Miss Nicole Townsend

PhD Candidate
School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Nicole is a PhD candidate in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Her doctoral research examines Australian involvement in the Mediterranean and Middle East Theatre of Operations during the Second World War, with the aim of re-evaluating the prevailing assumption that the war in the Mediterranean was a sideshow that both detracted from the war in Europe and the Pacific and contributed little to the defeat of Nazi Germany.

She recently graduated from Monash University, where she completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) specialising in Archaeology/Ancient History, and History. Her Honours thesis, entitled 'Identity at War: Race, identity and belonging within the Italian-Australian community during the Second World War, examined the ways in which the Italian-Australian community defined their identity and sense of belonging in light of their enemy status, as well as how the Australian government and public reacted to the apparent 'enemy in their midst'. This study included an examination of Italian-Australians who enlisted in the Australian Military Forces during the Second World War.

Nicole has worked across a variety of cultural institutions in Australia, including the Italian Historical Society in Melbourne, Monash University, the National Archives of Australia, and the Australian War Memorial, where she was awarded a position as Summer Scholar under the Memorial's Summer Vacation Scholarship Scheme. Nicole’s broader research interests include the Second World War, Australian-French foreign relations, Irish military history, conflict archaeology, and the protection of cultural heritage sites in war zones.