No one cares about ‘Straya Day


Captain Phillips somewhere on the other side of the country

On TV this year, cricket legend Adam Gilchrist encouraged everyone to celebrate Australia Day in their own way. And so he might. After all, it’s never been clear to anyone what the 26th January is actually for.

Sure we all know it represents the founding of New South Wales. But what are we, on the other side of the country, meant to do in response to that?

Some young ladies like to put on small and cheap patriotic bikinis from Red Dot [no objections here from the Dodgy Perth offices], some young men like to drape themselves in the flag, get pissed, and shout “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Oi, Oi, Oi!” [many objections]. Most people have a BBQ and listen to JJJ.

What we learn from the past is that they had no idea how to celebrate it either. For starters, they couldn’t even agree on a name. Some states called it Australia Day, others used the term Foundation Day or Anniversary Day. It was only in 1936 the Commonwealth Government ordered everyone to use the words Australia Day. But even this didn’t make it any clearer.

In the 1910s it was a day for kids and the place to be was South Beach. There were pony rides, fruit, swings, toys, swimming and running races, and a greasy pole in the pool. But by the 1930s no one was organising anything except a rowing regatta on the Swan. Which didn’t seem very patriotic to anyone, really.

Enter the Australian Natives Association (ANA). While they might sound as if they had something to do with Aboriginal rights, they couldn’t be further away. The ANA were the leading jingoistic mob, always demanding more be done to keep Australia white and British. There is still an ANA rowing club at Bayswater, but we imagine they’ve dropped their appalling racism by now.

It was pressure from the ANA and a bucket-load of nationalistic speeches from them about celebrating White Australia that forced the government’s hand in 1936 to make the day ‘Australia Day’ for everyone.

But no one cared. Each year the Perth newspapers tried really hard to educate the public about the arrival of Captain Phillip on Sydney Cove and why they should be celebrating this historic event. But no one cared. Even during World War II, when patriotic sentiment was at its height, the City of Perth forgot to put out the national flags on 26th January until the ANA shouted at them.

Australia Day has long been a holiday for Western Australians. And that’s all its ever been. Our only tradition has been to take the day off and enjoy it. We’re not particularly interested in Captain Phillip, just JJJ. And there are no objections here from the Dodgy Perth offices.

Last night a DJ ruined my life

Mrs E. Halliday and her wireless, 1950

Mrs E. Halliday and her wireless, 1950

Everybody has one friend who “can’t bear to listen to commercial radio”, and who praises JJJ.

The same friend will also tell you all modern music is rubbish.

I. Can’t. Even.

Anyway, in Dodgy Perth HQ we are unashamed to have 94.5 FM blaring away as our crack team of researchers finds ever more stories from the past to entertain you.

Today: What did people think of commercial radio in 1949?

Not a lot, if we are to believe the Westralian Worker, who listed seven specific harms of listening to such stations.

Channels such as 94.5 and 92.9 have:

  • Destroyed silence and the ability to create our own amusements.
  • Played music only fitted to an “asylum for cultural perverts”.
  • Bombarded us with adverts which are disgusting and impudent.
  • Ruined family life by removing the need for conversation and let DJs into the family circle, a type of person who would normally never get past the front door.
  • Turned the whole country into noise hungry robots.
  • Lowered standards of music, literature and drama.
  • Hampered education by encouraging mediocrity, inaccuracy and sensation.

Okay. We get it. Back to JJJ for us then.