Tuesday, April 18, 2017 at 05:15 PM


Royal Historical Society of Victoria
239 A’Beckett St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Google map and directions

Event contact

Lauren Indiveri-Clarke

(03) 9326 9288



  • Royal Historical Society of Victoria and Dr Ross McMullin to host lecture about Australia’s biggest fiasco
  • Award-winning historian Dr Ross McMullin is an expert on the catastrophe


Join historian and biographer Dr Ross McMullin for an illuminating and incisive talk about Australia’s worst 24-hours: the disaster of the battle of Fromelles. How did such a calamity occur? What were they trying to achieve? Where does the blame for the disaster lie? Could, or did, anyone try to stop it? Ross will answer these questions and more, and explain why the battle was relatively little known until recently.


The battle of Fromelles, which began on 19 July 1916, was Australia’s first major engagement at the Western Front, and resulted in 5,533 Australian casualties in one night - a tally equivalent to the entire Australian casualties in the whole of the South African War against the Boers, the Korean War and Vietnam War put together. The catastrophic attack at Fromelles had no redeeming tactical justification whatsoever. It was, in the words of a senior participant, Brigadier-General "Pompey" Elliott, a "tactical abortion".  




  • Who: Dr Ross McMullin in partnership with the Royal Historical Society of Victoria
  • What: Lecture and Q&A with historian and biographer Dr Ross McMullin
  • When: Tuesday, 18 April 2017 / Refreshments at 5.15pm and lecture at 5.45pm with Q&A immediately following 
  • Where: Royal Historical Society of Victoria, 239 A’Beckett Street, Melbourne 3000, 9326 9288 / [email protected]
  • Cost: RHSV members free and $10 for non-members
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$10.00 AUD


The History Council of Victoria Incorporated (HCV) is the peak body for history in the Australian state of Victoria. Its vision is to connect Victorians with history and to inspire engagement with the past, their identity and the world today. The HCV champions the work of historians and the value of history. It recognises that history can be written about any place, any person, any period. The HCV advocates why history matters.

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The HCV was formed as an advisory body in 2001 and incorporated in 2003. It comprises representatives from cultural and educational institutions and heritage bodies; history teachers and curriculum advisors; academic and professional historians; and local, Indigenous, community and specialist history organisations.

As the peak body for history, the HCV has both ‘outward-looking’ roles (including advocacy and representation to government and the wider community, consultation, community education, and networking with allied interest groups) and ‘inward-looking’ roles (including member support, information dissemination, and networking between members).



The History Council of Victoria acknowledges the State Library of Victoria and the Public Record Office Victoria for supply of the archival images that appear on this website.

We acknowledge the National Film and Sound Archive for the right to use of the video footage on the home page, titled "Melbourne: Life in Australia (1966)".

Image credits

  • Italian sailors on ship at Port Melbourne 1938, Argus Newspaper Collection of Photographs, State Library of Victoria
  • Chinese procession in Collins near Elizabeth Street 1901, Harvie & Sutcliffe, photographers, State Library of Victoria
  • People’s homes, Aboriginal station Coranderrk 1878, Fred Kruger Photographer, State Library of Victoria
  • Chinese nurses at Children’s Hospital under scholarship 1947, Argus Newspaper Collection of Photographs, State Library of Victoria
  • Ladies physical culture class VRI Melbourne c1931, Public Record Office Victoria VPRS 12903/P0001, 011/02
  • Melbourne Cup, Derby and Oaks Day, Flemington Racecourse 1936, Public Record Office Victoria VPRS 12903/P0001/4802, 372/30
  • Flinders Street viaduct at foot of Market Street with advertisement for McRobertson’s Chocolate on bridge, Public Record Office Victoria VPRS 12800/P0003, ADV 1342