Professor Peter Monteath will present a lecture for the Australians on “Special Operations” in wartime Greece, on Thursday 19 April 2018, at the Ithacan Philantropic Society, as part of the Greek History and Culture Seminars, offered by the Greek Community of Melbourne.
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 will look 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.
The lecture is sponsored by the Battle of Crete and Greece Commemorative Council.
When: Thursday 19 April 2018, 17.00pm
Where: The Ithacan Philanthropic Society (Level 2, 329 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne)