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June 27, 2023 @ 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm


Protected industries, protected men: the dilemmas of wartime service, 1939-46

The 2023 Weston Bate Oration will be delivered by distinguished historian, Dr Bart Ziino in what is a thrilling first for the RHSV. Bart was the recipient of our inaugural study grant, generously funded by our magnificent philanthropist, Gordon Moffatt AM. Bart, assisted by Dr Brad Underhill have been researching protected industries in Australia during WWII. This lecture reflects on their findings.

The RHSV AGM will run from 5pm – 6:15pm, followed by the Weston Bate Oration at 6:30pm.

The management of human resources in Australia during the Second World War was founded on an awareness that modern war required strong government direction and control.  The implementation of that control, and individual responses to it, varied with the immediate demands of war, perceptions of one’s own place in the war effort, and evaluations of others’ commitment to it.  This oration examines the dilemmas that confronted those Australians employed in reserved occupations between 1939 and 1945, protected – not always happily – from military roles.  For if there was an ‘all in’ war effort in Australia, it was beset also with an inherited complex of attitudes from the experience of the First World War, in which men who were not in military service became suspect as shirkers, while ex-service organisations demanded privileges for their members not only in social esteem, but in government services and employment.  In such an atmosphere, workers in reserved occupations ultimately found themselves largely excluded from recognition of their wartime work – and the restrictions that came with it – both during the war and in the years after 1945.

Dr Bart Ziino is Senior Lecturer in History at Deakin University.  He has published widely on Australian experiences of war including various modes of remembrance and commemoration over the past century.  He is author of A Distant Grief: Australians, War Graves and the Great War (UWA Press, 2007), and editor of The Heritage of War (with Martin Gegner, 2011), Remembering the First World War (2015), and Museums, History and the Intimate Experience of the Great War (with Deborah Tout-Smith and Joy Damousi, 2021).

Dr Brad Underhill is a tutor, lecturer and research assistant at Deakin University. His doctoral thesis, The New Deal on the Ground in Papua New Guinea, examined the post-war development and decolonisation of Papua New Guinea and jointly received the Hank Nelson Memorial award for best PhD, internationally, on any aspect of Papua New Guinea’s history.  His research has most recently appeared in the Australian Journal of Politics and History, and he is currently guest editing a special issue of Australian Historical Studies on ‘Remembering Papua New Guinea’. In 2017 Brad received the Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for academic excellence at Deakin, and previously was awarded the Bowater Trust medal, for best all-round undergraduate student.


The RHSV AGM always precedes the Weston Bate Oration and the timetable for the night should be:

4:30pm  refreshments

5:00pm  Special General Meeting

5:10pm  Annual General Meeting & RHSV awards

6:15pm  Refreshments

6:30pm Weston Bate Oration

7:30pm  event ends


This is a hybrid events and members and friends have the option of attending either in person or via ZOOM. Zoom details will be sent out 24 hours prior to the event. 

Members will be sent much documentation for the AGM in the weeks leading up to the AGM and Weston Bate Oration. This documentation will also be available on this website for download. 


Tickets are not available as this event has passed.


June 27, 2023
5:00 pm - 7:30 pm
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Royal Historical Society of Victoria
03 9326 9288


RHSV Gallery Downstairs
239 A'Beckett St
Melbourne, Victoria 3000 Australia
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03 9326 9288