Australia and the Great War

Explore the Australian experience of the First World War - in particular, the role of the Great War in the development of Australia’s national identity and how it remains a pressing and controversial issue.

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Teacher Date Day Time Sessions Fee Enrol
Walter Kudrycz 2017 dates TBC 6-8pm 8 $ Join our mailing list

Course outline

This course will explore the Australian experience of the First World War. The war affected Australia in many ways, some of which are still felt today. In particular, the role of the Great War in the development of Australia’s national identity remains a pressing and controversial issue – all the more so in this year, the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign. We will also examine the Australian experience of war during the conflict itself, as well as analysing changing perceptions of the war on the part of subsequent generations. Its subject matter will range from histories, documents, and memoirs through to artistic, literary, film, and television depictions of the war.

  • Week 1 - Why was there a war and why was Australia involved? You will explore Australia’s contribution to the war and the attitudes of Australians to the conflict.
  • Week 2 - The experience of war: you will examine letters, diaries, mementos, and memoirs as well as newspapers and the journalists: Charles Bean and Keith Murdoch.
  • Week 3 - War leadership: you will learn about Prime Minister 'Billy' Hughes and the changing landscape of Australian politics as well as examining the Australia and the British Empire with the role of the Governor-General and General John Monash and issues of command.
  • Week 4 - Those against: you will explore the conscription debate, anti-war sentiment, censorship and internment as well as the outspoken archbishop, Daniel Mannix.
  • Week 5 - Images of war: you will look at paintings, propaganda and photographs of and during war while examining artists Norman Lindsay and Will Dyson.
  • Week 6 - After the War: learn about Australia and the post-war world, including ‘Billy’ Hughes at the Paris peace conference, repatriation and the soldier-settlement scheme and the origins and evolution of Anzac Day.
  • Week 7 - Remembrance and reconstruction: take a closer look at memorials and memory, Charles Bean's, Official History and some war literature including Leonard Mann's Flesh in Armour and Roger MacDonald's, 1915.
  • Week 8 - Remembrance and reconstruction: in the final week explore Peter Weir's film and recent television miniseries, Gallipoli.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course, students should have:

  • an increased understanding of Australian history, and of the relationship between Australian history and world events

  • a greater awareness of many aspects of Australian culture
  • a greater understanding on the construction of Australia's national identity.

Who should enrol

This course is open to anyone with an interest in history.

Updated:  14 June 2017/ Responsible Officer:  CCE Manager/ Page Contact:  CCE Webmaster