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From Books and Blackboards to Battlefields- Victoria’s State School Teacher-Soldiers in the Great War – Speaker: Rosalie Triolo

May 15 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

All of us have memories of our schooldays, but few Victorians have paused to contemplate the experiences of Victoria’s male State school teachers, mainly ‘primary’ but with some from the beginnings of State ‘secondary’ and ‘technical’ education, who served in the Great War.

This presentation explores experiences common to those teachers as enlistees, as educated tourists, as trainers of soldiers, as men at the front, as members of an Education Department community, and as teachers and ‘students of life’ while overseas.

It further explores how, compared to Australia’s enlistment overall, Victoria’s eligible-aged State school teachers were more likely to enlist than Australia’s non-teachers, more likely to enlist early than late-war, more likely to become officers and non-commissioned officers, more likely to receive military honours, decorations and other awards and, tragically, slightly more likely to die.

Many of the experiences would hold true for Victoria’s independent school teachers, but this presentation draws on a variety of examples from State school communities Victoria-wide, some stories being humorous and remarkable in coincidence, others being wholly tragic, and many from schools, even whole towns, that no longer exist.

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About the presenter

Rosalie Triolo is an adjunct senior lecturer at Monash University who writes and presents widely in History education, history of Australian education, Australian history generally, and on WWI. For 25 years, she helped facilitate the development of specialist teachers of History for Australian and overseas schools before retiring from Monash at the end of 2021. She is a Fellow and currently the Vice-President of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria, as well as Chair of its Historical Societies Support Committee. She has served voluntarily on the RHSV Council since 2014 and is one of two delegates to the Federation of Australian Historical Societies (2020- ). She is a past President of the History Teachers’ Association of Victoria (6 years), a past Board member (further 24 years) and a Life Member, being the longest-serving contributor to the HTAV community in each of those roles. She is currently Victoria’s representative on the Council of the Australian National Museum of Education (2015- ); and was the History Teachers’ Association of Australia delegate to the Australian Historical Association (2010-20).

Rosalie has published general public as well as scholarly works and teacher/tutor professional learning and classroom resources for tertiary, secondary and primary education audiences, including for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs education and commemoration branches. Her MEd by research of ‘State Schooling and Civic and Citizenship Ideals in Victoria, 1872-1910’ was the precursor to her award-winning doctoral thesis, ‘”Our Schools and the War”: Victoria’s Education Department and the Great War, 1914-18’ which became the book of similar title ‘Commended’ in the Victorian Community History Awards, 2012. For the above and voluntarily contributing to Shrine of Remembrance lectures and education programs since its undercroft was developed, she was awarded in the 2015 Anzac Centenary year the Shrine of Remembrance Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Community Understandings of Victorian Service and Sacrifice in Wars and Peace-Keeping.


May 15
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Online via Zoom

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