Continuum: The Australian Journal of Media & Culture
Vol. 3, No. 1, 1990
Space * Meaning * Politics
Edited by the Institute for Cultural Policy Studies, Griffith University

Monuments and Memory

Annette Hamilton

Nothing is absolutely dead: every meaning will have its homecoming festival.

M.M. Bakhtin [1]

Monuments

The general name of monument which comes from the latin Monitor, to signify all things which call to mind the Memory of some subject to those absent from this place or time, seems to recommend itself all the more to our discourse in that the other name of monument is too limited in its vernacular usage (which is the master of language) signifying particularly the sepulchres of the dead, which are also made for memory.

Antoine Rascas, 1611 [2]

The purpose of the monument is to memorialise. Monuments may be erected by the powerful to memorialise themselves; by the bereaved, to memorialise their departed ones whose memories otherwise will be obliterated in the normal course of time; or by the State or nation, to memorialise itself at some particular moment deemed to be glorious. Natural objects can become monuments too, but only after they have been somehow 'inscribed' by culture: removed, placed on plinths, textualised through engravings or inscriptions. In ancient times memorials were largely to the great and powerful, constructed by themselves or their heirs; until recently, by far the most common have been those manufactured representations which combine the notion of individual sacrifice with the celebration of collective survival: is this somehow the appropriate memorial for mass societies?

The relationship between this form of memorial and modernity itself raises interesting questions. During recent research in Thailand I have been collecting information on monuments which suggests that in the public/civic form monumentalisation is virtually simultaneous with the first major 'modernising' impulses during the mid- to late-nineteenth century. The most important monuments tend to be statues depicting heroic historic figures, mostly Kings, who participated in 'turning points' of Thai military history, generally since the Ayutthaya Period (late 1700's). Earlier forms of memorialisation were fully encompassed by the system of religious sites and representations, largely temples and holy images. Individuals were memorialised by inscriptions recording donations to temples of slaves, money and land, just as today inscriptions on modern temple sites indicate how much financial contribution prominent individuals and families have made on auspicious occasions.

However even the modern monuments display a quality of 'sacredness' in accord with Thai beliefs concerning the power of famous Kings, and become shrines of pilgrimage, where people make floral offerings and pay obeisance. The monuments to 'modern' history, such as the Victory Monument and the Democracy Monument, do not seem to attract the same kind of spiritual legitimation. Thus the 'modernity' of monumentalisation is overlaid with pre-existing cultural and religious beliefs, rendering a different form of monumental hierarchy to that found in Western societies.

Very little comparative theoretical work has as yet been directed towards the social, historical and cultural analysis of 'the monument'. Clearly current interest in post-modernism, popular culture, mass society and montage3 has opened up a space in which such an analysis can be situated. In Australia the question is particularly interesting because 'the past', as a colonial past, is of such brief duration, resulting in a kind of manic over-compensation in the present now that 'cultural conservation' and the concept of 'National Heritage' have emerged in accord with general socio-cultural trends of post-capitalist society everywhere.4 The exhortation to retain and conserve 'the past', as part of the constitution of a viable 'national identity', is especially difficult when there is so little of it, at least in the form of recognisable constructed markers suitable for cultural memorialisation. The problem is made even worse by the fact that the very sites where such markers are most plentiful are in the central part of capital cities (sites of first settlement) which are also the only ones of any significant monetary value to transnational late-capitalism. Hence the pathetic efforts to 'memorialise' sites of significance for white Australia's early history by retaining fragments of facade and constructing multistorey monoliths behind or around them.

In Australia, published analyses of the significance of memorials are few. Donald Horne, Ken Inglis and others have suggested that monuments legitimate a hegemonic version of 'history', while Fiske, Hodges and Turner, in probably the most sustained theoretical treatment of Australian monuments to date, argue that they partake of the 'monstrous', carrying a deforming weight of significance.5 Bulbeck contests the completeness of such a hegemony by documenting memorials which challenge 'orthodox history' by memorialising Aborigines, workers, and women, while admitting that these sites are represented by less imposing physical forms in less visible public spaces.6 Beryl Henderson has recently published a survey of Australian monuments and memorials,7 while Ken Inglis's forthcoming work on Australian War Memorials will no doubt carry the analysis considerably further.8

Contemporary interest in 'modern' monuments, of course, is antedated by Western society's fascination with the monuments of ancient times, a fascination which seems to have developed and flourished during the nineteenth century. More recently, the attraction of such structures has been intensified through international tourism, wherein cultural markers of past social formations are 'packaged' as an essential aspect of modern experience, and through television documentaries, which bring the ancient world and its memorials into the purview of the sedentary.

The 'shift' in signification here requires consideration of its own; it is doubtless part of the same impulse which accounts for the rise of museumification, the selection and resignification of objects of the past which now become 'sacred' (in the classical anthropological sense of 'set apart', 'dedicated or reserved to some person or purpose' (Concise Oxford Dictionary). The difference is that the objects selected for resignification in the museum are frequently items of everyday use from the past, artfully displayed in carefully controlled internal spaces. Their 'viewing' requires an act of intention by the viewer; they cannot be encountered 'accidentally'. The monument, on the other hand, has an external existence, in public space, and is always/already a reminder. From this point of view, monuments stimulate a different kind of memoire involuntaire.9 They are a message to the viewer (the masses?): Do Not Forget.

Why Monuments?

What is the source of the desire not to forget or be forgotten? The ancients insisted that they be remembered in their persons, by their names or titles; they rendered their images colossal, so as to force their subjects to recognise their power, to feel fear or humility. Perhaps, too, the subjects can participate in that power, feeling it their own through identification.

The modern monument, epitomised in those recalling victory in war or revolution, celebrates groups, ethnes or nations, rather than powerful individuals. However, these monuments also recollect the sacrifices made by those who achieved the victories, and to this extent resemble the often more humble monuments to founding ancestors, explorers, governors and scientists. Settler colonies are littered with them, and they are often located in public spaces in conjunction with memorials of the collective kind. The role of the monument in settler colonies is particularly important, since the significations and authorising narratives of the pre-colonial period are incomprehensible or contradict the historical meanings new settlers need to impose. In Australia, although there are early memorials to Aborigines, these are generally individuals who supported and assisted white settlement in various ways (as Bulbeck has documented).10 More recently, particularly since the late 1960's, memorials to Aboriginal 'tribes' have appeared, marking an acknowledgment of prior occupation. However, such memorials only arise where the present tenure of the white settlers is beyond legal dispute: there are singularly few monuments to Aboriginal groups or individuals in the Northern Territory, for example. Further, not only are the memorial mechanisms (plaques, cairns etc.) utterly alien to Aboriginal tradition, there seems to be no instance where sites of significance to Aborigines (for example, sacred sites), are so marked - except of course and by contrast in the Northern Territory itself, where site marking has in some cases been imposed by federal legislation.

On the other hand, the non-military memorials in settler colonies are particularly focussed on explorers and pioneer settlers. Such memorials are generally constructed well after the event: their significations are retrospective, provided by citizens who have reaped the benefits of the exploration, victory and settlement: almost as a restitution to their forerunners for the pains they suffered, and in recognition of their resoluteness and bravery. These perhaps can be seen as messages from a present back to a past, like the ancestral sacrifices made in many societies to repay the ancestors and secure their continuing patronage.

The public/civic monuments of the British settler colonies show strong resemblances, although the authorizing narratives surrounding them place an unquestionable 'national stamp' which distinguishes them. I began research on the British settler colonies of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in 1980, largely out of a concern to understand the development of different policies towards indigenous people and land rights in the nineteenth century. Interested in the mythologising of national history, in 1981 I visited South Africa to work in the archives in Capetown. I also began to research and photograph the wide variety of monuments through which South African colonies memorialise sites of significance to the prior inhabitants and aspects of the different race policies in the three colonies which clearly differentiate them. As mentioned earlier, in Australia monuments exist to 'good' and 'helpful' Aborigines, while more recently, monuments recognising Aboriginal prior occupation have appeared.11 However, the long history of struggle along the frontier is obliterated. In New Zealand the relations between Maoris and settlers appear through memorials to the Maori wars, mostly dating from after the turn of the century when the Maoris were 'rehabilitated' through their participation in World War 1.12 In South Africa, the founding moments of national consciousness are concentrated in statues of pioneers (as in the Civic Square in Capetown, where the 'Father' and 'Mother' stand towering above the passers-by, separated by about 100 metres, among many others), and in memorials to the race struggles between Boer and Black African. No monuments 'rehabilitate' the blacks, however: they remain in memory only as the enemy. The foundation sacred site of national consciousness (at least among the Afrikaners) is the Voortrekker Monument, outside Pretoria. Built atop a large hill visible for kilometres around, the Monument is a huge structure containing a museum full of early Afrikaner objects (guns, buckets, leather-goods) and an immense internal space with friezes around the walls depicting the 'critical moments' of Afrikaner history. Annually, Afrikaners gather at the monument for a National Day of Remembrance, many in traditional dress. The Voortrekker Monument seems to occupy the same signifying space for Afrikaners as the Australian War Memorial in Canberra does for Australians. Fighting a foreign enemy in an overseas war at the behest of the mother-British in the one case: fighting an 'internal' enemy in a local war in defiance of the Pharaoh-British on the other.13

In any case, there is a hidden dialogue between the monument and those to whom it is directed. 'You must remember me' in the case of the ancient monuments: 'We must remember you' in the case of the more modern forms. But why this compulsion to remembrance? Although these memorials may celebrate individuals (by listing their names, for example, or representing their actual or idealised bodies) they also represent the power of the state over its citizens. In the case of the pioneer settlers and explorers, it is the power of the state which authorises their actions, at least retrospectively. In the case of the War Memorial, it is generally even clearer that the soldier's sacrifice was made on behalf of the state, its continuity and survival. The monument may permit the citizen to remember with pride and gratitude the sacrifices of his/her forerunners; but it also reminds the citizen that the disposition of his/her life and fate rests too in the power of the Ssate. Thus the distinction between the ancient and modern form of monument may be illusory: both inform the citizen of the superior power of the Mighty, but the modern monument disguises the authorising power of the state in the personal narratives of individual heroism and sacrifice.

Notwithstanding their purpose as memorials, many monuments fail, either because no-one is present to witness them or because the narratives authorising their significance have been all but forgotten from popular, collective discourses. The pathos of the obliterated memory provides one of the well-springs of Romantic aesthetics.

'... Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies ...
And on the pedestal these words appear;
'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.'
(from 'Ozymandias', Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1792-1822)

The pathos of Ozymandias is that he intended to immortalise himself in his monument, but time and climate have left nothing but the desert sand. However the fate of the monument depends as much on changes in social and historical consciousness.

Forgotten Memories: The Anglo-Boer War, 1899-1902

If monuments exist as physical signs around which authorising narratives can solidify, then changes in (or obliteration of) those narratives can leave the monument un-authorised. Such a case can be made for the monuments to the Boer (Anglo-Boer) War, found scattered throughout Australia.

It is particularly interesting to consider the different significance attributed to this conflict in South African, and more particularly, Afrikaner history and historiography. The comprehension of this conflict is constructed there on totally different premises. To Afrikaners, this was just one more of a long line of illegitimate interventions by Britain into the rightful freedoms of South Africans to determine their own destinies in a land wrongfully usurped by British power, the most feared and resented evil in South Africa's political demonology.

In the litany of moments of historical greatness - notably The Great Trek (from 1835 on) and the Battle of Blood River of 1838 (now known as 'The Day of the Covenant') - the Anglo-Boer War is remembered and discussed as a critical moment in the forging of Afrikaner identity and consciousness. The way the war was conducted, largely against local 'commandos' of untrained farmers, and above all the detention in concentration camps of thousands and thousands of civilian women and children, led Afrikaners to see it (with some justification) as a ferocious onslaught by an alien power against a simple civilian population. By 1901, 55,092 adults and 54,326 children were in detention. In September of that year, 447 adults and 1964 children died.14

Yet in Australia there is little if any popular consciousness concerning the Boer War. Many adults will recall attending Anzac Day parades as children and seeing the Boer War veterans, aged and frail, in the forefront of the parade. The film Breaker Morant revived some historical awareness of the period, although the central issue of the film concerned the treatment of the Australian troops by their British masters, thus shifting the significance of the narrative firmly to an internal question of Australian national identity and the eternal duplicity of the British. Beyond such fragments, and perhaps family recollections of their ancestors' activities, the Boer War seems to have sunk from Australian historical consciousness; repeatedly, it is referred to as 'the forgotten war'.

The Boer War was, however, an extremely important event.15 Australians, in spite of the vigorous nationalism expressed in opposition to Imperial authority, rushed to support Britain, involving themselves in a conflict which had nothing to do with them, in which the Australian troops were entirely controlled by the British. It was the first time that volunteer civilians from New Zealand and Australia had fought together in an overseas war, and the first time that such troops paraded together in Melbourne and Sydney, thus presaging the ANZAC tradition.16

The popular response to the war was overwhelming. One argument used at the time to justify it has a lamentably familiar ring: by going to Britain's aid when she was at war Australia might expect the same assistance from Britain.17 Little understanding of the real situation in South Africa seemed to exist in Australia: the long history of war and skirmish between Afrikaners and the British, much of it related to questions of the Boers' right to alienate and occupy black Africans' lands (up to the 1880's), the activities of swindling speculators, among others Cecil Rhodes, the element of sheer greed over the gold reserves of the Transvaal; these issues were obliterated in the popular response to the chance of a fight.

Henry Lawson, in The Bulletin, 21 October 1899, summed it up:

What does it all amount to? Only this: that, because of the craving for the sensational born of the world's present social system - the mad longing for change, intensified in Australia by the hopeless flat monotony of the country and its history - some of us are willing ... to cross the sea and shoot men whom we never saw and whose quarrel we do not and cannot understand ... [they are] fools who are unanimous in their eagerness to sacrifice ... everything, to satisfy their selfish craving for what they consider a picnic - to have 'some fun' - to have a spree.

In Sydney, in heavy rain on the 28th October 1900, crowds of between 250,000 and 300,000 cheered the soldiers; in Melbourne former Imperial soldiers marched along, wearing medals of Crimea and the Indian Mutiny.18

The Australians made their greatest contribution during the long guerilla phase of the war. Their fighting behaviour was in marked contrast to that of the British, and they impressed the Boer as a new kind of enemy.19 However their tasks were directed as much at the civilian population as at military engagements. They burnt farms, destroyed crops, confiscated livestock and took Boer families into custody, and into the concentration camps. Sometimes praised by the British, they were also reviled for their wildness and refusal of discipline. Lord Kitchener praised them after the action at Elands River.20 However during the episode of the court martial of H. Morant and P. Handcock, of the Bushveldt Carbineers, who were executed by a British firing squad, it seems that Kitchener reversed his support: he failed to act on the court's recommendation for clemency, and ordered hasty executions.21 In Australia, the reaction to the executions was tepid, and the press published reports vindicating the British stand. As a whole, however, the Morant episode did much to disenchant the Australian public with the war itself.22

Over the period of the war, more than 16,000 Australian troops were engaged. Their casualties overall were not high, and of those many were caused by disease, largely enteric fever and dysentery.23 The war ended on 31 May 1902. The Australians returned to find the country bent on forgetting the whole episode. According to one report, the end of the war had absolutely no effect in Sydney, and Church services on the following Sunday in New South Wales stressed humility rather than glory.24

Yet they were not to be forgotten. Monuments were subsequently erected throughout the country in memory of the 518 dead and the 16,000 who had served, and the beginnings of the national legend of Australians as fighting men rather than men of the bush was enshrined. There are 46 public monuments to the Boer War in N.S.W. including parks, halls and private memorials. Other memorials include plaques and rolls of honour, such as at Newington College. There is a tablet in the entry to Sydney Town Hall, to Sargeant Major Griffin, and similar tablets in churches, such as at Maitland.25

Of the public (external civic) monuments, eight are in the Sydney Metropolitan area: one each at Beecroft and Chatswood, near the Railway Stations, one a plaque on St Thomas' Church in North Sydney, a substantial memorial at Parramatta, one at Watson's Bay of which only the pedestal remains, and one at Windsor. At Observatory Hill is a collective monument for all of New South Wales, erected in 1940. There is a small plaque on the outside of Leichhardt Public School. In the country districts, there are monuments at Hay, Orange, Queanbeyan, Wollongong, Bathurst, Nowra, Tenterfield, Tumut, Armidale, Casino, Forbes, and Deniliquin, and a private memorial erected by a family at Belltrees, in the Hunter Valley.

The Boer War monuments tend to be more 'monumental' in character than monuments to later wars. They were often made by the local stonemasons who worked on cemetery memorials, and hence are reminiscent of these. In particular, many Boer War monuments are personal and local. Most feature a soldier, standing in uniform with rifle, and name the specific individuals of the local district who are being remembered. In country areas, many families of the Boer War veterans still reside locally, and presumably this link offers a greater sense of continuity and connection for local people.

Many Boer War monuments are located in close conjunction with monuments to later wars. At Tenterfield, N.S.W. the Tenterfield and District Soldiers Memorial was opened in 1924 by the Mayor on 30th December. This is located in a side street at the northern end of the town, and features the inscription '1914 to 1918' above the building. Inside are two honour boards in memory of those killed in World War 1. The Boer War memorial is placed in a landscaped courtyard immediately in front of it. A statue of a soldier in military uniform, but without a weapon, stands in a semi-relaxed position on top of an elaborate stone plinth supported by four marble columns. Sculpted by Mr Browne, of Maitland, the inscription reads 'Erected by the Tenterfield Mounted Rifles in Memory of their Three Comrades who fell in South Africa during the Boer War 1900-1902'. Adjacent to this, on the other three sides, are the names of the three: Sergeant-Major James Mitchell, killed at Elands River, 18th August 1900; Trooper Arthur Percy Britten Grey, died from enteric fever at Pretoria, 19th November 1901; Trooper William Bender, died from enteric fever at Bloemfontein, 3rd April 1900.

The intimate quality of this monument stands in contrast to the formality of the World War 1 memorial, itself an ornate and formally designed building. On the opposite side of the street is the local R.S.L. club. The events of the Boer War seem to have been incorporated cleanly into the category of 'Fallen Soldiers', thus disguising any significant differences between the Boer War and the later conflict.

In Bathurst, the Boer War monument is located in the splendid public square which graces that city. Aligned along a single axis with a monument to the early explorer Evans (accompanied by a keen eyed Aboriginal on his plinth), and a formal square bell-tower monument containing an Anzac flame and honour boards for World Wars 1 and 11, the Boer War monument is a graceful Victorian style sandstone construction containing a near life-sized image of a Boer War soldier, complete with rifle. British lions top the four corners of the pediment, while doric-style columns support the external quarters. At the soldier's feet is a plaque, reading 'Unveiled by Lord Kitchener, January 10th, 1910', and below that is the list of the soldiers from the district who fought in the war.

There is an interesting historical note concerning this memorial. P. Handcock, who died by British firing squad alongside Breaker Morant, was a Bathurst man. For more than fifty years relatives and friends of his family campaigned to have his name added to the memorial. In 1963 the Bathurst branch of the R.S.L. satisfied itself from historical accounts that Handcock had been too harshly dealt with. The Bathurst City Council then agreed to include Handcock's name. It has been said over the years that Kitchener refused to unveil the memorial unless Handcock's name was removed from it. But this appears to be an apocryphal story, since there is no record of his name on any of the original lists for the memorial.26

Another monument of note is that erected in the public park in Goulburn, N.S.W. This features a uniformed soldier, his rifle resting at his side, atop a large carved sandstone pedestal. Unveiled by the Mayor on 4th November 1904, this monument also lists the considerable number of men who came from Goulburn and Districts, many of whom would have been in militia units.

There is no space here for a more detailed discussion of the Boer War monuments, their style, construction and local histories. What is of interest is the question of memory and forgetting. The circumstances, events and personalities of the Boer War are as obscure and unknown - 'forgotten' - as those of the other forgotten wars of the nineteenth century: the Maori Wars, the Crimean War, the Boxer Rebellion. Yet the Boer War was a moment of intense national consciousness in an Australia which only eighty years ago was declaring its own nationhood and asserting its independence of the Mother Country.

At the time, the event was seen in some quarters as a signal to a new century. A reporter for the Melbourne Argus remarked that this was 'an event worthy to signalise the closing of the century, one which will not be forgotten when the century which follows is being put to bed'.27 The extent to which his judgment was utterly wrong lies at the heart of the question of how social and historical judgments alter the significance of narratives of the past, and their memorials. The near complete obliteration of the Boer War from Australian national consciousness may result not just from the fact that it was, like Vietnam, an 'unpopular' war by its end, but also from the wish to repress the originating moment, the primal scene, of Australia's enduring devotion to indifferent Imperial masters (mistresses?). After World War 1 the Boer War simply became incorporated into the national mythology of war and sacrifice, focussed around the sacrifice at Gallipoli and the heroism of failure. In popular consciousness of the time, and for long after, the unquestioned devotion to the Mother Country became coterminus with decent, patriotic Australianness. The point about a 'primal scene', however, is that it is repressed: in the Freudian scenario, the child is exposed to the experience of parental intercourse and interprets it as an attack on the mother. Should the child attempt to interfere, or assist the mother under attack, he is repulsed; he is betrayed by the mother, who after all prefers the father's embrace.28

Monuments and the Memory Trace

Yet the physical objects remain in public spaces, as reminders. Children play on and about them, ask questions, receive some kind of answers. Texts record names, men who fought and died; the collective heritage of the past is encountered, in all its obscurity, by each new generation, and implanted in some form or other in the collective memory. Going to war, bravery, masculinity, the rifle, being someone who is remembered; the assimilation of the Boer War into public spaces with later wars simply adds to the overdetermination of national identity as constituted in battle and sacrifice. The significance of the particular historical event is obliterated, only to add to the weight of the broader constitution of an Australian subjectivity. The poignancy of the Boer War monuments lies in their human scale, their intimacy; and from this they can have another meaning, one which was summoned in the film Breaker Morant. Independent, courageous, larrikin bushmen, second to none in their horsemanship and daring, sacrificed on the altar of British duplicity and callousness: a new negotiation of the narrative, a flirtation with the repressed memory.

If monuments of the public, civic kind - especially those in the form of statues, obelisks and grandiose non-functional built structures - are a product of 'modernity', what are the monuments of recent times? What is worth remembering today? The impulse to erect such memorials in public space seems to have been overtaken by a new kind of memorial. While in many respects we could consider the new Parliament House in Canberra as classically monumental, it is not at all clear what we are intended to remember through it. What are its authorising narratives? The whole of 200 years of white settlement? Does it speak to us, in its built form or symbology, of sacrifices on our behalf by pioneers and settlers? Does its careful incorporation of Aboriginal symbols and 'art' negate the memory of the true 'sacrifice' underlying Australian history, the even more fundamental 'repressed recollection'? Or, rather, does it invert the direction of the sacrifice, and memorialise instead the sacrifice of the anonymous taxpayer, called upon to make involuntary contributions to the Nation-State itself?

Time curving back on itself, perhaps the monuments of the post-modern world are indeed its great buildings and above all its shopping malls, celebrating not the sacrifice and death of the soldier and settler, but the sacrifice of the consumer, and the power of the transnational economy. How singularly appropriate, then, that consumers protesting about the curtailment of their consumption capacity through the imposition of federal government financial policies should, on the 2nd June 1989, gather to make their protest at a great shopping mall in Canberra. But there is (as yet) no authorising narrative for the shopping mall, and the experience of time, space and environment here must reflect no more than the moment of desire, transaction, consumption. From this point of view, the old monuments take on an awful poignancy, quite divorced from their historical bases. They, too, can become tourist attractions for the modern citizen, who visits such sites not to remember the concrete historical circumstances which they are intended to mark, but to seek confirmation of a world which used to produce them, but no longer can. Hence, they are no longer forgotten, but must be catalogued, recorded and analysed, as enchanted objects representing our own disappearing world.

Notes

1 M.M. Bakhtin, 'Toward a methodology for the human sciences'. In Speech Genres and Other Late Essays. Translated by Vern W. McGee. Edited by Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist. University of Texas Press, Austin, 1986, p.170.

2 Antoine Rascas, 'Discours qui montre la necessite de retablir le tres ancien et auguste usage public de vrayes, et parfaites medailles' from De la Necessite de l'usage des Medailles dans les Monnoyes, Paris, 1611. Cited in Louis Marin, 'The Inscription of the King's Memory: On the Metallic History of Louis IVI', in Rethinking History: Time, Myth and Writing. Yale French Studies no.59, 1980, pp.23-24.

3 Two recent examples are David Roberts, 'The Museum and Montage', Theory, Culture and Society, 1988, vol.5, pp.543-557; and Georg Stauth and Bryan S. Turner, 'Nostalgia, postmodernism, and the critique of mass culture', in the same issue, pp.509-526.

4 cf. Tony Bennett, Out of Which Past? Critical Reflections on Australian Museum and Heritage Policy. Cultural Policy Studies, Occasional Paper no.3, Brisbane, Institute for Cultural Policy Studies, Griffith University, 1988. Bennett points to the unique quality of Australia's national heritage listings, bringing together items from multiple sectors and periods of Australian social and natural history, including the Aboriginal. However the form of inclusion of 'Aboriginal' items is defined generally through the white Australian cultural construction of worthwhile Aboriginality, rather than through the significances Aborigines themselves attribute to place and space.

5 Donald Horne, The Great Museum: the Re-presentation of History. London, Pluto Press, 1984, p.10; Ken Inglis, The Australian Colonists: an explanation of Social History 1788-1870. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1974, p.273. John Fiske, Bob Hodges and Graeme Turner. Myths of Oz. Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 1987, chapter 7.

6 Chilla Bulbeck. The Stone Laurel: Race, Gender and Class in Australian Memorials. Cultural Policy Studies: Occasional Paper no.5 Brisbane, Institute for Cultural Policy Studies, Griffith University, 1988.

7 Beryl Henderson, ed. Monuments and Memorials,, Sydney: Royal Australian Historical Society, 1988.

8 Professor Ken Inglis, of the Australian National University, is carrying out a study of war memorials in Australia with the assistance of Ms Jan Brazier. Ms Brazier very kindly gave me the information from their survey of Boer War monuments in N.S.W. regarding number and location. I had already visited and photographed a number of these. I would like to thank her for her kind assistance and look forward to the book Professor Inglis is publishing shortly on the topic.

9 In an earlier draft of this paper I attempted to provide an understanding of this Proustian concept which could be applied to objects and sites in public space, drawing heavily on Walter Benjamin's 'On some motifs in Baudelaire', and 'The Image of Proust', both in Illuminations, edited by Hannah Arendt, Schocken Books, New York, 1969. This analysis however moved too far from the present focus, and will be developed in a forthcoming paper 'Site, Memory and Identity'.

10 Bulbeck, op. cit.

11 Cf. Bulbeck, ibid, p.6-10

12 Jock Phillips, unpublished seminar paper at the Australian Studies Centre, University of Queensland, 13th October 1987, cited in Bulbeck ibid. p.10.

13 For Afrikaners, the British represent an illegitimate alien occupying force, and in popular discourse, including religious sermons, are likened to Pharoah on whose account the chosen people were forced to leave the Promised Land and wander in the wilderness, just as the Afrikaners were forced to leave the settled areas of South Africa after the abolition of slavery and undertake the Great Trek.

14 Daily Telegraph (Sydney), 21 October 1901.

15 Humphrey McQueen argues that it was a constitutive moment in the development of Australian nationalism, in A New Britannia, Sydney, Penguin Books, 1970, pp.31-35. John Eddy and Deryck Schreuder (eds), in The Rise of Colonial Nationalism, Sydney, Allen and Unwin, 1988, suggest it had a similar significance for New Zealand, at least in the view of Richard Jebb, author of Studies in Colonial Nationalism, 1905.

16 Among many accounts of the Australian role in the Boer War are I.M. Field, The Forgotten War, Melbourne, Melbourne University Press, 1979; and R.L. Wallace, The Australians at the Boer War, Canberra, The Australian War Memorial and the Australian Government Publishing Service, 1976. The following remarks are based largely on those sources.

17 Field, op.cit., p.3

18 Ibid, pp.52-53

19 Ibid, p.151

20 Ibid, p.154

21 Ibid, p.171

22 Ibid, pp.174-5

23 Wallace, op. cit. p.179

24 Field, op.cit. p.179

25 This information comes from the survey by Jan Brazier, referred to above in note 8.

26 Field, op. cit. p.174. See also Wallace op. cit. p.375

27 Quoted in Field, op. cit. p.43

28 Admittedly this carries the Freudian scenario beyond its conventional limits. While insisting on the significance of the primal scene and its subsequent represssion, Freud saw this as mainly connected with the emergence of sadistic impulses and as a constituent moment in the subsequent development of the Oedipus complex (cf. 'The Sexual Theories of Children' and 'Some Psychical consequences of the anatomical distinction between the sexes', and see also Freud's remarks re 'The Wolf Man'). While such psychoanalytical approaches may be of heuristic value only, it is nonetheless interesting to speculate on the role of the Boer War, coterminus with the emergence of a national consciousness (separation from the mother), as providing the basis for Australia's subsequent ambivalence towards Britain - a desire to maintain autonomy and separation, coupled with a willingness to rush to the maternal defence in situations of threat, in spite of the [repressed] knowledge that betrayal will follow. Australia's 'heroism', celebrated around wars, thus lies in the acting out of the repetition compulsion, in spite of certain defeat.


New: 1 February, 1996 | Now: 12 March, 2015