Australia

The Long Search for Australia’s Elusive Identity

“Boosterism” was satirised by Member J. Proctor Knott in his 1871 Speech “The Untold Delights of Deluth” in the United States Congress; and by Sinclair Lewis in his novels Main Street (1920) and Babbitt (1922). It was common in the middle to late decades of the twentieth century in Australia, where the field of “public relations” linked up with the agonised quest for “Australian national identity”. Wilfred Sheed (1930–2011) writing in Frank and Maisie, his memoir of his parents, the publishers Frank Sheed and Maisie Ward, had this to say about Australia in the 1950s: In some respects, Australia reminded…

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