Historian sought for vital role
THE compilation of the official histories of Australian operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and the peacekeeping operations in East Timor took a significant step forward last week with the Australian War Memorial calling for expressions of interest from qualified historians to oversee the project.
Veterans’ Affairs Minister Michael Ronaldson said the recent federal Budget included funding of $ 12.8 million to enable the Australian War Memorial to complete the initiative.
“It is important that our nation recognises and authoritatively records the role of our Defence Forces in these operations,” Mr Ronaldson said.
“The project will cover the aftermath of these operations on the countries involved and those who served.
“It will also focus on the role of the Aus-
Lydia Kellner tralian Federal Police, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, AusAID and other relevant agencies.
“We expect that the research, compilation and drafting of the Official Histories will take six years and will be undertaken by the AWM.
“The official historian we seek to engage will be responsible for overseeing the production of the official history to a standard befitting the service of the men and women whose service it records.
“When complete, the official histories will provide all Australians – including scholars, Australian Defence Force personnel and policymakers – with a comprehensive account based on authoritative government and defence sources,” Mr Ronaldson said.
Australian War Memorial director Brendan Nelson welcomed the com- mencement of the recruitment process, which will ultimately include a team of authors and researchers to support the official historian.
“The official historian is the first and vitally important appointment for this major history series,” Dr Nelson said.
“The story of Australian military involvement in these operations is yet to be told and recorded authoritatively. There is a strong and reasonable public expectation this process should now begin.”
The AWM will conduct the independent expression of interest process and make a recommendation to the Australian Government on an appointment for the position.
It is expected that the official historian will commence the project by the end of 2015. Further information can be found on the awm. gov. au/ employment.