Despite everything, the Brits were still ultimately in charge in Oz; the official head of state was the British monarch and her representative, the governor-general, reserved the power to sack the elected Government if he felt like it, which actually happened in the 1970s.
The 1999 referendum would give Aussies the chance to bin this (some said) anachronistic and politically illogical situation and I for one was sure Republicanism would be given the go-ahead. Well, it was a no-brainer, wasn't it?
Sure, there were some people who argued against it, for various historical, economic and political reasons, but for the majority it seemed the time was right for Australia to go it alone and present itself as a new, squeaky clean, wholly independent nation.
As it turned, out, the time wasn't right. The Prime Minister at the time, John Howard, whose ordinary appearance disguised a deviousness usually associated with rodents who frequent outside lavvies, was an unashamed monarchist determined the go-it-alone option would fail.
Given public opinion seemed to be in favour, this wasn't an easy task but Howard being, in the words of a farmer pal of mine, "a slippery old bastard", came up with a plan.
One of the issues at hand was who would be the new head of state in an Australian republic. Howard decided that the Government of the day should appoint the Queen's replacement, saving on the expense of a presidential election and the tiresome palaver of some open and transparent democracy in action.
Since no one – and especially Australians – relish being told what to do, or who should represent them, the republican vote spectacularly failed, a highly unsatisfactory outcome for all concerned, with the exception of Howard and his mates.
I realise that such a thing won't happen in Scotland, since we're not yet at the stage of dumping the Queen, but it's a salutary tale, nonetheless.
People say that it's politics and not personalities who matter but, since you couldn't get a copy of the People's Friend between the policies of any of the main parties these days, I beg to differ.
Personality does matter. I mean, if we do vote to go on our own, we will be choosing a Prime Minister, an El Supremo, and I want to make sure the individual elected accurately reflects the elements of Scotland I consider to be crucial and fundamental.
In short, I want someone who is charismatic, caring and charming, but who is also human enough to possess a few perceptible and self-acknowledged flaws. I want someone who is not a lump of wood, an empty suit or a grey individual given to mouthing the usual clichéd platitudes and predictable sound bites.
In other words, I don't want a politician. But if we have to, can we at least get one with a sense of humour?
I'm not really a huge Alex Salmond fan but even I can see he has some sort of personality, which hasn't always been the case with First Ministers of the past. There was Henry McLeish, of whom most Scots used to say – "Who's he?" and before that, Jack McConnell, the man who received well deserved pelters for bringing humiliation on the nation by wearing a shortie kilt at a US function.
I mean, come on, we can do better than that, right?
Choosing the right man (or woman) is never easy but I have an idea which, if adopted, will not only be a working example of the democratic process, will not only acknowledge Scotland's proud cultural past, but will also give us all a bit of a laugh and jildy up the notion of independence no end.
I'm suggesting this: to appease the monarchists and also to give the poor young fella something to do, we appoint Prince William as our de-facto head of state with no real powers aside from the opportunity to live in Holyrood Castle full-time and get hammered in the pubs along the Royal Mile at the taxpayers' expense.
Below William, the PM's job will be split between three people, to ensure no one's ego gets too far out of control and any ideas of wearing kilts to soirées in New York are immediately vetoed and/or subject to derisory laughter.
These three will comprise: Alex Salmond, billionaire bus magnate Brian Souter, and any one of the many thousands of ordinary Scotsmen who are no stranger to a pie supper and also happen to have the first name, Robert.
This will mean, of course, that Scotland will be run by – you've guessed it – Oor Wullie, aided and abetted by his pals, Wee Eck, Soapy Souter and Fat Boab.
And if we can find, a portly, slightly lazy but essentially kindly polisman called Murdoch to keep an eye on them and occasionally threaten to give them Tokyo when they do something wrong, so much the better for democracy, the country and all the rest of it.
Jings, crivvens and help my boab, it'd certainly work for me.