Captivity – and Liberation?

Prisoners of war overseas and at home

Host – Lindsay Murdoch

The Battle Within – POWs in Post-War Australia

Christina Twomey

15,000 Australian prisoners of war were repatriated after World War Two. Their return had profound impacts on their wives and families – and on the general community. Christina Twomey’s The Battle Within is a ‘compelling and important book, essential to understanding the poignant and complex aftermath of captivity of Australian prisoners of war’. In this presentation Christina will take us beyond the moment of liberation and return and will reveal how many POWs and their wives struggled with the aftermath.

The Sandakan Death Marches

Lynette Silver

The worst atrocity of the Pacific War happened in 1945, just as it was all ending. Almost all of the 2,434 Allied prisoners held at Sandakan, in Malaysian Borneo, died between January and August that year – 1400 from illness, starvation and brutal treatment at the main camp and the remainder on a series of forced marches into the interior. Six Australians, who managed to escape, were the sole survivors. Post war, the truth about the horrific fates of the POWs was suppressed. Lynette Silver will talk about writing the book that broke the Conspiracy of Silence.

Join the conversation with Christina and Lynette.

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Lindsay Murdoch

Lindsay Murdoch is a journalist; a former correspondent based in Singapore, Jakarta and Darwin. In 1999 he reported on the tumultuous events in East Timor and in 2003 he covered the Iraq war while embedded with the US Marines. He now works in the office of the Northern Territory’s Chief Minister, Michael Gunner. Lindsay has won three Walkley Awards.

Professor Christina Twomey

Christina is a Professor of History and Head of the School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies at Monash University. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences Australia and the Australian Academy of Humanities. The author of four books, including Australia’s Forgotten Prisoners: Civilians interned by the Japanese in World War Two (2008), her most recent is The Battle Within: POWs in postwar Australia, winner of the 2018 NSW Premier’s Prize for Australian History.

Lynette Silver OAM

Lynette Silver is one of Australia’s most prolific and influential military and general historians; influential because much of her work has stood conventional history on its head or has unearthed dark and long hidden secrets. Perhaps her most significant book in this genre has been Sandakan – Conspiracy of Silence, first published in 1998, which brought the Sandakan tragedy right into the open. Similarly, The Bridge at Parit Sulong told the little known story of heroic Australian fighting at Muar in Malaya and the massacre of 110 Australian wounded at the bridge at Parit Sulong. Her books The Heroes of Rimau (1990) and Deadly Secrets (2010), revealed for the first time what happened on Operation Rimau, a covert mission that ended in disaster, and the fate of the 23 men who died. Lynette has been the recipient of many honours for her charitable and historical work.

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