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Hard Fought

Dr Kilsby was the conference convenor for this important national conference – Military History & Heritage Victoria Inc. 4th Biennial Two-Day Conference – Hard Fought: Australia in the Mediterranean Theatre 1940-1945. The conference was held over 9-10 April 2022, at the Waverley RSL, Melbourne. The keynote speaker was Australia’s foremost defence historian, Emeritus Professor David Horner AM, Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, ANU.

This conference examined the contribution of Australia’s Army, Navy and Air Force to Allied operations and campaigns in the Mediterranean Theatre over 1940-1945. From Libya, Greece, Crete, Syria-Lebanon, Egypt, and Malta, in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, southern France and the Balkans, Australians in units or as individuals were active in the theatre.

What were the strategic imperatives about the Mediterranean Theatre and why was Australia there? How did Australia support Allied strategy in the Mediterranean Theatre and what were the consequences for Australia after Japan attacked in the Pacific? What was the Axis opposition and how did the Australians measure up against the Italians, Germans and Vichy French? What was the experience of Australia Air Force, Navy and Army, nationally or as part of Allied forces? What were the Australian contributions to Allied victories, and how did they deal with their defeats? What was the experience of the Australians captured by the Axis? How did the medical services cope? Who were the leaders and battle commanders and how did they perform? What were the stories of courage in ground, sea and air battles? How have we remembered those who fell?

See the conference programme here – Hard-Fought-Australia-in-the-Mediterranean-Theatre-1940-1945-220406.pdf (