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Expert Nation will unlock the records of approximately 6,500 men and women from the universities of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Tasmania, Queensland and Western Australia who served in the Great War.

Led by Dr Tamson Pietsch, Associate Professor Julia Horne and Professor Stephen Garton (USyd) and Professor Kate Darian Smith and Dr James Waghorne (UMelb), it will investigate how Australian university graduates, with World War One experience contributed to the formation of the post-war Australian nation. It theorises the relationship between Australia’s participation in World War One and the production and dissemination of expert knowledge, including the creation of new professions in the 1920s and 1930s.

This project plans to shift the focus of analysis from the ANZACs as a generic category, towards specific groups of ANZACs and their education and training and impact on the development of Australia, placing knowledge and expertise at the heart of the national story in the interwar years.

It will create a new national archives infrastructure, for the first time bringing together the records of thousands of men and women from the universities of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Tasmania, Queensland and Western Australia with records from the Australian War Memorial and from personal collections.

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The Social and Cultural Experience of World War I  Symposium

The photographs, writings and ephemera assembled in the exhibition Somewhere in France:Australians on the Western Front reveal individual connections and personal experiences of individuals on the Western Front.These glimpses convey the diverse motivations and interests of those engaged in the war, and hint at the changes that war made on individuals and society more generally. They help to reposition the discussion of the First War away from familiar, desultory scenes of trench warfare, and allow new analysis of the war as an experience lived by individuals.

This symposium draws together new work on the Great War to discuss what the war tells us about the social and cultural experience of living during these years, and their legacies for the universities and the professions.


Dr Heather Benbow, School of Languages and Linguistics, Faculty of Arts, Rhys Cooper, Schoolof Historical and Philosophical Studies, Faculty of Arts,

Professor Kate Darian-Smith, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning,

Xavier Fowler, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, Faculty of Arts,

Ms Jenny Long, Curator, Somewhere in France: Australians on the Western Front,

Dr Carolyn Rassmussen, Vice Chancellor’s Fellow,

Dr James Waghorne, Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education,

Professor Julie Willis (Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research Capability), Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning.

Presented by the

Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education, the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, Faculty of Arts

and the

Noel Shaw Gallery, University Library.

This event forms part of the Somewhere in France: Australians on the Western Front exhibition in the Noel Shaw Gallery, Baillieu

Library and is associated with ARC DP 160101109: Beyond1914: Knowledge, War, Peace and Nation


Date: Wednesday 11 May 2016

Time: 9:30am – 12:45pm

Venue: Leigh Scott Room, Level 1, Baillieu Library,

University of Melbourne

Bookings are essential. RSVP by Friday 6 May.

Morning tea provided.

Enquiries: 03 90354657

Register online at: