Contributor(s)University of New England
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AbstractThere are many inspired moments in Australian history - John andElizabeth Macarthur's breeding of Spanish merino sheep; the introductionof free, secular and compulsory education for colonial children; theinvention of the stump-jump plough in 1876; the enabling legislationthat solved the deadlock in Federation negotiations; Monash's brillianttactics on the Western Front in 1918; Lance Corporal Beech's periscoperifle; the extraordinary 'Yes' vote in the 'Aborigines referendum' of 1967;Eddie Mabo's challenge to the very basis of land title in Australia; thedecision to hold our own Mardi Gras; and Graeme Clark's invention ofthe cochlear implant. These are strokes of genius made by inspired peoplewho have bequeathed us benefits ranging from good health and abundantwealth to fairer and more profitable relations with each other.Indeed, when one surveys Australia's historical record, the positives arenot hard to come by. The transformation of a prison settlement run bymilitary autocrats into a vibrant, wealthy and democratic nation couldnot have been achieved without many people 'getting it right', and often.