Students retrace historic footsteps of the Great War

Monash journalism students have produced historically significant work in News Corp publications to mark the centenary of the Great War and the contribution of Australian soldiers.

Alana Mitchelson.
Alana Mitchelson.

Sir Keith Murdoch Journalism Scholarship recipient Alana Mitchelson worked tirelessly to produce outstanding research for the Herald Sun and other News Corp publications, including and the Geelong Advertiser.

Alana, who spent three months researching stories on the Great War, contributed to a segment on The Today Show on Channel 9 after program producers followed up on her research.

Alana Mitchelson compiled information for the Herald Sun's poster and page of the Gallipoli landing. Source: Herald Sun
Alana Mitchelson compiled information for the Herald Sun’s poster and page of the Gallipoli landing. Source: Herald Sun

Alana said the Herald Sun assignment put her investigative skills to their first true test.

“The work was at times quite challenging but was extremely rewarding,” Alana said.

“I was able to track down the relatives of a WWI veteran and reunite them with a treasure trove of their grandfather’s possessions, including his military medal, which had been lost to the family for over 30 years.

“This was an especially moving story to be a part of and the grandsons were very grateful to me for my persistence.”

Alana was also recognised for her contributions to the Herald Sun’s Gallipoli magazine.

“It was so special to see my byline among all of these highly experienced senior journalists’ names in the Gallipoli centenary supplement, such as Andrew Rule and Patrick Carlyon,” Alana said.

“This experience has definitely reinforced my strong desire to continue pursuing a career in journalism.”

 CEW Bean Prize recipients Elizabeth Johnson, Louise Almeida, Robert Moseley and Jason Walls filmed Monash students at Gallipoli in Turkey last year, who shared their views on one of Australian history’s significant stories.

The students’ work was published in the Herald Sun and the Courier Mail in Queensland in the lead-up to Anzac Day on April 25.

Elizabeth Johnson.
Elizabeth Johnson.

Elizabeth, who spoke at a RSL centenary event on Anzac Day, said it was an honour to share her experiences and research.

“In terms of my experience, today of all days really brings together the experience and draws our major project to an end,” Elizabeth said, who shared her story with the Herald Sun.

“I feel I have learned a perspective that is just not taught in schools, that is, the true horrors of war, or in Bruce Scates’s words ‘a slow, sordid and remorseless war of attrition’.”

Elizabeth said hiking the cliffs on the Gallipoli peninsula was such a challenge, but it was one she felt privileged to have the opportunity to do.

The Great War Centenary will honour Australians who  served their country.
The Great War centenary honoured Australians who served their country.

“It makes me think about how many of those boys and men had that same feeling of anticipation, but i wonder how many of them felt lucky in the end,” she said.

” I walked where they walked, I fell where they fell, but I got back up, dusted the dirt off and kept on going. Lest we forget those who couldn’t and didn’t get back up.”

Masters of Journalism student Luke Mortimer.
Luke Mortimer.

The 2015 CEW Bean Prize recipients are Masters journalism students Luke Mortimer and Uma Muthia, who will film in Gallipoli and the Western Front in July.

Uma Muthia is a recipient of the CEW Bean Prize.
Uma Muthia is a recipient of the CEW Bean Prize.

Luke and Uma will study 12-point unit, ATS3387 Beyond Gallipoli: Australians in the Great War.

Professor Scates has led several tours of the battlefields and commemorative sites of the Great War, including the Premier of Victoria’s Spirit of Anzac.

Visit Monash’s Great War Centenary website for more information on these tours.