November 2018 will mark the centenary of the end of the First World War. On 11 November the guns of the Western Front in France and Belgium fell silent after more than four years of continuous warfare.


The Australian War Memorial invites you to join us for a special one-day experience to mark Australia’s role in this pivotal event. Renowned historians and researchers will explore the final year of the war, the allied road to victory, and the enduring impact of the bloodiest conflict in history to that time.


Conference Program


8.15 am

Registration and coffee


Ms Anne Bennie
Assistant Director Public Programs, Australian War Memorial


1918 – an inevitable victory?
Professor Robin Prior

University of Adelaide

10:00 am

Morning tea


Perfecting the set-piece battle, March – August 1918
Dr Aaron Pegram

Senior historian, Australian War Memorial

11:00 am

Victory in Palestine: Sideshow or decisive strategy?
Mr Michael Kelly

Historian, Australian War Memorial


Exploiting tactical innovation and adaptability, August – November 1918
Dr Meleah Hampton

Historian, Australian War Memorial

12:00 pm



2:30 pm

Afternoon tea


Recording the war on film: Frank Hurley and Hubert Wilkins
Mr Daniel Eisenburg

Film curator, Australian War Memorial


Writing the first draft of history: the diaries of Charles Bean
Mr Peter Burness AM

Former senior historian, Australian War Memorial


Long shadows and enduring impacts
Mr Ashley Ekins

Head of Military History, Australian War Memorial


This event will include question sessions and the opportunity for attendees to chat with historians and authors at morning and afternoon teas and the lunch break.
Presenters’ books will be available for purchase at discounted prices; and authors will be available for signings.



Conference Speakers


Robin Prior
Visiting Professorial Fellow
University of Adelaide

Professor Robin Prior is Visiting Professorial Fellow at the University of Adelaide. He was Head of the School of History from 1998 to 2004, and Foundation Head of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences from 2004 to 2007, at the University of New South Wales, Australian Defence Force Academy, where he taught modern history for 22 years. He has published widely on the First World War, including six acclaimed books: Command on the Western Front: the military career of General Sir Henry Rawlinson 1914–1918 (published in 1992); Passchendaele: the untold story (1996); The Somme (2005), and an illustrated history, The First World War (1999), all with Professor Trevor Wilson. Robin was an editor and a major contributor to The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History (1995, second edition 2008); and a contributor to the three-volume Cambridge History of the First World War, edited by Jay Winter (2014). His most recent books are Gallipoli: the end of the myth (2009), and When Britain saved the west: the story of 1940 (Yale University Press, 2015). He is currently working on a book on Britain in two World Wars.


Aaron Pegram
Senior Historian
Australian War Memorial, Canberra

Dr Aaron Pegram is a senior historian in the Military History Section at the Australian War Memorial. He is both the Lambert Western Front Fellow and the Memorial’s First World War centenary historian. Aaron is also the tour leader and historical guide for the Memorial’s Western Front battlefield tours, and has published on the First World War and other areas of military history in Wartime, The Journal of the Western Front Association as well as the Journal of First World War Studies. He is the recipient of an Australian Army History Unit Research Grant, and editor of both William Cull’s record of captivity, Both Sides of the Wire: the memoir of an Australian officer captured in the Great War (Allen & Unwin, 2011) and Beyond Surrender: Australian prisoners of war in the twentieth century with Joan Beaumont and Lachlan Grant (Melbourne University Press, 2015). His other works include For valour: Australians awarded the Victoria Cross with Craig Blanch (NewSouth, 2018) and Surviving the Great War: Australian prisoners on the Western Front (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2019–2020).


Michael Kelly
Australian War Memorial, Canberra

Michael Kelly works as a historian in the Military History Section. He joined the Memorial in September 2004, having previously served in the Australian Defence Force as a rifleman with 8th/9th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment. For several years, Michael was a curator in the Memorial’s Military Heraldry and Technology Section and worked on the redevelopment of the Second World War galleries in 2009 and, more recently, the new First World War galleries, which opened in late 2014. Michael is a First World War and Korean War historian, with research interests in Australian operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has delivered talks to public conferences and the media and publishes regularly in the Memorial’s military history magazine, Wartime. With Professor John Blaxland, he is the editor of Korea: in from the cold to be published by ANU Press in April 2019.


Dr Meleah Hampton
Australian War Memorial, Canberra

Dr Meleah Hampton is a historian in the Military History Section, where she has worked since March 2013. She is a graduate of the University of Adelaide and completed her PhD with a thesis on the 1916 battles for Pozières and Mouquet Farm. Her primary interest is in the operational conduct of the First World War on the Western Front. She is a member of the editorial staff of the Memorial’s magazine, Wartime, and continues to research and write biographies for the Last Post Ceremony project. Meleah Hampton is the author of Attack on the Somme: 1st Anzac Corps and the Battle of Pozières Ridge, 1916 (Helion and Co, 2016).


Daniel Eisenberg
Australian War Memorial, Canberra

Daniel Eisenberg is a Curator of Photographs, Film and Sound at the Australian War Memorial. He is currently conducting research into the Memorial’s First World War film collection. Daniel is also a trained film archivist, projectionist and occasional film reviewer.


Peter Burness
Australian War Memorial, Canberra

Peter Burness AM recently retired from his role as a senior historian at the Australian War Memorial, where he worked from 1973. Formerly Head of the Military Heraldry and Technology Section and a senior curator in the Exhibitions Section, he has been involved in the development of numerous permanent, temporary and travelling exhibitions. He has a special interest in the First World War and for almost 20 years led the Memorial’s annual battlefield tours to the Western Front. Peter has published numerous articles on Australians in the Great War, the colonial period, and other conflicts, as well as entries for The Oxford Companion to Australian History, The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History, and more than 20 entries to the Australian Dictionary of Biography. He wrote four of the volumes of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs series, Australians on the Western Front, and he regularly contributes articles to the Memorial’s military history magazine, Wartime. His book, The Nek: a Gallipoli tragedy, first published in 1996, was republished in 2012. His most recent work is a comprehensive volume based on the Western Front diaries of First World War official correspondent, official historian and founder of the Australian War Memorial, Charles Bean (launched at the Memorial in October 2018). Peter was made a fellow of the Australian War Memorial in August 2015, and he was appointed a member of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday 2017 Honours List for his “significant service to the preservation of military history as a researcher, curator, author and guide”.


Ashley Ekins
Head, Military Section
Australian War Memorial, Canberra

Ashley Ekins is chief historian at the Australian War Memorial. A graduate of the University of Adelaide, he has worked as a military historian at the Memorial for 29 years, specialising in the history of the First World War and the Vietnam War. His First World War publications include: 1918 Year of Victory: the end of the Great War and the shaping of history (ed., 2010, runner-up for the Templer Medal); War Wounds: medicine and the trauma of conflict (ed. with Elizabeth Stewart, 2011); and Gallipoli: a ridge too far (ed., 2013, second, revised edition 2015). Ashley led the Memorial’s annual battlefield tours to Gallipoli for 20 years and developed a detailed knowledge of the former battlefields and the history of that campaign. As an authority on the Vietnam War, he has also researched and written extensively on Australian Army operations in Vietnam, including two volumes of the Australian official history: On the Offensive: the Australian Army in the Vietnam War, 1967–1968 (co-authored with the late Dr Ian McNeill, published in 2003); and the final volume in the nine-volume series, Fighting to the Finish: the Australian Army and the Vietnam War 1968–1975 (published in 2012).