Does anyone know the context of this quotation?

Recently took walk down by the water at Brooklyn just north of Sydney. Here I found a quotation written on a park bench:

“We have endeavoured … to lay down a broad and just foundation upon which a commonwealth may be established in the southern seas, of which a man may be proud to be a citizen.” — Samuel Griffith, 1891

I’m not sure of the provenance of this quotation – suspect it was something to do with the 1st Constitutional Convention in 1891. Would be grateful if anyone can tell me the context of this quotation, and any other information about it.

UPDATE 31-Dec-08 Thanks to Michael Axelsen who kindly provided a source for this quotation. Interestingly he also noted the omitted section, which referred to something the Australians don’t talk much about any more:

“..broad and just foundation upon which a commonwealth may be established in the southern seas that will dominate those seas, of which any man may be proud to be a citizen, and which will be a permanent glory to the British Empire.”

I suspect that the civic powers that be in Brooklyn did not want to include the ‘glory of the British Empire’ in their little monument to Federation? Michael also pointed me to a good summary of Samuel Griffith’s role in the 1891 Convention.

Author: Kate Carruthers

Kate Carruthers is Chief Data & Insights Officer for UNSW Sydney, and is also an Adjunct Senior Lecturer in the School of Computer Science & Engineering. She is certified in information security and is currently undertaking postgraduate studies terrorism and security. Kate has extensive experience in senior roles in ICT, marketing, data and digital; and is a member of the NSW Government’s Data Analytics Centre Advisory Board. Kate is currently working at the intersection of data analytics, AI, ML, privacy, cyber security, and data protection.

2 thoughts

  1. Your suspicions are correct – his opening words at the 1891 Australasian Federal Convention in Sydney. See here, about halfway down the page, from a talk by Paul De J: http://www.naa.gov.au/whats-on/constitution-day/talks/de-jersey-talk-2008.aspxInterestingly, the omitted bit from the quotation is ‘ which will be a permanent glory to the British Empire’. Hope that’s of interest to you – you probably already figured this out already.Thanks: Micheal Axelsen

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  2. Michael – thanks very much for the explanation. Love how the omitted words referred to the “glory of the British Empire”!

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