Blog

The Mystery of AE1

Robyn Rosenstruss would visit her grandmother in Balmain, Sydney, where the elderly lady would gesture to the small timber chest of drawers which took pride of place in her home. ‘That’s Jimmy’s Box’ she would say. Robyn the child never knew who ‘Jimmy’ was – she...

Hilda Mary Knox

Oh, these poor men! It is simply heartbreaking. Sister Hilda Knox, June 1915. Hilda Mary Knox was born in the pretty Victorian town of Benalla on 29 December 1884. Positioned on the banks of the Broken River it was a pleasant environment in which to grow up. Her...

Inspiring Australian Women – Lauren Jackson

The achievements of Lauren Jackson are legendary and now recognized by her inclusion in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, only the second Australian, and first Australian woman to be so honoured. Basketball was pretty much Lauren’s life from when she...

Hilda Mary Knox

Oh, these poor men! It is simply heartbreaking. Sister Hilda Knox, June 1915. Hilda Mary Knox was born in the pretty Victorian town of Benalla on 29 December 1884. Positioned on the banks of the Broken River it was a pleasant environment in which to grow up. Her...

Inspiring Australian Women – Lauren Jackson

The achievements of Lauren Jackson are legendary and now recognized by her inclusion in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, only the second Australian, and first Australian woman to be so honoured. Basketball was pretty much Lauren’s life from when she...

A War Widow and Holbrook, NSW.

A War Widow and Holbrook, NSW.

How many of us have driven to Melbourne passing through the town of Holbrook? And thought how odd it was to have a couple of submarines landlocked in this tiny place? Well, it is in part due to a War Widow named Gundula Holbrook. Lieutenant Norman Holbrook commanded...

Anzac Courage: Curtis McGrath

Anzac Courage: Curtis McGrath

During August and September 2015 Australian Army Sapper Curtis McGrath, added more medals to the cabinet. At the ICF Canoe Sprint & Paracanoe World Championships in Milan, Italy, in late August he defended the World VL2 200m title he won in Moscow in 2014. Even...

Paper planes, a school, and a Victoria Cross.

Paper planes, a school, and a Victoria Cross.

There are paper planes in the foyer dangling on string from above. As the door is opened the rush of winter air makes them flutter and bob playfully. This is fitting because there are children’s names festooned on fuselages, and this mid-west New South Wales school,...

The emotional legacy of war

The emotional legacy of war

Invariably the history of war is presented from the perspective of campaigns, strategic and tactical delineations and, generals. The story of war, however, is about the people and the ongoing legacy suffered by families, communities, and the nation. They fell in...

Two Amazing Franks and HMAS Perth

Two Amazing Franks and HMAS Perth

When I climbed into the bus it was near full. Onboard were the most amazing survivors – crew of the first HMAS Perth. I knew these men well by now after many interviews for my book Cruel Conflict: the triumphs and tragedies of HMAS Perth 1. I had delighted in their...

The tragedy which killed Midshipman Megan Pelly

The tragedy which killed Midshipman Megan Pelly

I first met Midshipman Megan Anne Pelly (RAN) during her final year at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA), Canberra in 1997. I was teaching history at the UNSW campus and doing research on women in the military. Megan offered to be interviewed for that...

Too Young to Die – Finding Michael Skarrett, RAAF 460 Squadron.

Too Young to Die – Finding Michael Skarrett, RAAF 460 Squadron.

It was a journey which took me from the Sydney harbourside to a quiet and distant Dutch church ground. I stood and listened to John Skarrett. His front yard was small but what a magnificent view. A cruise ship, something which became rare in 2020, reversed carefully...

Fun and Inspiration with Helen Reddy

Fun and Inspiration with Helen Reddy

The words from ‘I am Woman’ bounced around in my head. They had inspired me to stand up and have an opinion. Yes, I am one of the older generation, and yes, I had adolescent memories of being ignored because I was a girl. This might be hard to believe by later...