Spotlight on History - Inaugural Presentation and Conversation: Memories of War in the Pacific

Event details


Date & time

Wednesday 04 April 2018


Menzies Library


Dr Andrew Connelly & Professor Tessa Morris-Suzuki


Catherine Fisher

Please join us for the first in a new series of roundtable discussions called 'Spotlight on History', hosted by the School of Culture, History and Language.

Dr Andrew Connelly and Professor Tessa Morris-Suzuki will present on 'Memories of War in the Pacific', followed by a discussion chaired by Dr Jean Bou from the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs.

The discussion will be held on Wednesday 4 April in the McDonald Room, Menzies Library, from 4pm-6pm.

Stori blo bikpela pait emi bilong yumi olgeta (The story of the war belongs to all of us): History and Heritage Management on the Kokoda Track, PNG

75 years ago, battle raged between Japanese and Allied troops along the Kokoda Track over the Owen Stanley Range north of Port Moresby, in some of the worst fighting conditions of the entire Second World War. Historians may debate the strategic importance of the Kokoda Campaign, but the fact is that Kokoda has taken a place alongside Gallipoli in the iconography of Australian national identity, and today over 3,000 Australians walk the Track annually as a pilgrimage in homage to the qualities of Courage, Endurance, Mateship and Sacrifice enshrined in stone at the Isurava Memorial. Yet this is very much a Papua New Guinean story as well, with thousands being enlisted from around the former territories to serve as labourers, carriers and soldiers, and the Pacific War marking the beginning of a 30-year trajectory culminating in national independence in 1975. Efforts are underway to protect the remains of this history along the Track and elsewhere, and to improve knowledge, interpretation, commemoration and promotion of this priceless heritage for both residents and visitors alike. This presentation will explore these issues and discuss ongoing ‘military heritage management’ on and around the Kokoda Track.

Speaker: Dr Andrew Connelly, Heritage Adviser at the National Museum and Art Gallery of Papua New Guinea, and Honorary Lecturer in the School of Culture, History and Language, College of Asia and the Pacific.

The Forgotten Routes of War: Multicultural Internment in 1940s Australia

In this presentation I will outline a new project on which I am embarking. This aims to explore neglected aspects of the wartime internment of Asian people in Australia, and of the complex web of forced movements of people between Asia and various parts of the Pacific, including Australia, during and immediately after the Pacific War. The work of scholars like Yuriko Nagata has highlighted the extraordinary diversity of the ethnicity and background of those who came to be interned in Australia as “German”, “Italian” or “Japanese” enemy aliens. But the stories of the non-Japanese Asian civilians interned as “Japanese” remain little known. So to do the complex webs of cross-cultural connection which defied the tidy boundaries imposed by wartime security authorities, and the wider story of forced or semi-forced movement between various parts of Asia, Australia and Australia’s Pacific neighbours caused by the Pacific War. Here I will explore some facets of this history by focusing on some personal histories of internees held in Tatura camp, Victoria, during the war.

Speaker: Professor Tessa Morris-Suzuki, School of Culture, History and Language, College of Asia and the Pacific.

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