Professor Bruce Scates to Speak at Family History Feast, State Library of Victoria

State Library Victoria hosts its 12th annual Family History Feast during National Family History Month in August. This year, the ever-popular program turns to the subject of WWI.

Enjoy free information sessions on a range of subjects, from Australian women in the war to soldier settlement in Victoria. Discover how Victorian government agencies can help family historians, and attend the annual Don Grant Memorial Lecture, organised by the Victorian Association of Family History Organisations (VAFHO).

The program includes:

  • The Don Grant Memorial Lecture –‘Bringing the war home: Repatriation records and the family historian’ by Professor Bruce Scates, Chair of History and Australian Studies and Director of the National Centre for Australian Studies, Monash University
  • A conservation clinic with expert advice from State Library Victoria conservators
  • Lectures from historians and academics sharing their work in the field of WWI history

For more information and to make a booking visit the State Library Victoria website.



BBC News Turkey: Halil Koc and Bruce Scates Tour the Land of Their Grandfathers’ Conflict

Professor Bruce Scates and Halil Koc were featured on BBC Turkey this Anzac Day. Each had a Grandfather that fought at Gallipoli. Arm in arm, they walked together, and reflected on the shared trauma of war. To view the video click here.


Professor Bruce Scates Speaks to Euronews from Gallipoli this Anzac Day

Professor Bruce Scates walked the Gallipoli battlefields this Anzac Day with Halil Koc, grandson of Turkish war veteran Gazi Halil Koc. ‘We share a common story because it didn’t matter what uniform you wore’, said Professor Scates, ‘the fear of war, the pain of war, the ordeal of war is shared by all sides and surely in coming here we should understand that the suffering of war goes beyond nations. And I think a great story from the Gallipoli campaign – Canakkale campaign – is that story of reconciliation between former foes’. To view the full story and video online click here.


BBC Radio: Listen in to ‘The War That Changed the World’

Australia’s experience of WW1 is like no other country’s in the world. In association with the British Council, BBC presenter Razia Iqbal and an Australian audience debate the role the ‘legend of Anzac’ played in the hundred year history of Australia since the first Anzac Day. With Bruce Scates of Monash University, Marilyn Lake from the University of Melbourne,  and theatre director and playwright Wesley Enoch – a relative of one Aboriginal WW1 soldier, Horace Thomas Dalton. Click here to listen to the full program. 


Monash University Students Featured in the Herald Sun This Anzac Day

Last year a group of Monash University students travelled to Gallipoli and the Western Front with Professor Bruce Scates. This Anzac Day they are featured in the Herald Sun. Click here to view the video they produced reflecting on their journey.


Political Rhetoric Makes a Parody of Remembrance: Professor Bruce Scates Featured in The Age

Director of the National Centre for Australian Studies and Anzac Remembered Project Leader Professor Bruce Scates reflects on the how we will remember this Anzac Day. ‘Far from uniting a nation … the war tore us apart and left a legacy of trauma.’ To read the full article visit The Age at this link. 






The History Diviners: Monash Scholars Explore the History Behind ‘The Water Diviner’

As The Water Diviner is released on commercial television and premieres in Los Angeles, researchers at Monash University reveal the identity of the film’s central character.

Russell Crowe’s film retraces the footsteps of a grieving father who travels across Turkey, desperate to find his missing sons.  It claims to be based on true events, and tells the story of one of the first Australian pilgrimages to the Anzac battlefields in Gallipoli.

Monash University historian Professor Bruce Scates and his doctoral student, Rebecca Wheatley, have spent years charting early Australian journeys to battlefields overseas.  An exhaustive search of archival sources, letters, diaries and travel journals has uncovered the identity of a farmer from Victoria who makes his way to the Gallipoli Peninsula within 18 months of the war ending.

“It’s a remarkable journey,” said Professor Scates, Director of the National Centre for Australian Studies.

“It not just the cost of getting there – a journey like that would have cost a year’s wages back then – or the almost impossible task of identifying the dead on the killing fields of Anzac,” Professor Scates said.

“The fact of the matter is that the cemeteries were not completed until well into the 1920s and pilgrimages were prohibited until then.  Gallipoli was a difficult and dangerous place to visit.”

Ms Wheatley said the film takes many liberties with history but that was only to be expected of so epic a production.

“Even so, it provides a compelling perspective on the grief of a generation and reminds us of the loss that war meant to Australia, Turkey and all the nations that fought there,” she said.

Monash University has prepared a brief film clip showcasing a rare Australian photo album detailing some of the earliest journeys to Gallipoli.

“It abounds with image of a landscape we have lost,” Professor Scates said.

“It reminds those journeying to Anzac today of the ordeals and experiences of the first generation of Gallipoli travellers.  The clip guides viewers through a maze of archival sources to arrive at the identity of a man until now hidden from history.”

Ms Wheatley said they hoped their work would provide a sense of context to anyone viewing the film.

“Hopefully it will remind everyone, on the centenary of the landing, that the cost of war is not just borne by soldiers,” she said.

“The burden of bereavement falls on their families and loved ones and affects a whole community.”

The mystery of The Water Diviner will form part of the 100 stories project, a digital history designed to recover the lost stories of World War One.

To mark the Centenary of Anzac, Monash has also launched a free, online course. The course (undertaken by thousands of learners the world over) offers practical advice on accessing new digital archives, connecting families with history and enlarging our understanding of the Great War.


Turkish Friendship Memorial,’ Seeds of Friendship’, Unveiled in Kings Domain

Monash University was proud to assist the Turkish community of Melbourne in raising the ‘Seeds of Friendship’ memorial in Kings Domain. The sculpture honours the enduring relationship first forged between the two nations on the Gallipoli peninsula 100 years ago.

Produced by world-renowned artist Matthew Harding, the sculpture includes the hand-carved seeds of a Turkish pine and an Australian casuarina, representing the seeds of friendship and the future. A series of quotes on the base of the memorial highlight the bond the countries share, and steel strands form a wreath, commemorating fallen soldiers.

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Anzac Day Project explores commemoration through public surveys

Today Anzac Day is being marked at different locations all around the world.The Anzac Day Project will explore these different perspectives through our public surveys.

Dr Sally Carlton, Aotearoa/New Zealand, will be exploring the commemoration of Anzac Day in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes and PhD candidate Alexandra McCosker, Monash University, is collecting surveys that reflect on Anzac Pilgrimages to Kokoda.

These surveys will provide important insights into the individual and collective experiences of Anzac Day. To complete the MyANZACday survey online, or the surveys specific to Aotearoa/New Zealand or Kokoda please click here.



Explore the One Hundred Stories Project

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Monash University has launched a new project designed to capture community memories of World War One. The One Hundred Stories are stories that have not been told before. They highlight the experiences of women as well as men, recover the too often forgotten contribution of Indigenous Australians, and emphasise the ongoing cost of  war to the community as a whole.

The One Hundred Stories remember not just the men and women who lost their lives but also those who returned to Australia, the gassed, the crippled, the insane, all those irreparably damaged by war. The Great War shaped the world as well as the nation. Its memory belongs to us all.

Please be part of this great project by contributing your ideas and stories of who should be included within the One Hundred Stories.

Click here to view the first 20 of the 100 Stories


Shrine of Remembrance opens new $45 million development

Victorian stories of service, selected from the Monash University One Hundred Stories Project, can now be seen at the Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne. The stories feature in the new Galleries of Remembrance, a $45 million Victorian Government redevelopment that utilises 1,600 square metres of  undercroft space that exists beneath the Shrine. Over 850 objects are included in permanent and temporary exhibition spaces which illustrate the experiences of Australians at war and in peacekeeping operations, from Pre-Federation to the present day, with a particular focus on individual and unit stories of Victorian service and sacrifice. Small items of family memorabilia to large scale audiovisuals and interactive technology provide a variety of moods and experiences.

The Galleries of Remembrance were opened this Remembrance Day by the Governor of Victoria, His Excellency the Honourable Alex Chernov, AC QC.

The Shrine is open to the public from 10am – 5pm daily, except Good Friday and Christmas Day. Admission is free.


Albany National Anzac Centre opens

Monash University’s One Hundred Stories can now be seen in the new exhibition space at the National Anzac Centre, Albany.

The National Anzac Centre was opened by the Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand and the Premier of Western Australia on 1 November 2014: the centenary of the first Australian and New Zealand convoy’s departure to war from Albany’s King George Sound.

Within the Centre, the key phases and events of the First World War are told through the stories of the Anzacs themselves. With unique content developed by the Western Australian Museum and Australian War Memorial, visitors assume the identity of one of 32 Anzac related characters, and follow their personal experience of the Great War: from recruitment, through training and embarkation, ship-board life on the convoys, on to the conflicts at Gallipoli, the Middle East and the Western Front, and post-war … for those who returned.

As the story of conflicts within the Centre draws to a close, the names of the 41,265 service men and women who left Albany in the first and second convoys are revealed: scrolling beneath a Pool of Reflections. The experience concludes with the discovery of each Anzac character’s fate and a Tribute Wall where visitors may document their own feelings and messages to the Anzacs. These appear within the National Anzac Centre, and are then shared with the world via the internet.


Monash One Hundred Stories featured in The Guardian this Remembrance Day

This Remembrance Day Guardian journalist Paul Daley has reflected on Australia’s national identity and place in the world by highlighting Monash Universities One Hundred Stories Project.

‘You can listen to what the politicians say. Or you can make an effort to understand the real experiences of those who died or survived to live on with guilt, remorse, endless sorrow and pain. A good place to begin is One Hundred Stories, a project by Monash University’s Centre for Australian Studies. They are stories that tell it like it was. They do not deify the men or the women who looked out for them. They don’t sugarcoat the post-war treatment meted out to the living and the dead by society and the responsible authorities.’

Read the complete article here.


The untold stories of World War One now online at “One Hundred Stories”

Elsie-TranterOne hundred years after the beginning of “The Great War”, it may surprise some people to know that stories are still emerging from this turbulent and momentous period of history which shaped the world as well as the nation.

Monash University’s “One Hundred Stories” project is designed to capture community memories of World War One. The project invited people to submit their anecdotes or records from their own family histories. Monash historians conducted further research on each case and the findings were distilled into short videos which capture the power of the individual stories.

The videos highlight the experiences of women as well as men, and also recover the all too often forgotten contribution of Indigenous Australians. They emphasise the ongoing cost of war to the community as a whole.

Nurse Elsie Tranter’s recollection of Armistice day, when peace was finally declared (11 November, 1918) is just one of the many vignettes now online. Her account of the wild and happy celebrations outside the hospital where she worked is poignantly contrasted with the predicament of those wounded men inside, for whom the war was not over, and in some cases never would be. She talks about a young boy who was critically wounded, and in her care on that day:

“When we told him the war was over he seemed unable to realise it and asked,

‘Is it really over? Won’t I have to go back?’

He seemed so happy each time we reassured him. This poor little lad finished his battle towards evening.

He was barely 18 years old and we were all so fond of him”

(From “We were all so fond of him”, Elsie Tranter)

The “One Hundred Stories” website is being launched to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the departure of the first troops headed for the battlegrounds of World War One, on November 1, 1914. These digital narratives will feature in the new National Anzac Centre to be opened in Albany on 1 November.

The first fifty videos are now available online, and you are invited to discover these untold stories from the Great War:



How should we commemorate Remembrance Day?

On 11 November the leader of the Anzac Remembered project, Professor Bruce Scates, was asked this question on ABC Radio National Drive. You can listen to the interview, or download the podcast, by following the link here.


Anzac Journeys launched

On the evening of 26 September 2013, a packed house of interested readers gathered at the Shrine of Remembrance for the launch of Anzac Journeys: returning to the battlefields of World War II, by Bruce Scates, Alexandra McCosker, Keir Reeves, Rebecca Wheatley and Damien Williams. Professor Robin Gerster, from the School of English, Communications and Performance Studies at Monash University, spoke eloquently on the book and the stories within it. The Hon. Ted Baillieu, chair of the Victorian Government’s Anzac Centenary Committee, then formally launched it.

You can listen to the evening’s proceedings here:


Anzac Day on the national broadcaster

ABC Radio National has put together an excellent collection of stories relating to Anzac Day and Australians at war. It includes an interview with project leader Professor Bruce Scates and Dr Damien Williams, broadcast on Life Matters on 25 April 2013.


South Australians in the Great War

In the lead-up to Anzac Day, the State Library and State Records are today launching a digitised collection of images, South Australians of World War 1, on the social media platform, Flickr.

You can access the Flickr group via a new State Library Guide, South Australians of World War 1: Share their story at This includes tips on how people can contribute to the group and provides them with research leads.


Anzac Remembered in Australia and around the world

As the centenary of the Great War draws ever closer, Monash researchers are leading the field in researching the effects of war on Australian families, communities and the nation.

Led by Professor Bruce Scates in the National Centre for Australian Studies, a team of PhD students and historians are taking to cities and towns to ask people directly about their thoughts on the day.

PhD candidate Rebecca Wheatley will accompany Professor Jay Winter at the Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance dawn service. Professor Winter is visiting Monash once again from Yale University to present lectures and seminars in the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation and the School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies. As the general editor of the forthcoming Cambridge history of the Great War, he is a keen observer of commemorative practices around the world. In the UK, Senior Monash Research Fellow Dr Keir Reeves will observe commemorations in Cambridge, where he has been working as a visiting fellow at Clare Hall since March.

Professor Scates will be heading to Auckland for Anzac Day services there. With the increased attention given to Australians in the Great War, it is sometimes easy (on this side of the Tasman) to overlook the NZ in Anzac. The differences and similarities between the two countries serve as an important comparison in this research. Newly-arrived PhD candidate Margaret Harris, a former member of the New Zealand Defence Force, will also be applying her research to the ways in which Anzac services differ between the two countries.

Laura James, whose research centres on Anzac commemoration in regional Australia, is travelling to Hay, New South Wales, to interview and survey citizens of this prosperous agricultural and pastoral region. Project coordinator Dr Damien Williams will also be turning his attention to regional commemoration. He will be travelling to Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale – two places that share a strong rivalry as well as links with colonial defence, telecommunication and the life of one of Australia’s greatest prime ministers, Alfred Deakin.

Other Monash researchers will be present in Sydney and at alternative Anzac Day services in Melbourne.

Well-founded criticisms of the mythology around Anzac underscore the need for concentrated research on what motivates people to remember such a bloody event of almost one hundred years ago. Monash researchers are continuing to make an original contribution to understanding how this aspect of the past continues to have such a prominent place in the present.

Professor Scates and Dr Williams will be interviewed on these topics (and more) on ABC Radio National’s Life Matters at 0900 on 25 April.


eResearch – introduction

A key outcome of this project is the e-Research facility: a scholarly tool, designed to pool the project’s findings, and present a public web presence.

The e-Research facility supports an interactive web site, designed to introduce senior high school students and the wider community to the complexities of interpreting the past and assess the nature of historical sensibility.

Public lectures and forums will also communicate our work to a wider audience. The project will assemble an Anzac Day archive, a lasting record engaging a wide cross section of the Australian community, accessible to researchers through the National Archives of Australia.

  • Go to the eResearch site 
    (please note: this site is restricted access, for information about accessing the site, contact the project manager,  Dr Damien Williams)