The following Research and Writing projects are currently underway:
ANZAC Day at Home and Abroad: A Centenary History of Australia’s National Day
Revisiting Australia’s War: International Perspectives on Australian and New Zealand Anzac Journeys: Pilgrimages to the Cemeteries, Sites and Battlefields of World War Two
ARC Summary of Topic
Since the death of the last Gallipoli veterans, the Anzac legend is increasingly associated with Australia’s involvement in WW2 and pilgrimages to its battlefields and cemeteries now extend across three generations of travellers.
This study will ask who undertakes such journeys and why. It will be both an historical study, charting changes in the nature of commemoration from one world war to another, and an investigation of the experience of today’s travellers. Oral history, archival research and personal survey will offer new insights into the emotional world of loss and mourning and explore the intersection between personal and collective memory.
ARC Statement of National Benefit
War has assumed an iconographic status in Australia and for many the spirit of Anzac defines the values of the nation. A study of WW2 pilgrimage will help to explain how the Anzac legend has been revisited, reinvented and revitalised by successive generations.
This project will retrieve the memory of war from those who suffered it, empower various communities of mourners and help to explain why the Anzac mythology continues to captivate a diverse cross section of Australian society. It will engage with and enrich the nation’s memory of war, offering a window into how Australians see themselves.
- A Land Fit for Heroes: A Social, Cultural and Environmental History of Soldier Settlement in NSW, 1916–1939
ARC Project Summary
Vast tracts of NSW were settled by returned soldiers in the aftermath of the Great War.
This study will assess the origins, intentions, successes and failures of NSW’s soldier settlement scheme, linking it to comparable experiments across the dominions and the long quest to raise an industrious yeomanry on Australian soil. It will address emerging themes in imperial, transnational and environmental history and recover the largely forgotten experience of soldier settlers and their families as they battled to ‘make a go of it’ on the land.
A timely study, based on recently released Land Settlement and Repatriation files, it will strive to make this history accessible to a wide and diverse audience. Outcomes will include a monograph, a PhD thesis, library guides, public lectures and a website directing researchers to archival holdings on all the state’s 9000 soldier settlers.
ARC Statement of National Benefit
The digger has an iconographic status in Australian society; in recent years thousands of families have charted the service record of relatives who served in the first AIF.
This project will extend and enrich those histories, recovering the returned soldier as important a historical entity as the men (and women) who went to war. It will look at ways that our society has tried to recover from the trauma of war, examine our veterans’ return to Australia and their often difficult readjustment to civil society.
Soldier settlers faced a new battle in ‘opening up’ the land. Like many in regional NSW today they struggled against isolation, financial hardship and environmental degradation. This project will address pressing challenges facing regional Australia: evaluating the role of soldier settlement in populating remote districts and assess its long-term environmental impacts.
- Dangerous Ground: a novel recreating CEW Bean’s journey back to Gallipoli and the search for the missing of the Great War