May 08, 2015 | Graham

Farewell to Camelot

JFK died so young that it is hard to realise that he was one of the generation that defined itself by the Great Depression and WWII. If he were alive to day he would have been almost 98.

At his funeral they played Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings Op11.

They framed his administration as Camelot, but in truth that whole generation built Camelot, that shining city by the river with all mod cons, and ideas of right not might, that gave us the Universal Declaration of the Right of Man and ourselves.

In Australia they were the generation that mattered most. We talk about our convict past, but in truth it was overwhelmed by the waves of settlers who came to Australia in the late 19th and 20th Centuries.

That was mum’s generation, and that was the generation of the diggers who are now almost too frail to walk in Anzac Day parades, or who, we hope, are on the Isle of Avalon, being “healed of their hurts.”

They were the generation who settled the country, took the risks in two world wars, put down the roads and the railway lines, established Victorian Christian virtues as the norm, scrimped and saved, and gave their frequently ungrateful offspring a future.

So yesterday, along with many others, I said good bye to Camelot, when we committed mum from West End Uniting Church, to the strains of Barber’s Adagio played by Stephen Nisbet on the organ.

The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
And God fulfils Himself in many ways,
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.
Comfort thyself: what comfort is in me?

Posted by Graham at 7:48 am | Comments (3) |
Filed under: Society


  1. What you say about the older generation is correct Graham! As indeed are your remarks about the huge sacrifices they made to give us a future, and many of the income earning assets later more arrogant “Australians” sold; without so much as a, by your leave.

    Just to, I believe, pay for their fiscal ineptitude, cronyism and feathering the nests of the already well off?

    Few of who actually shared in the sacrifice?

    Like say a pacifist Keating, who nonetheless, “flew” over friendly skies, to PNG, to kiss the ground some of his forbears died on protecting all the freedoms and public property we once had; and visionary leadership that led to a postwar time, when we were once the third wealthiest nation on the planet; and a creditor one at that!

    And lead by visionaries who gave us the Snowy mountains scheme, and impossible in the (can’t be done) minds of the men, with crumbling feet of clay that followed?

    Who like today’s leaders, know all the reasons it won’t work!

    Whereas men like inspirational JFK, even as flawed as he was, had enough vision to reach for the impossible stars; and enough courage to stand up to the bullies, whatever the cost.

    When the Russians tried to blockade Berlin, he was there saying, I am a Berliner!

    And so began the greatest peace time airlift the world had seen, which broke the blockade, such was JFK’s resolve!

    And showed even more white knuckle resolve, even as the USSR tried to put its missiles in Cuba, and stood on the brink of total destruction, to stare down the Soviets who blinked.

    He made most of us believe anything was possible, and while he lived, it surely was!

    I remember watching as he dressed down the most powerful industrialists in the western world; like a headmaster dressing down red-faced and contrite schoolyard bullies, and accused them and rightly so, of being unpatriotic, trying to rip off the less well of by trying to profiteer/price gouge, when such things were still officially frowned on!

    Now it’s surely, how can we help?

    And in a later inspirational speech that still rings in many ears said, ask not what your country can do for you; but rather, what you can do for your country!?

    Yes he was a mortal man with all of the flaws of a mere mortal, which rather than detracting from his achievements, including his wartime exploits, made them even more remarkable!

    They don’t make fair-minded and inspirational leaders like that anymore, who did a little more than just talk about Christian beliefs? But rather, took on board the principle message at the very core of Christianity, inasmuch as you do to the least among you, you also do unto me!

    We however, stood ringing our useless pious hands/rolled over and begged for a tummy rub, as Indonesia annexed East Timor and former ally!

    However and in conclusion, my choice of music for JFK, if I’d had my druthers, would have been the soul stirring Volga song, which tells the story of a young soldier standing on a far distant river bank; an impossibly long way from home, wondering in his heart of hearts, if he would ever see his homeland or loved ones ever again.

    And appropriate when a young man (a modern day inherently fair-minded King Arthur) in his prime, is ripped from this world by a cruel sniper’s bullet!
    Alan B. Goulding

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — May 8, 2015 @ 11:45 am

  2. Eternal be her memory.

    Comment by Gavin R. Putland — May 8, 2015 @ 10:33 pm

  3. One of the things often overlooked in JFK, was his ultra privileged background, which made his story and his inherent sense of fair play even more remarkable!

    And on this first mother’s day you’ve been separated from your’s Graham. May I take the liberty of saying, sorry for your loss!
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — May 10, 2015 @ 11:14 am

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