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First drafts of history: Rediscovering Victoria's war correspondents

  • Date recorded: 21 Apr 2016

  • Duration: 01:08:57

'Schuler was the first to say what a profound place Gallipoli would have in Australian history ... that this day will be remembered for generations as a formative moment in the nation's history.'

– Mark Baker

About this video

Introduced by historian Fay Anderson, this panel discussion with Garrie Hutchinson, Richard Trembath and Mark Baker looks back over more than a century of Australian war journalism to highlight the work of seminal figures in the field of reportage.

Richard Trembath focuses on the contribution of Australia's first war correspondent, Howard Willoughby (1839–1908), who covered the Third New Zealand War of 1863–66. Richard also discusses the fate of William Lambie (1860–1900), the first Australian correspondent to die in conflict.

Writer and Melbourne University research fellow Garrie Hutchinson looks at the lives and careers of well-known correspondents Alan Moorehead, whose eye for detail was tailor-made for first-hand reportage, and George Johnston, Australia's first accredited war correspondent in WWII and best known as the author of the classic novel My brother Jack.

Finally, hear from Melbourne Press Club CEO Mark Baker, former senior editor of The Age and managing editor of Fairfax Media, who introduces the story of journalist Phillip Schuler. A relatively unknown WWI correspondent, Schuler travelled on the first Australian convoy to Gallipoli and, had he not been killed in action, could well have become as well known as Charles Bean, Australia's official war correspondent.

Mark also speaks about the Library's Media legends exhibition, presented in partnership with the Melbourne Press Club and drawing attention to the contribution made by Victorian foreign correspondents since the Boer War and WWI.

This panel discussion was hosted at the State Library on 21 April 2016 as part of our Making Public Histories seminar series.

About the Making Public Histories seminar series

Making Public Histories is an ongoing seminar series exploring public history, contemporary society and heritage with discussions framed around topical issues. It is a joint initiative between State Library Victoria, the History Council of Victoria and Monash University Institute for Public History.


Mark Baker is the CEO of the Melbourne Press Club, and a former senior editor of The Age, editor of the Canberra Times and managing editor of Fairfax Media. He spent 13 years as a foreign correspondent for Fairfax, News Corp and the Financial Times, and is the author of the definitive biography of Victorian journalist Phillip Schuler.

Richard Trembath is a teacher and writer, and the co-author with Fay Anderson of Witnesses to war: The history of Australian conflict reporting.

Garrie Hutchinson is a Melbourne University research fellow, and the author and editor of more than 30 books, including Eyewitness: Australians write from the front-line.