The two always seem to go together.rnNonetheless, the average Aussie does notrnseem as nearly upset by the presence ofrnChinese as by the Japanese. The Chinese,rnthey say, have none of the arrogancernthat they claim is characteristicrnof the Japanese. Then, too, the Aussiesrnhave not forgotten World War II.rnThe original “people of color” in Australia,rnthe Aborigines (or “blacks” as theyrnare commonly called) have not faredrnwell. There are probably not many morernthan 50,000 full-blooded Aborigines today,rndown from three to six times thatrnnumber at the beginning of British setdementrnin 1788. Some years back thernprohibition on aboriginal consumptionrnof alcohol was lifted, and since then alcoholismrnhas become pandemic amongrnthe Aborigines. Drug consumption andrnout-of-wedlock births have also soared.rnViolence and crime have increasedrnapace. Some aboriginal public housingrndevelopments have become “no-gornareas” for police. Aussie cops havernlearned that they are damned-if-they-do,rndamned-if-they-don’t.rnMany Aussies, like many Americans,rnseem to feel that the increase in crimernand the changing demographics of thernnation are part of some kind of inevitablernevolutionary cycle. Not really. Both inrnAustralia and in America, these changesrnhave resulted from specific governmentrnpolicies, be they the massive welfare programsrnthat have harmed the family orrnthe de facto, if not de jure, open-bordersrnpolicy that has balkanized the country.rnNevertheless, most of Australia, evenrnmost of Sydney and Melbourne, looksrnmore like California in the I950’s thanrnLos Angeles in the I990’s. The countryrnis a great bastion of the white middlernclass and of the Anglo-Celt. In manyrnways, the people resemble those whornconquered the American frontier duringrnthe 18th and 19th centuries. The physiognomies,rncomplexions, and names ofrnthose who today live in the old miningrntown of Ballarat in Victoria would be indistinguishablernfrom those who occupiedrnthe mining camp of Ballarat in Californiarna century ago. The same appliesrnto hundreds of other towns and villagesrnthroughout Australia, from sheep andrncattle stations to mining camps, mountainrnhamlets, and seaside resorts.rnThe Aussies honor their outlaws andrnrogues in song and story. Such charactersrnas Ned Kelly (the wild colonial lad).rnJack Riley (the man from Snowy River),rnand Andrew George Scott (CaptainrnMoonlite) are celebrated figures. Theyrnhonor their war heroes, too. Nearly everyrnsmall town and village has a monumentrnwith the inscribed names of those localrnboys who died serving in one of Australia’srnwars. Some of the monumentsrnhave dozens of names, including multiplernsets of brothers. Considering the sizernof the towns, the sacrifice was shocking.rnIn one speck of a village, I gazed upon arnmonument which revealed that threernfamilies had lost three sons each and fourrnothers had lost two each.rnThe War Memorial in the capitol cityrnof Canberra is a military museum secondrnto none. Every battle the Australians engagedrnin during World War I and II hasrnits own display which includes a detailedrndescription of the battle and the units involved,rnincluding maps, photographs, artifacts,rnand dioramas. The display forrnGallipoli alone nearly fills a room, andrnwell it should. Some 8,000 Aussies diedrnon that barren peninsula, a testament tornWinston Churchill’s ineptitude as a militaryrnstrategist, tactical blunders byrnBritish commanders, and English disregardrnfor the lives of the colonials.rnBattle after battle is brilliandy, powerfully,rnpoignantly presented at the WarrnMemorial. The photographs of the menrnand the battlefield artifacts sear the soul:rna private with a freckled face lookingrnmore like a 14-year-old Boy Scout, yetrngripping his rifle with fixed bayonet andrnready to go over the top with his mates; arnCeltic cross fashioned out of boiler platernwith the inscription “In Loving Memoryrnof the Officers, NCOs, and Men of thern. . . V/ho Died” followed by a list of thernfallen; lean young men bearing a stretcherrnwith a wounded comrade through arnnightmarish field of fire. The photographsrnand crosses number in the hundreds.rnThe courage, the sacrifice, thernheroism, the fortitude, the suffering, therncamaraderie, the death is overwhelming.rnPhotographs of World War II givernmute testimony to the barbarity of thernJapanese. A greatly enlarged photo capturedrnfrom the Japanese shows Australianrnprisoners, handsome youngrnblokes, about to be decapitated. Otherrnphotos show Australian prisoners starvedrnto skin and bones on the verge of death.rnThe display notes that well over a thirdrnof Australian prisoners died in Japaneserncaptivity. How politically incorrect tornmention it! In fact, about 37 percent ofrnAllied prisoners held by the Japaneserndied, while fewer than one percent ofrnthose held by the Germans died. (Willrnthe Aussies remove this display when thernnumber of Japanese tourists to Canberrarnand Japanese investment in Australia approachesrnHawaiian rates? The last time Irnvisited the Pearl Harbor memorial thernfilm the Park Service showed made it appearrnthat the United States had startedrnthe war in the Pacific!)rnAustralia lost some 30,000 men in thernGreat War and another 38,000 in WoddrnWar II, per capita rates far higher thanrnthose suffered by the United States inrnthe same wars. The Australians honorrnand remember those who gave their all.rnOne of those Aussies who nearly diedrnin World War 11 is a buddy of mine,rnGeorge Maslen. He was a tall, lanky hurdlerrnfrom Melbourne who had a goodrnshot at making the Australian Olympicrnteam for the games in 1940. The outbreakrnof war in Europe in 1939 canceledrnthe games and made George’s service asrna sergeant in a citizen’s militia in Victoriarnall the more relevant. By 1942, he was arnlieutenant in the Australian army and ledrna platoon of Diggers up the Kokoda Trailrnand over the mountain spine of NewrnGuinea.rnHe told me that before the Battle ofrnthe Coral Sea he thought that Australiarnwas on the verge of being overrun byrn”hordes of little yellow men.” With arnpopulation of only five million spreadrnover a land mass about the size of our 48rncontiguous states, Australia was vulnerablernindeed. Queensland, in particular,rnwas wide open to a Japanese invasion.rnIronically, 50 years later the Japanesernhave returned, not in Zeros and Bettyrnbombers with bullet and shell but inrnairliners with bags of cash and lines ofrncredit.rnSeemingly unaffected by all thernchanges along the Queensland coast andrnin the cities of Sydney and Melbourne isrnthe “High Country” or “AustralianrnAlps.” Stretching for about 100 milesrnand constituting the southern end of thernGreat Dividing Range, the High Countryrnremains an unspoiled wilderness ofrnmile-high peaks and ridges. If you havernever seen The Man From Snowy River,rnthen you have seen the High Country.rnGenerally inhabited only by small numbersrnof stockmen, miners, and outfitters,rnthe High Country is Australian wildernessrnat its best.rnThe only way to see most of it is fromrnhorseback. For nearly a week that is justrnwhat my wife, daughter, and I did. Wernjoined a group on a 70-mile ride. Wernwere the only Americans. The othersrn44/CHRONICLESrnrnrn