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The Bush, the Suburbs and the Long Great War. A Family Memoir

Roper, Michael (2018) 'The Bush, the Suburbs and the Long Great War. A Family Memoir.' History Workshop Journal, 86 (86). pp. 90-1163. ISSN 1363-3554

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This article traces the legacies of the First World War across the twentieth century and three generations of my family in Australia. For my grandfather Robert Henry Roper, an itinerant labourer before the war, marriage in the early 1920s and domesticity helped contain the physical and mental toll of military service in Gallipoli and the Middle East. Yet the identities of family man and bushman remained in tension throughout his life. The husband and father living in suburban Melbourne continued to dream of the bush and make plans for his return. In old age, those escapes became literary: my grandfather’s 1970s memoirs depicted his service with the Imperial Camel Corps, patrolling the Sinai and Libyan deserts, as a form of bush wandering. The history of the war in the Roper family suggests the limits of some histories of trauma, aftermath and intergenerational transmission. Each soldier went to war with his own personal past, and war alone did not determine the nature of return. Nor did it always shatter bodies and minds: its aftermath was often less total but more enduring than some historians recognize. The long Great War was to be found in everyday domestic life; my own suburban Melbourne childhood in the 1960s and 70s, half a century after the conflict, was still lived in its shadows.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D501 World War I
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2018 14:52
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 13:51

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