'In this centenary year of Patrick White’s birth I have found myself reflecting on his relationship to Australian history and in so doing reflecting also on the nature of history itself. History changes with the changing nature of the societies that produce ideas about the past. What is important about Patrick White is that, while seeking to reflect Australia’s social, intellectual and cultural life back on itself as a novelist and playwright, he was deeply engaged with issues in Australian history, as they existed at that time. In this regard, he understood the difficulty of coming to terms with the most unsavoury aspects of our past and advised Australians:
The flow of history is what we have to face and adapt ourselves to. The adjustments we may have to make may be pretty agonising. But they will have to be made (Brennan and Flynn 1989: 85).