ATS2385 - Australians at war - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit


Chief examiner(s)

Professor Alistair Thomson


Ms Rebecca Wheatley

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2019 (On-campus)


Twelve credit points of first-year Arts units.




The unit has a domestic field tripdomestic field trip ( component and may incur an additional cost.


How has war shaped Australians and Australian society and why has war become central to national mythology and identity? This unit explores the experience of Australians at war - both overseas and on the home front - from confrontations between indigenous Australians and European settlers on the colonial frontier through the major conflicts of the twentieth century, with a particular focus on the two World Wars. We examine the 'face of battle' and how war affected men and women on the front line (including indigenous servicemen), and we consider how war was experienced on the home front and reshaped Australian society. We explore the contested creation of an 'Anzac legend' and how war challenged and consolidated social relations and national identities. Students will undertake hands-on research using the rich primary source record of Australians at war, including service records, diaries and letters, oral histories, photographs and repatriation files that illuminate the impact of war on veterans, their families, and their communities.


Upon successful completion of this unit students will:

  1. demonstrate a critical understanding of the history of Australia's involvement in war and the significance of that involvement, and have interrogated the mythologies that have grown up around Anzac;
  2. exhibit an in-depth understanding of the lived experience of war and an ability to interrogate personal testimonies.
  3. show an awareness of the historical and social context of Australia's involvement in particular campaigns and how these have redefined Australia's relationship with the region and the world;
  4. have built the capacity to research and critically evaluate topical and historiographical debates regarding the impact of war on Australian identity and society.
  5. have developed skills in constructing evidence-based arguments using a variety of primary and secondary sources, and demonstrated their ability to reflect critically on what they have learnt.
  6. have developed skills in written and oral presentation and communication.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study