2 NOON – 1:30PM, Navy Room, Adams Auditorium, UNSW Canberra at ADFA

Conceptualising and Constructing a Group Biography of Australia’s Second World War Correspondents

This paper discusses the nature and challenges of biographical writing, explaining in the process of this discussion how I am constructing a ‘group biography’ of Australia’s Second World War correspondents. I argue that these war correspondents participated in a well-defined network which was historically significant in Australia. As such, they need to be considered not as a series of separate individuals, but rather as a dynamic group which influenced, and was influenced by, the contemporary setting. A group biography which both locates them within their historical context and characterises the profession as a whole is, I believe, a useful way to critically assess this historical significance. This paper first explains my views of what a good biographical study can and should do, before moving on to discuss how these views are informing the process of my research and writing.


Daniel Seaton is a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney. He holds a First Class Honours degree from University College London, a Master’s degree with High Distinction from King’s College London, and is a current holder of the Northcote Graduate Scholarship, which is administered by the Britain-Australia Society. He is also a previous recipient of the Australian War Memorial’s Summer Scholarship, which he undertook in January and February 2019. For his PhD thesis, Daniel is writing a group biography of Australia’s Second World War correspondents. His supervisors are Professors Mark McKenna and James Curran.



Complex Imperialism: the Western Australian labour movement press in Australia and the Great War

The labour movement press was a large and influential element of the Australian media during the First World War. Despite the ambivalent attitude of much of the labour movement press to the conflict, the labour movement itself was the backbone of the Australian Imperial Force – a significant fact given Australia had voluntary recruiting throughout the war. Amongst the labour press, the Westralian Worker was unique in that it provided unqualified support for the conflict until John Curtin was brought in as editor in 1916.Through an analysis of pre-Curtin war rhetoric in the newspaper, this talk provides insight into why the labour movement was such a strong supporter of the war.


Emily Robertson teaches strategic studies at SDSC ANU, and gained her PhD at UNSW Canberra in 2016. Her work investigates the relationship between ideology, propaganda and strategy during war.