Bogans’ Heroes

February 1, 2019 by Ross Mueller
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School holidays are shuddering to a halt and family organisation is reaching fever pitch. This can be music to the ears of some parents who have been juggling their own return to work and holiday programs.

But it doesn’t make it any easier when you’re trying to keep the kids focused on going back to school or heading off to class for the first time ever. The end of January is a difficult time.

In 2019 in our house, nobody is buying books and trying to remember if they need new shirts or socks. It’s a genuine relief in one of the hottest months of the year. But I do know some parents who are yet to hit Officeworks. They have not been given the shopping list for the required pens, pencils and binders. It’s a stressful period and on top of all this, January always seems to slam us into the realisation that many Australians actually didn’t learn that much in school.

January is the month of Australia Day.

This argument is now a defining point on our national calendar.

In 2019 Jeff Kennett and Pat Cash put their unexpected voices to the Change the Date Campaign. Despite this, we were still bombarded with Baby Boomer blowhards who just can’t seem to understand that history proves this country was invaded by the British, sovereignty was never ceded by the Aboriginal people and a Treaty is still not in place. For the Australia Day Denialists, their argument consists mostly of “that’s all in the past and we’re all Australians now…”

It’s this kind of thinking that blindly rejects social progress and embraces cultural Darwinism as the defining feature of Western Civilisation.

And so, history will show that in 2019 Australia Day is not a day when this country came together.

Hundreds of thousands of people marched in the streets to protest. Change will take place once the Boomers die out. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a Darwinian certainty.

Fast forward from 26thJanuary 2019 to 29thJanuary 2019.

Geelong model train enthusiasts Photo: Facebook

The Geelong Advertiser website has a picture of people throwing Nazi salutes. The article suggests this is a group of model train enthusiasts.

They were raising money for a good cause and for some reason, somebody thought it would be funny to get the group to salute just they used to do on “Hogans Heroes”. No apology and no suggestion that the people in the picture may have learned from their mistake. Makes you wonder if this wasn’t a typo and the first “H” should have been a “B”. But even then, there is no explanation for this behaviour.

What is going on in the model train community?

Why are we sending our kids to school if we can’t even agree on basic facts of history?

Lest we forget, the Nazi’s were our enemies. They were bad. and Neo-Nazi’s are just as bad. We went to war to stop them, that’s a fact. Thousands of Australians lost their lives to make sure that Fascism was stopped before it could spread to Australia.

Australians weren’t fighting for The Fatherland or the right to “freedom of expression” Australians were fighting to stop the spread of Nazism. This was a world war not a romantic comedy.

The Hitler salute is a reminder of the massacres and the genocide that was perpetrated on the Jewish people during World War Two.

I know this because we learned it in school.

We were taught twentieth-century history during the twentieth century.

Crazy, I know.

Ross Mueller

World War Two may seem like a ‘60’s TV show now, but back in the day? For millions of people, that stuff was real.

It is not a joke.

So please, can we drop this twenty-first century concept that genocide was a bit of laugh? When our children go to school now, they will learn about the Nazi’s and they will also learn that Aboriginal people were here before the British arrived with their convict ships.

They will also be learning that there were communities living in peace for 60,000 years before Europeans brought guns and diseases and massacres to the shores of this continent.

This history is as real and as pertinent to the Australian narrative as the Nazi’s invasion of Poland, Gallipoli, the Western Front and Vietnam.

January is a hot month on the calendar and a time for us to remember who we are and what has brought us to this point.

Let’s hope that January 2020 is a period of intellectual renaissance and historical recognition.

Ross Mueller is an Australian writer. In 2002 he was the Australian playwright at the International Residency of the Royal Court Theatre in London.  In March 2007 The Ghost Writer premiered at Melbourne Theatre Company and Construction of The Human Heart was shortlisted for the 2007 AWGIE Award for Best New Play and nominated for five Green Room Awards. He is the Winner of the New York New Dramatists Playwright exchange for his play Concussion. He is a freelance columnist, a teacher, and director. 



One Response to “Bogans’ Heroes”
  1. Eleonora Mostert says:

    Wow, Which date should we choose Ross Meuller? There will always be problems regarding Australia Day. A lot was wrong, but these people were also struggling in many areas that everyone sweeps under the carpet. Let’s respect the Indigenous people of this land by not belittling them and giving them their self respect and treat them like equals, which the majority of people who profess to be on their side don’t do at all.

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