On the home front: symposium

On the home front

This event is now in the past.

Like much of Australia during the years of the First World War, Queensland was a divided society. Debates about conscription, the evolving role of women, and the growing number of broken families characterised a state that was struggling to cope with rapid systemic change.

Symposium facilitator Ian Townsend, author and journalist, will lead a full day of presentations on the social challenges Queensland experienced during the First World War.

Join us the evening prior for the keynote address from leading war historian and keynote speaker Professor Joan Beaumont, discussing the experience of war by those at home.

Download the full symposium program  (PDF 465.8 KB).

Part of Q ANZAC 100: Memories for a New Generation, proudly supported by the Queensland Government.

Attendees to this event get a 10% discount in the SLQ Shop.

Speakers and panellists

Ian Townsend

Facilitator and host - Ian Townsend

Author and journalist

Journalist, author and historian Ian Townsend will facilitate and host the two day event. Ian is a Queensland journalist who produced radio documentaries for ABC Radio National’s acclaimed Background Briefing program for a decade.  As a result of his postgraduate studies at the University of Queensland, his book The Devils Eye (2010) details the impact of Cyclone Mahina at Bathurst Bay on Cape York Peninsular in 1899. Ian has a long association with the John Oxley Library facilitating and MC-ing a variety of public programs over the years.  Ian is a past John Oxley Library Fellow.

Joan Beaumont

1st keynote – Professor Joan Beaumont

Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at Australian National University. Historian and author.

Professor Joan Beaumont is an internationally recognised historian of Australia in the two world wars, Australian defence and foreign policy, the history of prisoners of war, and the memory and heritage of war. Professor Beaumont's publications include the critically acclaimed Broken Nation: Australians and the Great War (2013), which was joint winner of the 2014 Prime Minister's Literary Award (Australian History), winner of the 2014 NSW Premier's Prize (Australian History), the 2014 Queensland Literary Award for History, and the Australian Society of Authors' 2015 Asher Award. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences of Australia and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of International Affairs. Professor Beaumont's current research projects include Serving our country: A history of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in the Defence of Australia and Second Shock; Australia’s Great Depression and the legacy of World War I.

Mick Dodson

2nd keynote – Professor Mick Dodson

Director, National Centre for Indigenous Studies at Australian National University. Professor of Law.

Professor Mick Dodson AM is a member of the Yawuru peoples – the traditional owners of land and waters in the Broome area of the southern Kimberley region of Western Australia. Professor Dodson is Director of the National Centre for Indigenous Studies at The Australian National University and Professor of Law at the ANU College of Law. Professor Dodson is also currently a Director of Dodson, Bauman & Associates Pty Ltd – Legal & Anthropological Consultants. He was Australia's first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner with the Human Rights Commission. He holds a Bachelor of Jurisprudence and a Bachelor of Laws at Monash University. Professor Dodson is a prominent advocate on land rights and other issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, as well as a vigorous advocate of the rights and interests of indigenous peoples around the world. He was the Co-Deputy Chair of the Technical Committee for the 1993 International Year of the World's Indigenous People and was chairman of the United Nations Advisory Group for the Voluntary Fund for the Decade of Indigenous Peoples. In 2009 Mick Dodson was named Australian of the Year by the National Australia Day Council.

Joy Damousi

Professor Joy Damousi

Professor of History at University of Melbourne and author

Joy Damousi is Professor of History at the University of Melbourne. Professor Damousi has published widely on aspects of political history, women’s history, memory and war, history of emotions, sound and war, and the history of post-war migration. She is the author of numerous books including The Labour of Loss: Mourning, Memory and Wartime Bereavement in Australia (1999), Living with the Aftermath: Trauma, Nostalgia and Grief in Post-war Australia (2001), Freud in the Antipodes: A Cultural History of Psychoanalysis in Australia (2005), Colonial Voices: A Cultural History of English in Australia 1840-1940 (2010) and Memory and Migration in the Shadow of War: Australia’s Greek Immigrants after World War II and the Greek Civil War (2015).

Raymond Evans

Dr Raymond Evans

Adjunct Professor at Griffith University. Historian and author

Dr Raymond Evans holds the honorary positions of Adjunct Professor at Griffith University and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Queensland. Dr Evans has been researching and writing about history since 1964 and publishing since 1971. He has worked in a score of significant research areas, beginning with frontier studies and race relations, producing around 250 publications. In 1970, he began researching the Australian home front during the First World War and, along with many chapters in books and refereed articles in journals on this subject, he published the books Loyalty and Disloyalty, Social Conflict on the Queensland Homefront (1987), The Red Flag Riots, and A Study of Intolerance (1988). More recently, Dr Evans has worked on the Australian history chapters in the textbooks for the new National History Curriculum, including the section on Australia in the First World War. He has recently written on Australian female writers in Brisbane during World War Two for a forthcoming international publication and is developing an analysis of private settler violence and its relationship to genocide on the Queensland frontier.

Gerhard Fischer

Adjunct Professor Gerhard Fischer

Author and Professor of German and European Studies at University of New South Wales

Gerhard Fischer is Adjunct Professor of German and European Studies at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. A literary scholar and historian, Professor Fischer has published widely on modern European literature, German–Australian migration history, multiculturalism and the First World War (Enemy Aliens: Internment and the Homefront Experience in Australia, 1914–1920, 1989). His book The Enemy at Home: German Internees in World War I Australia (2011 with Nadine Helmi) won a 2012 National Trust Heritage Award and was shortlisted for a New South Wales State Literary Award. Professor Fischer is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and was awarded a Commonwealth Government Centenary Medal in 2001.

John Pearn

Dr John Pearn

School of Medicine at University of Queensland. Paediatrician, former Surgeon General for the Australian Defence Force.  Author and historian.

Professor John Pearn is a clinician and medical historian based in Brisbane. Professor Pearn has been an academic and clinical teacher for 50 years in medicine and health sciences, based at the University of Queensland. He is the author of some 30 books and more than 200 published papers on the history of medicine and health. As Major General John Pearn, he served in the Defence Reserves for 35 years, ultimately in the appointment of Surgeon General of the Australian Defence Force. He commanded the 2 Field Hospital, formerly No. 1 Casualty Clearing Station which was the pivot medical unit on the beach at Gallipoli, 25 April 1915. Professor Pearn was a founder, later President and then Honorary Life Member of the Australian and New Zealand Society of the History of Medicine. He is an historian of the Order of St John. He has been a member of the Council for the International Society of the History of Medicine for many years and its Vice President for the last four years.

Alastair Thomson

Professor Alistair Thomson

Professor of History at Monash University and author

Alistair Thomson is a Professor of History at Monash University. Professor Thomson's research and teaching explores the ways in which different kinds of life story evidence can illuminate the past and its meanings in the present lives of individuals and society. His books explore the histories and memories of war veterans, migrants, adult learners and post-WW2 families in Britain and Australia. As an internationally renowned oral historian, Professor Thomson writes about the theory and method of oral history and life history research, including research involving recorded and written memory, diaries and letters, and family photographs. His recent work explores the opportunities and challenges of digital oral history. Alistair’s books include: Anzac Memories (1994 and 2013), The Oral History Reader (1998, 2006 and 2015 with Rob Perks), Ten Pound Poms (2005 with Jim Hammerton), Moving Stories (2011), Oral History and Photography (2011 with Alexander Freund) and Australian Lives: An Oral History (forthcoming with Anisa Puri).

Alana Piper

Dr Alana Piper

Academic Research Fellow at Griffith University

Dr Alana Piper is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Griffith Criminology Institute. As part of the Australian Research Council sponsored Prosecution Project, Dr Piper is examining the evolution of the criminal trial in Australian history. She received her PhD from the University of Queensland in 2014 for a thesis examining female crime in Australian urban environments in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Dr Piper has a broad range of interests concerning the social and cultural history of deviance and crime, but is particularly interested in economically-motivated crimes such as theft, fraud, prostitution and fortune-telling. Her work has appeared in publications such as the Journal of Social History, History Workshop Journal, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, Labour History, Journal of Australian Studies, and Criminal Law Journal.


Tuesday 10 May 2016 
7:00 - 7.30pm

Key note presentation by Professor Joan Beaumont

Q & A facilitated by Ian Townsend

7:30 - 8:30pmCocktail reception, Queensland Terrace
Wednesday 11 May 2016 
8:30 - 9:00amRegistration and coffee/tea
9:00 - 10:30am

Key note presentation by Professor Mick Dodson

Q & A with Professor Beaumont and Professor Dodson. Facilitated by Ian Townsend

10:30 - 11:00amMorning tea
11:00am - 1:00pm

11am-11:30am - Professor Joy Damousi
Why is your face so white Mother?: Women and the conscription debates 1916-1917

11.30-12noon - Dr Raymond Evans
Unity or Division: the Queensland homefront in World War

12noon-12:30pm - Adjunct Professor Gerhard Fischer
Fighting the war at home - the campaign against enemy aliens in WW1 Australia

12:30pm-1pm - Panel discussion

1:00 - 1:45pmLunch
1:45pm - 3:15pm

1:45pm-2:15pm - Dr John Pearn
They also serve: children and families on the home front - Queensland in World War One

2:15pm-2:45pm - Professor Alistair Thomson
Telling difficult family war stories: searching for Hector Thomson

2:45pm-3:15pm - Dr Alana Piper
Grasping harpies and desperate women: fortune-telling during the first world war

3:15pm-3:45pm - Panel discussion

3:45pmEvent concludes
Wed 11 May 2016, 9:00 am - 04:00 pm
SLQ Auditorium 1, level 2
More information:
Queensland Memory
(07) 3840 7887

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