CASS building celebration & formal launch of the 2021 ANU Alumni Week, featuring the Allan Martin History Lecture

Join Professor Rae Frances, Dean of the ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences, for a celebratory reception of the new Social Sciences Building and formal launch of the 2021 ANU Alumni Week as part of the annual Allan Martin Lecture series with alumnus Dr Michael McKernan (PhD '75, BA (Hons) '72).  For those with a taste for nostalgia, there will also be a presentation on the move to the new building from the memorable hexagonal Coombs Building.

Allan Martin Lecture

'Be very careful, Michael, they think up there'

(Manning Clark to Michael McKernan, December 1971)

Reflections on an Historian's Life

Being an historian was my goal from about the age of about sixteen, when I first read Margaret Kiddle's history of Victoria's Western District, Men of Yesterday.  Fortuitously, and possibly unexpectedly, I enrolled at the Australian National University in 1968 where I gained an Honours degree and a Doctoral degree, completed in 1974.  

With a lectureship at the University of New South Wales, I had my dream job.  I recall the influence of the extraordinary group of historians then at ANU  - Ken Inglis, Manning Clark, John La Nauze, John Molony, Keith Hancock, and the extraordinary spirit in the School of General Studies led by Pat White.

Later, in 1981, I took a secondment from UNSW to the Australian War Memorial to help in the immense task of leading that moribund organisation into its professional future.  I caught the vision for what the Memorial could be from prominent members of its Council.

My lecture looks at the ANU years through slightly rose-tinted glasses and reflects on what I then thought was the enduring vision of Charles Bean's and John Treloar's Memorial.  I ask if the Memorial, in the current phase of its history, has abandoned that vision, to its great loss. 

Michael McKernan graduated from the Australian National University with BA(Hons) (1972) and Ph.D. (1975).  He taught at the University of New South Wales until 1981 when he accepted the position of Assistant (later Deputy) Director of the Australian War Memorial, leaving that organisation in 1996.  As a public historian, Michael McKernan conducted battlefield tours and consulted to government.  He is the sole author of nineteen books and edited a variety of others.

PLEASE NOTE: This is an in-person event held on the ANU campus in Canberra, Australia. To ensure a COVID safe event, there is a restriction on capacity and prior registration is mandatory. Please only register for this event if you plan to attend in person, and let the Alumni Relations team know as soon as possible if you are no longer able to attend.

Event terms and conditions

2021 ANU Alumni Week - Connections through our community

It's that time of the year when the ANU alumni community comes together to connect, share and celebrate all the things we care about. This year, we have a week-long program of online and on-campus events to take our sense of community to the next level. So, no matter where you are in the world, we have something for you.

Explore our campus by taking heritage walks and sculpture tours. Connect with networks and attend insightful panel discussions. Watch a movie and enjoy family-friendly events.

Let's come together to celebrate our shared legacy, and all that we care about - our community, our University, our future.

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