The series of insightful and in-depth military history seminars by Military History & Heritage Victoria Inc. (MHHV) continue in 2017 The seminars are held at the Pompey Elliott Memorial Hall in Camberwell. The RSL doors are open from 6.30PM for a 7PM start.
The seminar series 2017
Wednesday August 16 2017 – “Oswald Watt: a legend of the Australian Flying Corps” with Dr Chris Clark
Oswald Watt ended the First World War as the senior officer of the Australian Flying Corps, commanding the AFC’s largest single formation: No 1 Training Wing based in England. A greatly admired and respected figure, his chance to make a lasting impression on Australia’s post-war history was cut short by a drowning accident in May 1921. Even so, his reputation has lingered ever since, yet there remains a great deal of misinformation and half truths about Watt’s life and career which borders on mythology. This talk will explain what inspired the writing of the first full biography of Oswald Watt, and outline the many areas where previous understanding of his historical significance has fallen short of reality.
Chris Clark is a prolific author of Australian military history, with many of his titles previously published under the name “Coulthard-Clark”. He has written across all three armed services, from colonial times to the present, producing biographies, institutional and operational histories. He authored one of the volumes of the Official History of Australia’s involvement in South East Asian conflicts 1948-75 (covering RAAF operations in Vietnam) but is probably best known for his Encyclopaedia of Australia’s Battles. His biography of Oswald Watt appeared in September 2016.
One of the misnomas of the Great War was that Australia was ‘fighting above its weight.’ In fact, Monash’s 1st AIF was the biggest of 20 Allied Armies on the Western Front; Harry Chauvel’s Desert Mounted Column in the Middle East was 75 per cent Anzac.
If anything, Australia was the weight on the two biggest war fronts in the critical and deciding year of 1918.
This presentation follows the release of his latest book in October 2017.
Roland Perry is a distinguished historian and author of a number of books on Australian military history including Monash: The Outsider Who Won a War and The Australian Light Horse. He won the prestigious Fellowship of Australian Writers National Literary Award for non-fiction (2004) with Monash.
In October 2011 Perry was made a Fellow of Monash University. He was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia ‘for service to literature as an author’ in June 2011. Monash University bestowed a Professorship on Roland Perry in October 2012. He is the University’s first Writer-in-Residence, lecturing PhDs and PhD aspirants on all aspects of writing, and Australian history.
Doors open at 6.30PM
The ‘Pompey Elliott Memorial Hall’ is located at the Camberwell RSL Sub-Branch at 403 Camberwell Road, named in honour of Major General Harold Edward ‘Pompey’ Elliott CB, CMG, DSO, DCM, VD. Elliott was a senior officer in the Australian Army during the First World War and served as a Senator in the Australian parliament. He was also the second President of the Camberwell RSL Sub-Branch in 1919.
Seminar Speaker Program Logistics. The MHHV seminar speaker series will run between 7.00 – 8.00 pm on Wednesday 15 March, Wednesday 16 August, Wednesday 15 November following drinks and snacks from 6.30PM.
Entry & Catering. The seminar speaker series will attract an entry fee $5 for MHHV members, veterans, concession card holders and students while all other guests will be $10 to cover the costs of providing food, tea & coffee or beverage and hall use. Drinks at RSL prices.
For more information on the MHHV Speaker series please contact:
MHHV Secretary: Jason McGregor on 0419 256 681 or email [email protected]
Speaker Series Coordinator: Brent Taylor on email [email protected]
Previous presentations include-
Myths of Australia’s Vietnam War with Professor Peter Edwards. The Vietnam War, Australia’s most controversial conflict of the twentieth century, gave rise to an extraordinary number of myths. Even 50 years later, many half-truths are asserted as if they were unchallengeable. This talk looks at some assertions about the military, strategic, political, and social aspects of Australia’s war that deserve to be challenged or questioned.
FAIR DINKUM (def.): honesty, guts, directness, fortitude, courage, truth. You had to be fair dinkum to enlist after the hell of Gallipoli hit home. A new breed of warrior and patriot stepped up as Anzac’s second wave. Among them were 152 men of the 7th Battalion – fruit pickers and farmers, bootmakers and blacksmiths, miners and mailmen. They fought under the colours of ‘mud and blood’ in the searing sands of Egypt, on Gallipoli’s fatal shore, across killing fields in France and beyond. Born in the right place at the wrong time, the bravery and ingenuity of these young Australian men forged a legendary band of brothers: ‘The Fair Dinkums’.
‘Vietnam – Their War, Their Stories’ – A select group of Vietnam veterans gave their personal reflections, memories and stories of that long war. The panel format allowed engagement with a decorated member of the Australian Army Training Team who worked closely with Vietnamese soldiers over three tours, a military policeman who won a Military Medal while working with the Americans, a navy signaller working in the escorts for the fast troopship HMAS Sydney and a veteran airman with context and insights from the Vietnam official historian and MHHV vice-patron, Dr Peter Edwards, AM.
Australia’s Worst 24 Hours: The Centenary of Fromelles – Dr Ross McMullin – The battle of Fromelles remains the worst 24 hours in Australian history. Historian Ross McMullin will analyse how the disaster eventuated in July 1916, explain how it became for decades Australia’s little-known battle, and discuss the developments that have transformed perceptions of Fromelles in recent years.
First drafts of History: Rediscovering Victoria’s war correspondents. From the Boer War to Vietnam and beyond, Australians have long relied on war correspondents to bring home reports from the front lines of conflict. This session delivered on June 8, 2016 at the Pompey Elliot RSL as part of the MHHV’s monthly speaker program gave a lively round up of some of Victoria’s most colourful war correspondents.
Soldier On: WWI Soldier Settler Stories: Between 1918 and 1934, the Soldier Settlement Scheme helped settle some 11,000 returned soldiers on farming land across the state through government leases. Through original records, as well as first-hand videos and photographs, the exhibition shows how the Scheme shaped the Victorian landscape as we know it today. Kate Luciano will talk about the establishment of the Soldier Settlement Scheme in Victoria, and the harsh realities of life on a soldier settlement farm. –
A noble son fall’n to Earth – The Short Life of Lt. Lyle Buntine MC – Dr Daryl Moran – Lyle’s story is a forgotten one, perhaps because he was not an Anzac, nor a member of the AIF, nor indeed the Australian Flying Corps, although over 100 of his fellow countrymen also died whilst serving with the RFC or RNAS.
A wasted Effort? – The RAAF and the Battle for Tarakan 1945 by Mr Tony Hastings. Tony is completing his PhD in military history with the University of NSW at the Australian Defence Force Academy. His presentation will examine the often criticised efforts of the RAAF during the invasion of the island of Tarakan, located off the coast of Borneo, and place the campaign the wider context of the RAAF’s role in Pacific War in 1945.
The Ottoman Defence against the Anzac Landing 25th April 1915 by author Professor Mesut Uyar. The presentation commenced at 6.30pm, after welcome drinks and finger food. The President of MHHV, Col Marcus Fielding, introduced the Professor to an enthusiastic audience of Military Historians.
The Fighter by author Paul Warren One month after he arrived in Afghanistan as a soldier in the ADF, an IED exploded, tearing off his right leg. The same explosion instantly killed his mate, Private Ben Ranaudo.