2019 Australian Summer Scholars Presentations

  • Exhibition time
  • Exhibition location
    Located on the Lower Level

2019 Australian Summer Scholars Presentations
Thursday 14 February, 10 am – 12 pm
BAE Systems Theatre

This year the three presenters will be Hannah Viney (Monash University) on the Royal Australian Navy in the Mediterranean in 1941; Daniel Seaton (University of Sydney) on the Syrian Campaign of 1941; and Alexandra McKinnon (Australian National University) on Australian impressions of the British Empire in the period 1899–1919. For full abstracts and author details, please see below.

Now in its 34th year, the Summer Scholars scheme annually hosts three outstanding students in their third or fourth year of an undergraduate course, or who are undertaking early-stage postgraduate studies.

Since 1985 the Military History Section of the Australian War Memorial has hosted 98 young historians under the scheme, providing them with practical experience of working in a major historical institution. Many former scholars have gone on to pursue successful careers in academia, education, museums, or other public institutions.


Abstracts and brief biographies:

“‘It was an Aussie ship which had escorted them home’: the Royal Australian Navy in the evacuation of Greece, April 1941”

Hannah Viney (Monash University)

This presentation considers the role and contributions of the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) ships and companies in the evacuation of Greece from 24 to 29 April 1941. As part of “Operation Demon”, six RAN ships helped to evacuate nearly 60,000 Allied troops from Greece to Crete and Alexandria.

Hannah completed her honours thesis in 2017 on how the Cold War was represented in the Australian Women’s Weekly during the 1950s. She is currently undertaking her PhD at Monash University on women’s activism in the twentieth century, focusing on the Australian women involved in the anti-nuclear campaign from 1945 to 1991. 


“Fighting against the French: Australians in the Allied Invasion of Syria, 1941”

Daniel Seaton (University of Sydney)

The Syrian campaign of 1941 is one of Australia’s least well-known and understood engagements of the Second World War. This presentation examines the Australian experience in this complex campaign, and offers some possible reasons for it being overshadowed in popular memory.

Daniel completed his undergraduate degree in history at University College London, gaining First Class Honours and writing his thesis on Australian Second World War cameraman Damien Parer. He then moved on to King’s College London, where he was awarded a Distinction for his Masters in World History, producing his thesis on Charles Bean’s Villers-Bretonneux writings. He will begin his PhD at the University of Sydney in March, where his research will focus on war correspondents from 1915 to 1945.


“Impressions of Empire: autograph books as a historical record, 1899 to 1919”

Alexandra McKinnon (Australian National University)

This presentation explores Australian attitudes towards the British Empire during the Boer War and the First World War through the medium of autograph books owned by Australian nurses. Inscriptions in these autograph books demonstrate a continuity of attitudes between 1899 and 1919. The presentation will also present an argument for the use of autograph books as a historical source.

Alexandra is currently completing a Masters of Philosophy at the Australian National University. Her thesis explores memory, commemoration, and loss in the interwar period, focusing on the involvement of families in the collection of records at the Australian War Memorial. Alexandra completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) at the University of Toronto in History and Material Culture. She was a 2017 recipient of the Canadian Battlefields Foundation Study Tour, and has previously worked at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in northern France.