PhD Candidate and Researcher, National Centre for Australian Studies, Monash University
Rebecca Wheatley's PhD is a part of Anzac Day at Home and Abroad: A Centenary History of Australia’s National Day project, an ARC Linkage Project led by Monash University. Partner Organisations are the Department of Veterans' Affairs, the Shrine of Remembrance, Legacy, National Archives of Australia, National Museum of Australia, King's College London (UK), Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University (Turkey) and Historial de la Grande Guerre (France).
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“What are your legs? Springs. Steel springs”.
Archy’s nervous mutterings before he sprints into gunfire are familiar in Australian history classes. So are the tale of Simpson and Duffy and their “bravest deeds of Anzac”.
Peter Weir’s Gallipoli and the stories of Simpson are undoubtedly recognisable. They and many other well-versed stories have stood the test of time and have been drawn on in the classroom for decades.
But now, nearly 100 years on from the Great War, the nation and our classrooms are very different places. A narrow focus on a few key stories of the Anzac tradition don’t tell the whole story.
It’s time to recover some of the harder stories of the First World War and redress an imbalance of remembrance. It is time we expand the ambit of commemoration and adapt the way we tell the history of the Great War to old and new audiences.
A hundred stories
This is the ambition of the One Hundred Stories project at Monash University. The project involves providing classroom resources, including a DVD and teaching kit, that are designed for Australian schools.
These tell one story for each year of the approaching Anzac centenary, showing a whole range of perspectives and experiences of the war.