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The Australian and American Continents – “Recollections of a Bleeding Heart” – Don Watson

March 12th, 2012 · No Comments · Australian, Australiana, History

(Keating) made the point that Australians and Americans had both inherited continents, the ‘gift outright’ as the American poet Robert Frost called it. ‘[A]t first we were still England’s colonials. In time we gave ourselves to our new countries and the people and the land became one,’ Frost wrote. There was in there an echo of Henry Lawson declaring that Australians must choose ‘between the old dead tree and the young tree green’. Lawson’s line was a favourite of Manning Clark’s, and its inclusion in the speech may owe something to the days when Keating was prime minister in waiting and occasionally visited the Clarks at their home in Canberra’s Tasmania Circle to talk and listen to music. When many liberal intellectuals in the eighties held Keating in suspicion or loathing, Manning Clark found him intriguing. He told me that Keating was a man with a soul.

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