Peter Burness AM biography

Peter Burness AM

Peter Burness AM recently retired from his role as a senior historian at the Australian War Memorial where he worked from 1973. Formerly Head of the Military Heraldry and Technology Section and a senior curator in the Exhibitions Section, he has been involved in the development of numerous permanent, temporary and travelling exhibitions. He has a special interest in the First World War and for almost 20 years led the Memorial’s annual battlefield tours to the Western Front.

Peter has published numerous articles on Australians in the Great War, the colonial period, and other conflicts, as well as entries for The Oxford Companion to Australian History, The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History, and more than 20 entries to the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

He wrote four of the volumes of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs series, Australians on the Western Front, and he regularly contributes articles to the Memorial’s military history magazine Wartime. His book, The Nek: A Gallipoli Tragedy, first published in 1996, was republished in 2012. His most recent work is a comprehensive volume based on the Western Front diaries of First World War official correspondent, official historian and founder of the Australian War Memorial, Charles Bean (launched at the Memorial in October 2018).

Peter was made a fellow of the Australian War Memorial in August 2015 and he was appointed a member of the Order of Australia in the Queen's Birthday 2017 Honours List for his “significant service to the preservation of military history as a researcher, curator, author and guide”.