Media release: Thursday, 6 November 2008
When Anzac veterans returned to Gallipoli in 1965, 50 years after their initial landing, they were met by four backpackers. In 1990, on the 75th anniversary, they were met by 10,000 people.
Historian Michael McKernan will discuss what had happened in the meantime to account for such a massive change in Australian attitudes, in his public lecture 'A Better Place?' at the National Archives on Sunday 9 November.
Marking the 90th anniversary of Armistice, the talk is in conjunction with a new exhibition at the National Archives, Shell-shocked: Australia after Armistice.
Dr McKernan will be talking about the enduring legacy of Armistice in Australia and the ambiguities in his title 'A Better Place?'.
'As a nation, the Australia that emerged from the war was less secure, less coherent and almost overwhelmed by grief,' said Dr McKernan.
'Those who had participated found it difficult to talk about their experiences at war. They and those close to them wanted to block out the memories and stop others finding out about what happened. Emotion was too raw, even in the 60s and 70s, for people to talk about the war on a personal level.
'But in the 70s, something changed and Australians began to broadly embrace the war personally.'
Anyone wishing to attend Dr McKernan's talk is asked to register at email@example.com or to phone (02) 6212 3956.