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In July, to mark the centenary of Australia’s introduction to the Western Front, the Australian War Memorial will convene the international conference 1916: the cost of attrition. The conference will bring together renowned historians from Australia and abroad to cast fresh light and international perspectives on many aspects of the war in 1916, including competing strategies, the conduct and tactics of military operations, questions surrounding military command, technical and tactical innovation, soldiers’ experiences, and the military, political and social aftermath of the Great War.


The conference will be framed by commemorative events to mark the centenary of the battle of Fromelles, the Australians’ tragic initiation into warfare in French Flanders on 19 July, and of the battle of Pozières on 23 July, Australia’s most costly battle on the Somme.


Promising lively and engaging debates on the significant events that shaped the twentieth century and continue to influence our modern world, 1916: the cost of attrition will be a Great War centenary event not to be missed.


Conference Presenters


Dr Tim Cook, CM

First World War historian at the Canadian War Museum (CWM) and Adjunct Research Professor at Carleton University. Multiple award winning author of numerous books on the First World War, including, At the Sharp End: Canadians Fighting the Great War, 1914-1916, vol. 1 (2007) and Shock Troops: Canadians Fighting the Great War, 1917-1918, vol. 2 (2008).


Peter Barton

Historian and battlefield archaeologist, author of The Lost Legions of Fromelles (2014) was awarded the NSW Premier’s History Prize.


Robert Foley

Reader in Defence Studies at King’s College London, author of numerous works including The German Army in the First World War (forthcoming 2016).


Jim Beach

University of Northampton, author of Haig's Intelligence: GHQ and the German Army, 1916-1918 (2013).


Joan Beaumont

Australian National University, author of Broken Nation: Australians and the Great War (Allen & Unwin, 2013), which was joint winner of the 2014 Prime Minister's Literary Award (Australian History).


Meleah Hampton

Australian War Memorial: author of Attack on Somme: 1st Anzac Corps and the Battle of Pozieres Ridge, 1916 (2016)