Bruce Scates

Bruce Scates is a prize-winning teacher, novelist and historian. His many publications include Return to Gallipoli, A New Australia, the Cambridge History of the Shrine of Remembrance and the recently republished Women and the Great War (co authored with Raelene Frances). The last of these won the coveted NSW Premier’s History Award. Professor Scates is the lead author of Anzac Journeys (also published by Cambridge University Press and short listed in the Ernst Scott Prize for 2014) and was chosen from a field of distinguished international scholars to write the entry on Memorials for the Cambridge History of the First World War. Believing history should appeal to the emotions and the imagination, he has also written a novel, On Dangerous Ground, retracing CEW Bean’s steps across the battlefields. Described by Tom Keneally as ‘eloquent’, ‘complex’ and ‘engrossing’, it has been listed on Australia’s first national curriculum for literature, set on university courses in Germany, Turkey and Australia, and awarded special commendation in the Christina Stead Awards.
Professor Scates is the lead chief investigator on Australian Research Council funded projects on soldier settlement, World War II pilgrimage and heads an international team exploring the history of Anzac Day. These projects involve highly successful partnerships with the Department of Veterans Affairs and a host of other government agencies and cultural institutions in Australia and overseas. He has also been awarded a NSW History Fellowship and a number of smaller grants from DVA, the Army History Unit and the Australian War Memorial.
Committed to communicating history to the widest possible audience, he played a leading role in the production of the recent ABC mini series ‘The War that Changed Us’. This four part doco-drama has met with popular acclaim and been described as ‘fresh and brilliant’ by reviewers. Bruce Scates was also featured in an ABC Compass program exploring pilgrimages to the cemeteries of the Great War. These battlefield journeys are one of his areas of research expertise, work that has been distinguished by accessible prose and engaging narrative as well as academic rigour.
Bruce Scates leads University study tours to Belgium and France and for six years in a row he has been selected by Liberal and Labor premiers as the historian/guide for the Victorian Premier’s Spirit of Anzac Tour. He interprets these sites for a wide and diverse audience, from senior government ministers to schoolchildren, veterans and the wider community. In 2007, he was part of a historical panel advising Hewitt Pender Associates on the redevelopment of the Villers-Bretonneaux memorial. He has also served on a host of high-level state and national committees advising government on the history of commemoration and military heritage. His appointments include Chair of the Military History and Heritage Committee, Anzac Centenary Advisory Board (2011-2013); historian advising the National Committee investigating the Missing of Fromelles (2004-5) and executive membership of the History Council of NSW (1998-2006). He is a member of the Army History Unit (2008-) and chairs the judging panel of the CEW Bean prize awarded by Chief of Army for the best thesis exploring Australia’s military history. Since 2009 Professor Scates has served on the Research Council, Historial de la Grande Guerre, France and in 2013 was part of an expert panel planning the Anzac Interpretive Centre in Albany. He is also a member of the National Archives Advisory Council, serves on the Archives Anzac Centenary Sub committee and has led the effort to digitise repatriation records for wider public access. Professor Scates has also been an advisor to major exhibitons fielded by the National Museum of Australia and the Shrine of Remembrance in Victoria.
Bruce Scates is a frequent contributor to writer’s festivals, history events and diverse public fora. In 2005, he delivered the Tenth Annual History Lecture at Government House, Sydney, marking the 90th anniversary of the Gallipoli Landing; in 2008 he delivered the Sir Keith Sinclair address at the University of Auckland on Australia’s and New Zealand’s shared experience of war; he has also delivered the Alan Martin and Russel Ward lectures on forgotten aspects of Australia’s military past. Many of these addresses have been broadcast and Bruce Scates’ interviews have been podcast by the ABC (Hindsight, Margaret Crosby), the BBC, and the Guardian.
Bruce Scates is currently Professor of History and Australian Studies, and Director of the National Centre for Australian Studies at Monash University. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia.
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