonwealth may be established in the southern seas, of which a man may be proud to be a citizen." -- Samuel Griffith, 1891
I'm not sure of the provenance of this quotation - suspect it was something to do with the 1st Constitutional Convention in 1891. Would be grateful if anyone can tell me the context of this quotation, and any other information about it.

UPDATE 31-Dec-08 Thanks to Michael Axelsen who kindly provided a source for this quotation. Interestingly he also noted the omitted section, which referred to something the Australians don't talk much about any more:
"..broad and just foundation upon which a commonwealth may be established in the southern seas that will dominate those seas, of which any man may be proud to be a citizen, and which will be a permanent glory to the British Empire."
I suspect that the civic powers that be in Brooklyn did not want to include the 'glory of the British Empire' in their little monument to Federation? Michael also pointed me to a good summary of Samuel Griffith's role in the 1891 Convention.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

2 comments:

Micheal Axelsen said...

Your suspicions are correct - his opening words at the 1891 Australasian Federal Convention in Sydney.

See here, about halfway down the page, from a talk by Paul De J: http://www.naa.gov.au/whats-on/constitution-day/talks/de-jersey-talk-2008.aspx

Interestingly, the omitted bit from the quotation is ' which will be a permanent glory to the British Empire'.

Hope that's of interest to you - you probably already figured this out already.

Thanks: Micheal Axelsen

Kate Carruthers said...

Michael - thanks very much for the explanation. Love how the omitted words referred to the "glory of the British Empire"!