Military History Seminar 27 November 2018
On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, the guns fell silent on the Western Front. After 1,567 days of continuous warfare, the Armistice brought to an end the bloodiest conflict the world had then known, or did it?
Australia had suffered grievously in the Great War. More than 60,000 Australian soldiers had been killed and more than half of the 270,000 soldiers who returned home had suffered some sort of wound.
Scarcely an Australian family was left untouched by the war; the survivors needed both physical and mental care as did the widows and orphans, all generating the need to implement a massive repatriation scheme.
The shortage of eligible husbands and unemployment interacted with changed social attitudes and continuing social divisions that served to offset the increased confidence about our national undertakings.
What followed the Armistice was not the peace that veterans and the Australian public had been hoping for. Dynasties that had lasted for centuries fell, empires crumbled, revolutions erupted, and famine and sickness broke out.
Importantly, Australians were involved for more years in operations in Russia and also for a time in that part of the Great War that had little world attention – the post war operations in the Middle East.
The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI NSW), in conjunction with the Anzac Memorial, marked the centenary of the Armistice that ended the Great War with a half-day seminar exploring the aftermath of the Great War and some of its impacts on Australia.
What follows are links to view each of the four presentations by members of our Military History group. Each one a noted historian. The presentations give a very special Australian perspective on what happened when the guns fell silent.
Australia and Trump's USA Lecture
The February 2018 Lunchtime lecture was titled "Australia and Trump's USA" and was delivered by Professor James Curran.
Battle of the Coral Sea Lecture
The June 2017 Lunchtime Lecture commemorated the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea, one of the conflicts that saved Australia in World War 2. The presentation was given by Lieutenant Colonel Peter Sweeney RFD Ret'd whose father served on HMAS Hobart.
Saturday 16 April 2016 Anniversary of the Battle of Crete and The Greek Campaign
Wednesday 27 January 2016 Neil James Australian Defence Association and RUSIA spoke on "Constraints on the formulation of Australian Defence policy"
Friday 18 December 2015 Presentation by Brigadier Philip Bridie AM
The December 2015 Lunchtime Lecture was a presentation by Brigadier Philip Bridie AM covering his time in Afghanistan in 2014.
Tuesday 13 October 2015 visit to historical aircraft restoration society (HARS) Albion Park Rail Regional Airport
Our guide was RUSI member Lieutenant Colonel Michael Hough AM RFD ED (Ret'd)
HARS houses one of the largest collections of flying and static historic aircraft in Australia, and its role is the preservation of Australian aviation history. HARS Recently Acquired The EX QANTAS 747-400 VH-OJA "CITY OF CANBERRA" Which Is Now Open For Guided Tour only Inspection.
Tuesday 29 September 2015 Centenary Commission of Inquiry into the Gallipoli August Offensive of 1915
Friday 24 July 2015 at 2.30 pm - 2 Div Centenary Parade
Photo: John Palmer
25 April 2015 - Centenary of the ANZAC Landings
Many RUSI members made the pilgrimage to Gallipoli to commemorate the centenary of that first ANZAC Day.
Australian Government restrictions meant many with long Australian Defence Force service and with relatives who had died on the peninsula could not be present at the official services at ANZAC Cove or Lone Pine.
Instead they gathered at Gallipoli Village before dawn where they heard the Institute's Vice President Major General Paul Irving give the keynote speech, and experienced a landing re-enactment by the Australian Surf Rowers' League.
Saturday 16 May 2015, 74th Anniversary of the Battle of Crete and the Greek Campaign commemoration
The Cenotaph, Martin Place on 13:00 - 16:00.
Wednesday 27 May 2015, 3rd International Defence and Security Dialogue
Parliament House, Macquarie Street, Sydney
Sunday 31 May 2015, Boer War Day
Our annual Sydney service was held at 1100 at the ANZAC Memorial, Hyde Park South. Sydney. Our theme this year is Fathers of the Anzacs.
August/September 2014 - ANMEF Tour and Seminar
At the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (ANMEF)was one of the allied forces raised to seize and occupy German colonial possessions in the Pacific. Supported by the Australian Fleet, it began occupying German possessions, especially wireless stations, in New Guinea, Nauru, the Solomon Islands and nearby islands beginning in September 1914.
August-September 2014 is the centenary of the raising the ANMEF and its seizure of Rabaul. To mark the centenary, the Institute promoted a tour and held a seminar with a view to enhancing public awareness and understanding of this important event in Australia's military history and the circumstances surrounding it.
The tour was guided by institute member, John Hitchen. A report on the tour can be found by: CLICKING HERE.
A panel of seven historians; all but one members of the RUSI of NSW explained the strategic, political and social background to the campaign; the operations of the Australian, German and Japanese navies in the Pacific in 1914;the raising of the ANMEF and its operations in German New Guinea; the contemporary operations of the New Zealand expeditionary force in German Samoa; and the aftermath of the campaign.
An initial report on the event is available CLICK HERE
Saturday 30 August 2014 ANZAC Centenary Parade Parramatta
There was a Parade in Parramatta to comemorate the formation of the 1st Light Horse in 1914, it was unique and, by bringing a significant part of Australia’s military history to the people, it told the story of Australian mateship, self-sacrifice and volunteering in a way that had very high impact.
Well and what a parade. All of the Lancers' Museum vehicles performed flawlessly as did the Regiment on its new steeds. The Lancers' Museum will be continually in the debit of His Excellency and Lady Cosgrove for lending their presence to the event.
The attendance in the rain was quite amazing, and it is the first time we have had a queue across the full width of the Lancer Barracks parade ground to enter the Museum.
A great effort by the Lancers' Museum, the 1st/15th Royal New South Wales Lancers and the Parramatta community including all local politicians at all levels of government and political persuasion. One person needs special mention, the Lancers' Museum’s Publicity Officer, Captain Ian Hawthorn Retd without whose initiative and drive the function would not have happened.
The selection of photos below give an idea of what it was like to be at the parade. The video gives ABC TV coverage of the event.
Saturday 9, Sunday 10 August 2014 HMAS Canberra Commemoration
Commemoration of 72 years since the sinking of HMAS Canberra in the Solomon Islands.
For the first time in some years the official Australian commemoration took place on land, at the recently spruced-up memorual erected by the Australian soldiers on operation Anode, the peace keeping mission to the Solomon Islands.
It was complemented by a short solemn ceremony conducted by Australian tourists on a Military History Tours Australia tour at sea over the site where the Canberra lies 800 metres below.
Tuesday 24 June 2014 Lunchtime Lecture
Saturday, 17 May 2014 - 1400 to 1500, Cenotaph, Martin Place, Sydney
There was a very successful wreath laying service for the 73rd Anniversary for the Commemoration of the Anzac Battle of Crete and the Greek Campaign at the Cenotaph on Saturday. It was attended by over 500 people with 55 wreaths laid by Surviving campaign veterans, veterans' families, representatives from Federal, State Governments and Local Governments, The Australian Armed Forces , the Greek Government, the Government of Cyprus , Military organisations, Schools and Greek Australian community groups . The guest of honour was Antipterarchos (Air Marshal) Georgios Petkos deputy chief of staff of the Hellenic Armed Forces .
At the Paddington RSL Air Marshal Petkos gave a speech which acknowledged the contribution of Anzacs in Crete and in particular mentioned Captain Reginald Saunders, Australia’s first commissioned Aboriginal Officer . Pastor Ray Minniecon from Babana Aboriginal Men's Group Redfern responded in an emotional address stating that Air Marshal Petkos’ acknowledgement of an Indigenous Australian soldier was the first by a foreign country and he thanked him for that .
20 November 2013, CHRISTMAS LUNCHEON
7-9 October 2013 The PACIFIC 2013 Exhibition at Darling Harbour was a fantastic major showcase of all things maritime and RUSI-NSW will have a booth in the main display area to help attract potential new Members. Current Members
were welcome to drop by for a chat and to examine the interesting items in the RUSI display, including some of our very historic "e;trench maps"e; from the First World War.
5 October 2013 International Fleet Review. A Ceremonial Fleet Review by Her Excellency the Governor General of Australia and Prince Harry was held in Sydney Harbour on 5 October to celebrate the centenary of the entry of the first RAN fleet into Sydney Harbour on 4 October 1913. Some 40 foreign warships and 17 tall ships joined 20 RAN fleet units in the review. There was also be a flypast of military aircraft. Overall a spectacular event. The RUSI secured a harbour lunch cruise that enjoyed a prime close-up view of all activities.
24 September 2013 - SUDDEN DEATH OF ERIC RALPHS. The President and Council of the Royal United Services Institute of NSW
were saddened to have to record the sudden death of our former Secretary, Lieutenant Colonel EH (Eric) Ralphs, RFD, ED (Ret'd). Eric had been holidaying with his daughter in the USA. Past President of RUSI-NSW, Doug Roser, has noted his own, "wonderful friendship with Eric, based on so many joint interests," and these sentiments are shared by many others. Eric had only recently stood down from the position of RUSI-NSW Secretary at the Institute’s 2013 Annual General Meeting. His many years of dedication to our Institute were acknowledged at that meeting through a heartfelt ‘Vote of Thanks’ from the assembled Members.
Wednesday 25 September 2013 Report into Fatal Afghan "Green on Blue" Attack Released CLICK HERE for details.
Wednesday 4 September 2013
Battle for Australia Commemoration.
Tuesday 20 August 2013 Wreath Laying Ceremony at the grave of the Institute’s founder
A Wreath Laying Ceremony was conducted at the grave of the Institute’s founder
>Major General J. S. Richardson, CB Commandant of the New South Wales Military Forces 1865 – 1892
>President of the United Service Institution of New South Wales 1888 – 1891
At 11:30 h on allotments 695 and 696 Section 6 of Waverley Cemetery.
Use the controls above to view a short slide show of the ceremony.
Friday 16 August 2013, 125th Anniversary dinner
Celebrating the foundation of our Institute in 1888.
7 - 9 August 2013 Guadalcanal Anniversary
71st Anniversary of the Guadalcanal landings and sinking of HMAS Canberra Commemorations
The photos above, left to right, top to bottom show: Dennis Wetherall on behalf of the HMAS Canberra Association lays a wreath at the HMAS Canberra Memorial Guadalcanal Island; Savo Island Ironbottom Sound near where the Canberra sank; Wreck of Japanese Destroyer Kikuzuki Gatuvu Island Island; US Colour Party Guadalcanal Commmemoration; Wreaths at US Guadalcanal Commmemoration; USS Pearl Harbour at Honiara - US Guadalcanal Commmemoration 2013; Village display of relics - Guadalcanal; Japanese Memorial, Mt Austin, Guadalcanal; RAMSI Memorial Honiara.
2nd International Defence and Security Dialogue February 2013
The Photos below are of the 2nd International Defence and Security Dialogue February 2013. Mouse-over thumbnail for caption and Click on the thumbnail to see the image full size). CLICK HERE for more details on the Dialogue including ability to download transcripts of the proceedings.
Miscellaneous News Items
Grant Awarded - Thursday 8 November 2012
The RUSI of NSW has been awarded a federal Community Heritage Grant to fund a Significance Assessment of the Library Collection. CLICK HERE for more detail.
Miscellaneous News Items
Annual Anniversary Dinner 2011
Mr Craig Laffin Awarded Life Membership May 2010
At a luncheon the Officers’ Mess at Victoria Barracks on 26 May 2010 Mr Craig Laffin, a member of the Royal United Services Institute of New South Wales was appointed an Honorary Life member in recognition of his most generous donation of some 4,000 books from his late father’s (Mr John Laffin) library.
Scholars and enthusiasts of military history will be aware of the enormous contribution John Laffin made to the study of military history, particularly Australian military history.
John Laffin was a prolific author. He wrote some 130 books; many of them about military history; but on many other subjects as well. He also produced a significant number of other articles and monographs.
John returned to Australia in the mid 1990s having lived abroad for more nearly 40 years, and set about creating lasting memorials of a unique kind for the Australian Imperial Force (AIF). Foremost among them was his founding of a special association, Family and Friends of the First AIF, to commemorate the service and sacrifice of the men who served in the First AIF. The organisation has with over 800 members that awards scholarships and travel grants, and conducts public events to commemorate the AIF. John Laffin is its Founder and Patron-in-Memoriam.
Visit Garden Island May 2010
Visit Holsworthy 2009
Visit HMAS Kanimbla 2009
Visit to HMAS Penguin 2009
Annual Anniversary Dinner 2009
May 2009 Councillors’ Luncheon
Visit to HMAS Stuart October 2008
Click on the thumbnail image below to view a slide-show if the RUSI of NSW members visiting HMAS Stuart at Garden Island, Sydney on 29 October 2008.
Royal United Services of Australia Forum 2008
Use the button below to download The Proceedings of a RUSI of Australia Forum Held in Canberra, 17 September 2008 and submitted as the Second of two RUSI of Australia Contributions to the 2008 Defence White Paper Community Consultation Process.
Please note that the document is a 441 kb .pdf file, and has been hyperlinked to facilitate browsing. If you do not have a .pdf reader, please visit www.adobe.com, downloading the reader is free.
Annual Anniversary Dinner 2008
Visit to RAAF Richmond October 2007
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