Remembering the Atomic Bombs: History, Memory and Politics in Australia, Japan and the Pacific

Tuesday, August 11, 2020 at 05:00 PM


Zoom webinar
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Google map and directions

Event contact

Margaret Birtley


This webinar was recorded and is freely available for online viewing and sharing:

An audio recording of this webinar was broadcast by ABC Radio National as a Big Ideas program on Monday 24 August 2020.

2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August 1945. In this webinar, three speakers will consider new findings about the Japanese experience and memory of the Atomic bombings, how Australia and Australians have been caught up in this atomic history, and the social and political legacies of the bomb in the Asia-Pacific region.

‘Hiroshima and Here’
presented by Professor Robin Gerster (Monash University), the author of Travels in Atomic Sunshine: Australia and the Occupation of Japan (2009) and Hiroshima and Here: Reflections on Australian Atomic Culture to be published by Lexington Books / Rowman & Littlefield in the US later this year.

'A Catholic Narrative out of Nagasaki: From Lament to Protest'
presented by Dr Gwyn McClelland (University of New England) who has worked closely with Nagasaki survivors and is the author of Dangerous Memory in Nagasaki: Prayers, Protests and Catholic Survivor Narratives (Routledge, 2019).

'Glowing Skies, Burning Sands: Nuclear Testing in the Pacific'
presented by Dimity Hawkins AM who is completing her PhD in history at Swinburne University examining resistance to nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific, particularly around independence in Fiji. She is also one of the co-founders of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), winner of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.

The discussion will be chaired by Professor Alistair Thomson of Monash University.

To register and receive the Zoom webinar link, please click the Send RSVP button at the foot of this page. 

Hiroshima 2019    Nagasaki 2008    

Setsuko Thurlow accepting the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of ICAN in 2017; image courtesy ICAN     Robin Gerster's book cover - Hiroshima and Here (2020)

Images of Hiroshima and Nagasaki courtesy Gwyn McClelland.
Image of Setsuko Thurlow accepting the Nobel Peace Prize courtesy ICAN.
Image of Hiroshima and Here book cover courtesy Lexington Books.

This webinar is part of an ongoing seminar series, Making Public Histories, that is offered jointly by the Monash University History Program, the History Council of Victoria and the Old Treasury Building. Each seminar aims to explore issues and approaches in making public histories. The seminars are open, free of charge, to anyone interested in the creation and impact of history in contemporary society. Click HERE to learn about other events in the series.

We thank the series sponsors, Monash University Publishingthe Monash University History Program and the Old Treasury Building:

Monash University Publishing - some current titles         

Old Treasury Building                                      Monash University History Program

and the organising partners:

Old Treasury Building     Monash University History Program      HCV

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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