Lecturer: Professor Peter Monteath
In the Second World War many thousands of Australians were sent to mainland Greece and then Crete in the hope of preventing German invasion and occupation – but to no avail. After the Battle of Crete hundreds of Australians were stranded on the island and spent weeks, months and even years trying to get off it.
This presentation looks at the experiences of those Australians who found themselves trapped, but who also discovered the extraordinary hospitality of Cretans, who offered the Australians shelter even when they themselves were enduring great hardship and danger.
Beyond that, the presentation looks at the collaborative efforts made to evacuate these ‘stragglers’ from the island, and how those efforts evolved into a series of ‘special operations’ to resist a brutal German regime of occupation. The person who occupies the centre of attention here is the Tasmanian Tom Dunbabin, an important and influential figure in the resistance in Crete through to the last weeks of the war.
Peter Monteath was born in Brisbane and educated in Queensland and in Germany. He has taught previously at The University of Queensland, Griffith University, Deakin University, The University of Western Australia and The University of Adelaide. He has also been Adjunct Professor at The University of St. Louis Missouri and the Technical University of Berlin, where he was an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow. At Flinders University he is Professor of Modern European history. His research interests span modern European and Australian history. His latest book, Escape Artist: The Incredible Second World War of Johnny Peck (NewSouth 2017), is about an Australian who spent time in Greece and Crete in World War II.
We'd like to thank the following donors: Battle of Crete and Greece Commemorative Council.
During the course of the year considerable expenses are incurred in staging the seminars. In order to mitigate these costs individuals or organisations are invited to donate against a lecture of their choice.
You too can donate for one or more seminars and (optionally) let your name or brand be known as a patron of culture to our members, visitors and followers, as well as the broader artistic and cultural community of Melbourne. Please email:
or call 03 9662 2722.
We also like to thank the following corporate sponsors for their support:
In October 1916, the Ithacan migrants of Melbourne established the ITHACAN PHILANTHROPIC SOCIETY "The Ulysses", with an inaugural membership of some 153 members. This was in response to pleas for aid from their loved ones in Ithaca who were suffering deprivation during the First World War.
Over the years, however, the Society has been much more than just a philanthropic institution. It has been a constant in the lives of the early Ithacan migrants replacing the homeland which they had left.
The Society takes an active role in the cultural, social, educational and quality of life interests of the Ithacan Community. The Society, as part of its philanthropic role, also makes many monetary contributions to worthy causes, including those outside the immediate Ithacan community. The Society celebrated its 90th Anniversary in 2006.