In the year that marked the centenary of the battle of Gallipoli and the seventieth anniversary of the end of World War II, Sydney Ideas presented a panel of contributors to Griffith Review No 48 Enduring Legacies.

Exploring the consequences of Australia's involvement in war with a critical and inquiring eye, and shifting the focus away from battles and commemorations, they provided their thoughts on the legacy, and long shadow, of the great wars of the twentieth century.


Dr Jeannine Baker, a historian from Macquarie University, explored the role of Australian women war correspondents of WWII, the challenges they faced, and how their reportage compares with contemporary conflict journalism.

Tom Bamforth, journalist, shared his family discovering of an old biscuit tin containing the war letters of Uncle Charlie and his family, and what they learned of his life on the Western Front and the struggles of the farming family left behind.

James Brown, former Australian Army officer and Director of the Alliance 21 project at the US Studies Centre, reflected on the material and psychological costs of ‘our obsession with Anzac’

Associate Professor Julia Horne, University Historian at the University of Sydney and co-director of the Beyond 1914 project, examined the legacy of university women and the Great War.

Professor Stephen Garton, Provost and Deputy Chancellor at the University of Sydney and author of The Cost of War, examined the psychological legacy for returned soldiers.

Professor Tim Rowse, from the University of Western Sydney, focused on Indigenous people whose lives were affected, without any of them leaving Australia, by the wider transformations of Australian society after war.

Dr Tamson Pietsch (panel chair), is the author of Empires of Scholars and an ARC DECRA Fellow in School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry at the University of Sydney

Presented with the Beyond 1914 – The University of Sydney and the Great War project, an interactive biographical database of students, staff and alumni who served in the First World War that uses the extensive archives and personal papers of the University of Sydney and its colleges.