Annual Report 1999
Report from the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, London
The 1998-99 academic year was a momentous one for the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies in London. The undoubted highlight was the announcement in the Federal Budget in May 1999 of a government endowment grant to the Menzies Centre of $A5 million. This grant was contingent upon the Centre's becoming immediately self-sustaining, a circumstance made possible by the Centre's moving to King's College London from 1 August 1999. This move provides much-needed research and teaching income and also enables the Centre to share some of its teaching space with the new Monash University Centre in Europe, itself to be based at King's. The new financial arrangements mean that the Menzies Centre will serve the Australian, British and other European universities and the wider public better than ever before.
Professor Carl Bridge, Head of Centre, and Dr Susan Pfisterer, a cultural historian and playwright from Southern Cross University who came as Centre Lecturer in September 1998, both remain in post. Ms Meg Mitchell (of the Department of Family and Community Services) was Public Service Fellow from April 1998 to July 1999. In addition, Dr Craig Wilcox, formerly of the Australian War Memorial, was Rydon Fellow and Australian Bicentennial Fellow at the Centre from October to April, working on a history of the Australians in the Boer War.
Ms Edel Mahony completed her PhD on "A Place in England called Australia: British Perceptions of Australia between the wars", and two new M Phil/PhD students began work: Mr Richard Whittington on "The Politicisation of Australian Archaeology" and Mr Glenn Calderwood on "The Catholic Church in Australia and Quebec during the Great War."
The 1999 Trevor Reese Memorial Lecture was given by Dr Penny Russell (Sydney University) on "Displaced Loyalties: Vice-regal Women in Colonial Australia". Arrangements for the Menzies Memorial Lecture are still being made.
Conferences held included:
* 'Australia's and New Zealand's Roles in Future Conflicts' (at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, sponsored by British Aerospace Australia)
* 'The Federal Election'
* 'Sydney 2000, Britain Nil?: Australian and British Sporting Traditions into the 21st Century' (with De Montfort University)
* 'Australia and Britain: Comparing Two Democracies in Total War' (with the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst)
* 'Recording the South African War' (with the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, London)
* 'Australian Cultural Gatekeepers and Les Murray' (both with the British Australian Studies Association)
* 'Securing the Future: New Partnerships in Social Welfare' (with the Department of Family and Community Services), and
* 'Sir Joseph Banks and Australian Science, the 1999 Lincoln Dialogue'.
There was a lively weekly seminar, and Literary Links at Australia House included readings by Bernard Cohen, Tom Keneally and Angus Strachan. Two "Australia Updates" business briefings were held. Two Menzies Centre History Studentships were awarded, and, as usual, some fifteen scholars and fellows were appointed under the Australian Bicentennial, Northcote, and Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts schemes.
Distinguished visitors to the Centre included Senator David Kemp (Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs), Senator Jocelyn Newman (Minister for Family and Community Services), Senators Bob McMullen, Margaret Reynolds, and Chris Schacht, retired US Ambassador Richard W. Teare, and Mr Gadgil Djerrkura, Chair of ATSIC.
Menzies Foundation's Executive Director, Professor John Coghlan, met with Professor Carl Bridge during his visit to London in June 1999.