“The crimson thread of kinship runs through us all” – 125 years ago – 6 February,1890
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On the 6th of February 1890, at a banquet in Queens Hall, Parliament House Melbourne, Hon James Service delivered a toast calling for “A United Australasia”. In response, Henry Parkes gave the “Crimson Thread” speech.
- “… they are standing on the imminence of an event that can only occur once in the world’s history – the creation of a nation”
- “And, in this country of Australia, … , what is there that should be impossible to those people?”
- “The crimson thread of kinship runs through us all”
- “ … we must unite as one great Australian people”
- “Do we not all see that the difficulties would be greater as years go on”
- “… that no work worthy of achievement was ever attained without surmounting difficulties. Supposing ours were tenfold greater than they are, they ought not to turn us from our object, for it is sound and good”
- “ … that the time is coming when we shall all appear before the world as a United Australia. (Loud and prolonged cheers)
As we again consider reform of the Australian Federation and grapple with the difficulties faced in the wider world, his message still resonates. What can it tell us today?
For the full text of the speech – http://foundation1901.org.au/the-crimson-thread-speech/
For an “eye witness” assessment of Henry Parkes’ speech – BR Wise (1913) The Making of the Australian Constitution
For a modern interpretation of the Crimson Thread speech – Helen Irving (2006) The Crimson Thread: What Unites Australians Today?
Happy Crimson Thread day!