M. J. Calanchini: Under Secretary for Mines, WA

As mentioned before on this blog page, quite often while working on one historical topic another aspect or story is encountered which, although tangential or even irrelevant to the main research, nonetheless provides fascinating reading and is too significant to...

The Battle of Broken Hill, 1915

In my 1998 book Where Australians Fought: the encyclopaedia of Australia’s battles, I included the following entry which was primarily drawn from Professor Ernest Scott’s volume of the Official History of Australia in the First World War, titled Australia during the...

Remembering Colonel Umphelby

In 2017 the Military History & Heritage Victoria group received an approach from a South African academic seeking financial assistance for restoring and maintaining the gravesite of an Australian officer killed during the Boer War.  The grave was that of...

Melbourne’s memorial to General Gordon

In the heart of the city of Melbourne is a memorial which is surely one of the most remarkable historical anachronisms in the whole of Australia. This is a statue located on the corner of Spring and Macarthur streets, just a short distance south of Victoria’s...

General Legge’s son among the last to die in 1918

Earlier this month Australia marked the centenary of the last action of the Great War of 1914-18 in which infantry of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) took part, before withdrawing from the front-line in France ahead of the armistice which brought fighting to an...

Australian casualty from New Zealand’s Maori Wars

I have always believed that the first soldier to die overseas while serving in any Australian expeditionary force was a member of the colonial military contingent sent from New South Wales in 1885 to fight in Sudan. Though hardly an “honour” that anyone would wish to...

War historian F. M. Cutlack involved in Lasseter fraud?

One of the many surprises to come from researching my recently completed documentary movie The truth about Lasseter (see July Newsletter) was the number of well-known and significant people who became associated with expeditions to locate the mythical “lost” gold reef...

Australian missing-in-action from the Korean War

When US President Donald Trump met North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore on 12 June, there was great speculation that this historic summit could result in an official end to the Korean War of 1950-53. Sixty-five years after the armistice which ended that...

The Australian Flying Corps in Occupied Germany, 1919

Returning from a recent European holiday cruising the Danube and Rhine riverways, I have been frequently asked what was the highlight of the trip. With tours providing an abundance of memorable highlights on a daily basis, that has not been an easy question to answer....

Playing Cricket with Gallipoli

With the Cricket Australia scandal over ball-tampering during the March 2018 test in Cape Town, South Africa, rapidly receding in public consciousness, it is perhaps time to recall an experience I had seventeen years previously—soon after I began working in the...