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Australian universities and the commemoration of the First World War

Kate Darian-Smith (School of Historical and Philosophical Studies/Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, University of Melbourne , Melbourne, Australia)
James Waghorne (Centre for the Study of Higher Education, University of Melbourne , Melbourne, Australia)

History of Education Review

ISSN: 0819-8691

Article publication date: 3 October 2016




The purpose of this paper is to examine how Australian universities commemorated the First World War, with a focus on the University of Melbourne as an institution with a particularly rich history of wartime participation and of diverse forms of memorialisation.


A case study approach is taken, with an overview of the range of war memorials at the University of Melbourne. These include memorials which acknowledged the wartime role of individuals or groups associated with the University, and took the form of architectural features, and named scholarships or academic positions. Three cross-campus war memorials are examined in depth.


This paper demonstrates that there was a range of war memorials at Australian universities, indicating the range of views about the First World War, and its legacies, within university communities of students, graduates and staff.


University war commemoration in Australia has not been well documented. This study examines the way in which the particular character of the community at the University of Melbourne was to influence the forms of First World War commemoration.



Darian-Smith, K. and Waghorne, J. (2016), "Australian universities and the commemoration of the First World War", History of Education Review, Vol. 45 No. 2, pp. 239-255.



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