Media release

Looking beyond the Anzac myth

A groundbreaking investigation into the neglected Battle of Bardia in World War II has attracted the support of the National Archives of Australia, through its $10,000 Margaret George Award.

Director-General Ross Gibbs today announced that Dr Craig Stockings, a lecturer from the University of New South Wales with the Australian Defence Force Academy, was the recipient of the 2007 Margaret George Award.

‘Using records in the National Archives collection, along with other resources, Dr Stockings plans to provide a balanced, analytical account of the battle, which was the first engagement of the 2nd AIF,’ said Mr Gibbs. ‘His project will do what no equivalent study has done – consider the battle from Australian, British and Italian perspectives.’

‘Dr Stockings’ research will provide a battle history that has a double benefit for Australians. On one hand he will conduct an investigation into the important but largely neglected Battle of Bardia on the Libyan coast. On top of that he also plans to look beyond Anzac mythology to uncover why the Australian troops were so successful. He will be seeking the real factors behind Allied victory and Italian defeat beyond popular and romantic misconceptions.’

The National Archives collection is a rich source of World War II information, much of which has never been examined by historians. Among the records that Dr Stockings will use in his research are general and secret correspondence files, service and casualty forms, Army personnel files, naval historical files, film negatives and war correspondent files.

The National Archives Margaret George Award was established to encourage the use of the Archives’ extensive collection of files, photos, films and other records dating from Federation in 1901.

At the conclusion of his research next year Dr Stockings will give a public lecture on his findings at the National Archives in Canberra.

Contact information

Media contact: Elizabeth Masters (02) 6212 3957; 0427 853 664; Marg Wade (02) 6212 6245

Date of release: 8 November 2007

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019