The Imperial Air Fleet

[This is a repost of the blog article published on 16 June 2019, which has unfortunately suffered technical issues.] At page 201 of my 2016 biography The High Life of Oswald Watt I recorded an episode in May 1918, the last year of the First World War, when Lieutenant...

Melbourne’s Korean War Memorial

On 2 May a new memorial commemorating Australians who served in the Korean War of 1950-53 was opened amid great fanfare at Quarry Park, in the west Melbourne suburb of Footscray.  With music provided by the Royal Australian Navy Band, the unveiling ceremony was...

Postscript to a footnote in History

In mid-April, while checking some references on the National Archives website, I came across a short, simple but infinitely sad letter on a general correspondence file of the Canberra Social Service Association from the years 1926-29 (NAA: CP698/9, 22).  Dated 16...

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...