The University of Newcastle, Australia

Anzac Commemoration Fellowship project highlighted

Monday, 22 September 2014

Professor Victoria Haskins' work on women in the First World War highlighted in an essay series for the ABC.

Victoria Haskins
Victoria Haskins

In 2013, Professor Haskins was awarded the NSW Centenary of Anzac Commemoration (2014 – 2018) History Fellowship for her project, ANZAC: Her Story. This fellowship was established to commemorate the centenary of World War I and its significance to the people of NSW.

Professor Haskins is a highly experienced and respected historian with a strong national and international profile for her work researching the relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women in Australia.

"There is a need for more published work on the experiences of women in World War I," said Professor Haskins. "ANZAC: Her Story will include a selection of personal stories, offering new insight into the profound impact of World War I on the women of NSW – including women at war as well as those who stayed at home."

Now, her research into this topic is being highlighted in an essay series for the ABC on women in the First World War.

Professor Haskins' first essay for the series, World War 1: Teenage girl Maud Butler cut hair, dressed as soldier and stowed away on troopship, tells the story of a teenage girl from the Hunter Valley coalfields so desperate to be part of Australia's war effort that in 1915 she climbed aboard a troopship waiting at Woolloomooloo docks in Sydney at night disguised as a soldier.

A public talk on the topic by Professor Haskins at the Queensland State Library was recently broadcast on ABC's Radio National: Rethinking the 20th century through an anti-war lens.

"Her [Maud Butler's] story is a very subversive story, so in some ways it contests the romanticisation we have of war in Australia," Professor Haskins told Radio National's Kate Evans. "She undermined the mythology at the very time it was being formed and she did so in a way where she was very innocently saying, 'I just want to be part of this myth'."

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