Professor Peter Stanley

Professor of History
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
+61 2 626 88902 but email preferred
+61 2 626 88879


Building 29 Room 103


p>Prof. Peter Stanley, spent 33 years as a ‘public historian’ – working with the Australian War Memorial (where he was Principal Historian) and at the National Museum of Australia (inaugural head of its Research Centre) before commencing at UNSW Canberra in 2013 as Research Professor. As a public historian Peter worked across the range of responsibilities of museums; in exhibitions, publications, public programs and education as well as in research. Peter is Associate Head of School (External Engagement), with particular responsibility for the School's Visiting Fellows.


Peter has published more than 30 books, mainly in the field of Australian military-social history, though he has also published in British imperial military history (White Mutiny), battlefield research (A Stout Pair of Boots) medical history (For Fear of Pain) and bushfires (Black Saturday at Steels Creek). He has recently focused on the Great War, publishing since 2005 several books dealing with it, including Quinn’s Post, Anzac, Gallipoli, Men of Mont St Quentin, Digger Smith and Australia’s Great War, Lost Boys of Anzac and his most recent books, Die in Battle, Do not Despair, the Indians on Gallipoli, 1915 and his ‘Society’ chapters of Vol. IV of the Oxford Centenary History of Australia and the Great War (both published in 2015). Several recent books also deal with the Great War, including a book on Armenia, Australia and the Great War (co-written with Vick Babkenian) and the National Library’s The Crying Years: Australia's Great War. In 2018 the National Library published his edited collection, Victory on Gallipoli and other What-ifs in Australian History (National Library of Australia, 2018), and he edited a collection of essays in memory of our late colleague Prof. Jeff Grey; Jeff Grey: A Life in History (UNSW Canberra, 2018).

Peter's major current project is 'Terriers in India', a book - the very first - on the experience of the 50,000 British Territorial soldiers who served in India during the Great War. No one  has written on these men in a century. Peter has conducted extensive archival and fieldwork in Britain and India to reveal this episode in the history of the Raj. It will be published by Helion, UK, early in 2019. He is now jointly writing a book on the Falklands/Malvinas war of 1982 (with Prof. Rob McLaughlin of UNSW Canberra) for a Routledge series, and is also working on the first history of the Santal rebellion of 1855 to be published in over 75 years, to be published by Hurst & Co., London.

Peter's 2010 book Bad Characters: Sex, Crime, Murder, Mutiny and the Australian Imperial Force was jointly awarded the 2011 Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History. 

Peter is also supervising seven PhD or MA candidates at UNSW and ANU, and continues to examine and mentor candidates for higher degrees and other writers. He retains strong relationships with cultural institutions, recently advising the National Museum of Australia and Melbourne Museum on their Great War exhibitions, and is advising the new Soldiers Memorial Institute Museum, Bendigo, on its exhibitions. Peter works with the Academy Library’s Special Collections staff and is a member of the Academy’s Library Committee.

A recent project in the Centre was to co-convene (with Dr Michael Molkentin) the Summer School for Secondary History Teachers, the first of which will be held in January 2015. In 2016 Peter curated the exhibition mounted in the Academy Library Charles Bean: life and work, marking the centenary of Bean conceiving the idea of a national war memorial.

Peter is well known for his television and radio appearances. In 2005 he co-presented Revealing Gallipoli and has been seen in many documentaries including Monash the Forgotten Anzac, Who Do You Think You Are?, In Their Footsteps, Afterburn, Australia’s Secret Heroes, The War that Changed Us , Paddy's War, Changed Forever, 100 Days to Victory, and others broadcast over the centenary of the Great War.

Peter writes historical fiction as a hobby, with Simpson’s Donkey (a novel for children) appearing in 2011 and The Cunning Man, set in the 1845 Anglo-Sikh war in 2014, with more on the way. 

For his Engagement story please click


Stanley P, 2019, 'Terriers' in India British Territorials 1914-19, Helion & Co., Solihull,

Connor J; Stockings C, (ed.), 2017, The Shadow Men: The leaders who shaped the Australian Army from the Veldt to Vietnam, 1st, NewSouth Publishing, Sydney

Stanley P, 2017, The Crying Years: Australia's Great War, National Library of Australia, Canberra

Babkenian V; Stanley P, 2016, Armenia, Australia and the Great War

Stanley PETER; Connor J; Yule P, 2015, The War at Home: Volume IV, The Centenary History of Australia and the Great War Series, Oxford University Press, Melbourne

Stanley P, 2015, Die in Battle, Do not Despair: the Indians on Gallipoli, 1915, War and Military Culture in South Asia, 1757-1947, Helion & Company, Solihull (UK)

Stanley P, 2014, Lost Boys of Anzac, NewSouth, Sydney,

Stanley P, (ed.), 2014, Welch Calypso, Helion & Company, Solihull (UK)

Stanley P, 2013, Black Saturday at Steels Creek, first, Scribe Publications, Melbourne

Stanley P, 2011, Simpson's Donkey, Allen & Unwin

Stanley P; Stanley P, 2011, Digger Smith and Australia's Great War, Allen & Unwin

Stanley P, 2010, Bad Characters, Allen & Unwin

Stanley P, 2009, Men of Mont St Quentin, Scribe Publications

Stanley P, 2009, Commando to Colditz, Allen & Unwin

Stanley P, 2008, Invading Australia: Japan and the battle for Australia, 1942, Penguin Viking

Stanley P, 2005, Borneo 1942-1945: Australia in the Pacific War, First, Dept. of Veterans'Affairs, Canberra

Stanley P, 2005, Quinn`s Post, Anzac, Gallipoli, First, Allen and Unwin, St Leonards, NSW

Stanley P, 2004, Whyalla at War, Original, East Street Publications, Adelaide

Stanley P; Stanley P, 2003, For Fear of Pain: British Surgery 1790-1850, Editions Rodopi, Amsterdam

Stanley P, 2003, For Fear of Pain: British Surgery 1790-1850, Original, Rodopi Press, Amsterdam

Stanley P; Johnston M, 2002, Alamein: the Australian Story, Oxford University Press

Stanley P, 1998, White Mutiny British Military Culture in India, 1825-1875, C. HURST & CO. PUBLISHERS

Stanley P, 1997, Tarakan An Australian Tragedy, Allen & Unwin

Stanley PA, 1993, White Mutiny The Bengal Europeans, 1825-75, a Study in Military Social History

Stanley P; Stanley P, 1991, Rosemary & Wattle, Australian War Memorial

Stanley P; Stanley P; McKernan M, 1986, Anzac Day Seventy Years On, William Collins

Stanley P; Stanley P, 1986, The Remote Garrison: the British Army in Australia, Kangaroo Press, Dural

Stanley P; Stanley P, 1986, Air Battle Europe 1939-1945, Time-Life Australia

Stanley P; Stanley P, 1985, A Guide to the Australian War Memorial, John Ferguson

Stanley P, 1985, Bomber Command, Hodder & Stoughton

Stanley P, (ed.), 1985, But Little Glory: the NSW Contingent to the Sudan, 1885, Military Historical Society of Australia, Canberra

Stanley P; McKernan M, 1984, Australians at War 1885-1972, William Collins

Stanley P; Memorial AW, 1983, What did you do in the war, Daddy? a visual history of propaganda posters, Oxford Univ Pr

Book Chapters

Stanley P, 2018, '1985 The Bombs ; Almost the End of the World', in , National Library of Australia, pp. 193 - 199

Stanley P, 2018, '1941 The Balls of Bob Menzies', in , National Library of Australia, pp. 151 - 157

Stanley P, 2018, '1916 HMAS Australia Sunk at Jutland', in , National Library of Australia, pp. 89 - 95

Stanley P, 2018, '1915 Victory on Gallipoli', in , National Library of Australia, pp. 79 - 86

Stanley P, 2018, ''1914: the AIF Garrisons India'', in , National Library of Australia, pp. 69 - 75

Stanley P, 2018, ''Introduction'', in , National Library of Australia, pp. v - ix

Stanley P, 2018, ''Numerous debts'', in Stanley P (ed.), Jeff Grey: A Life in History, pp. 45 - 59

Stanley P, 2018, 'Temporary Sahibs: Terriers in India in 1917', in Abbenhuis M (ed.), The Myriad Legacies of 1917, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, pp. 151 - 168,

Stanley P, 2018, 'Terriers in India: a preliminary report', in The Indian Army in the First World War, Helion & Co., Solihul, UK, pp. 270 - 280

Stanley P, 2018, 'Marigolds and Poppies: Commemorating 'Indian' War Dead', in Commemorating Race and Empire in the First World War Centenary, pp. 39 - 49

Stanley P, 2017, 'An adequate memorial', in Charles Bean: man, Myth, Legacy, NewSouth, Sydney, pp. 135 - 144

Stanley P, 2017, 'introduction', in Charles Bean: Man, Myth, Legacy, NewSouth, Sydney, pp. 1 - 6

Stanley P, 2017, 'Between Acceptance and Refusal - Soldiers' Attitudes Towards War (Australia)', in 1914-18 Online, 1914-18 Online, Berlin,

Stanley P, 2017, ''Australian heroes: Some military mates are more equal than others'', in Stephens D; Broinowski A (ed.), The Honest History Book, NewSouth, Sydney, pp. 196 - 210

Stockings C; Connor J, 2017, ''The Enigma: General Sir Cyril Bingham Brudenell White'', in The Shadow Men: The leaders who shaped the Australian Army from the Veldt to Vietnam, NewSouth, Sydney, pp. 59 - 80

Stanley P; Nichols R, 2016, 'Naming the Day: ANZAC or Anzac?', in Anzac Day: Then and Now, NewSouth, Sydney, pp. 69 - 89

Stanley P, 2016, ''Diminishing city: Hope, Despair and Whyalla'', in Griffith Review, Griffith University, pp. 63 - 74

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