Lauded historian asks challenging questions at Alumni Speaker Series

Monash was delighted to host our alumni and friends at the first Alumni Speaker Series event for 2017 held on 2 May. The historic and newly renovated Ian Potter Queen’s Hall at the State Library of Victoria saw Monash alumnus, Professor Bruce Scates, take to the lectern in a highly engaging and sometimes emotional address about Australia’s relationship with ANZAC Day.

Professor Scates’ focus for this lecture was The Last Battle: Do wars really end when the guns stop firing? He picked apart the collective memory and myths behind the ANZAC legend and investigated the gap between what our World War One veterans were promised and what they were given on return to the ‘Land Fit for Heroes’.

With over 60,000 fatal Australian casualties in the Great War, it was their legacy that shaped the way we still commemorate our war effort today. But, Professor Scates asks, what became of those who returned permanently damaged, both physically and mentally? And why have their stories been hidden from our social consciousness for so long?

Professor Scates has delved into newly uncovered and rich historical archives to challenge the way the ANZAC legend is remembered; a timely exploration of the continued impact that warfare has on soldiers, their family and their descendants, where returned service people are still expected to assimilate normally back into society.

Professor Scates holds the Chair of History and Australian Studies at Monash University and is the Director of the National Centre for Australian Studies. He continues to publish a revered collection of books exploring all aspects of Australia’s military history and leads study tours of many notable World War One battlefields. His works are renowned for both their academic rigour and engagement and accessibility and he is an advocate for returned soldier wellbeing.

The Monash Alumni Speaker Series is designed to inform, entertain and inspire through thought-provoking lectures, forums and panel presentations while also giving our alumni and friends an opportunity to reconnect and broaden their networks.

The next event in the Alumni Speaker Series takes place on 12 July 2017. To make sure you don’t miss out on this and other Monash alumni events, keep your alumni profile up to date. You’ll need your Alumni ID which can be found at the bottom of any alumni email that we’ve sent you, otherwise call Alumni Engagement on (03) 9903 4602.