Dr Narrelle Morris

Ian Maclean Award 2011

Topic: A comprehensive guide to Commonwealth government records on Australia's war crimes investigations and trials of the Japanese, 1945–1951

Biographical note

Dr Narrelle Morris is a Research Fellow in the Asia Pacific Centre for Military Law, Melbourne Law School at The University of Melbourne. She is the principal legal researcher on the Australia Research Council-funded project Australia's Post-World War II War Crimes Trials of the Japanese: A Systematic and Comprehensive Law Reports Series, which is being conducted with the support of the Australian War Memorial and Legal Division of the Department of Defence. This project aims to provide a comprehensive and systematic examination and analysis of the Australian war crimes trials in the post-World War II period. During 1945–51, 807 accused B and C class (principally) Japanese war criminals were tried at Morotai, Wewak, Labuan, Rabaul, Darwin, Singapore, Hong Kong and Manus Island. 

Dr Morris completed her PhD in Japanese Studies at Murdoch University in 2007. She also holds a LLB degree from Murdoch University and previously worked at the Supreme Court of Western Australia. Her publications include Japan-bashing: Anti-Japanism since the 1980s, Routledge, London, 2010 and, together with Helen Durham, 'Women's Bodies and International Criminal Law – from Tokyo to Rabaul', in Yuki Tanaka, Tim McCormack and Gerry J Simpson (eds), Beyond Victors' Justice? The contemporary relevance of the Tokyo war crimes trial revisited, Martinus Nijhoff, Leiden, The Netherlands, 2011.


She will produce for publication a comprehensive guide, by subject, of key Commonwealth government records and selected other primary and secondary materials on the war crimes investigations and trials of accused war criminals arising from the Pacific theatre of World War II held by the National Archives of Australia and the Australian War Memorial. 

Topics include Sir William Webb's war crimes inquiries and reports; the War Crimes Act 1945 and its regulations; operations of the Australian Army's Directorate of Prisoners of War & Internees in Melbourne and the War Crimes sections; the war crimes investigation and correspondence files; the war crimes trials by location; the files on the accused; operations of the Rabaul and Manus Island War Criminal compounds; and the release and repatriation of convicted war criminals. The guide will assist researchers to investigate any prosecutions that were made in relation to certain accused, units or areas or types of offences, or to understand the changing government and military policies that led to certain crimes not being tried or why the trials themselves ceased in 1951.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019