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Prominent for his role in World War II in New Guinea, Sir Edmund Herring grew discouraged about his countrymen’s failure to sustain wartime spirit in a post-war era. In his view ‘faith and courage’ had been replaced by a national ethos of ‘gimme and get’. Charged by Prime Minister Robert Menzies with leading a national awakening, particularly as related to the threat of international communism, in 1951 Herring spearheaded a fervent ‘Call to the People of Australia’, which earned massive publicity, short-term engagement by up to a third of the population, but little long-term impact. To Herring’s frustration, a largely secular populace remained fixed in its commitment to pursuing life’s material opportunities and pleasures.


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