A highly successful inaugural biennial MHHV conference In the Shadow of War – Australia 1942 kicked off Military History and Heritage Week this past weekend. Held at the Grand Hyatt in Collins Street, Melbourne, the conference was themed on the 70th anniversary of the existential threat to Australia in 1942. Its offering of the best the best historian subject experts in Australia was led by Professor David Horner’s key note presentation ‘1942: A Pivotal Year’. Other highlights of the conference included the first hand account of the loss of HMAS Canberra in August 1942 by veteran Mackenzie Gregory and a special guest speaker from the National Defence Institute of Japan.
Presentations were delivered on the social, political and strategic setting as well as details of the air, land and sea campaigns, several based on the latest research from Japanese archives. These were given by well known both individual authors and historians including from the Australian War Memorial, Australian National University, Melbourne University, and Monash University to name a few. Two book launches by historians from the AWM were also launched by Cambridge University Press during the conference. At the gala conference dinner, delegates and speakers were entertained by the Hawthorn choir of Sing Australia. The US acting Consul was the guest dinner speaker while the Consul General of Japan was also a guest at the dinner.
Conference proceedings are expected to be published by Cambridge University Press later this year.
Military History and Heritage Victoria President Colonel Marcus Fielding was pleased with the high level of support for and participation in the conference. He noted that following the completion of Military History and Heritage Week, MHHV would resume its planning for new events in the year ahead and would announce details as soon as possible.
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