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Peter Stanley

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Barks, Birds & Billabongs: Exploring the Legacy of the 1948 American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land. 16-20 November 2009.

Peter Stanley


Dr Peter Stanley

Head, Centre for Historical Research

National Museum of Australia


Dr Peter Stanley was appointed Head of the Centre for Historical Research at the Museum in early 2007. He is best known as a military social historian and was principal historian at the Australian War Memorial for 20 years. He developed or curated many temporary and permanent exhibitions, and is interested in material culture as a source in historical interpretation.

Peter's publications include Tarakan: An Australian Tragedy and Quinn's Post, Anzac, Gallipoli. He has also written extensively on British imperial history, through The Remote Garrison and White Mutiny, and on medical history in For Fear of Pain: British Surgery 1790–1850.

Peter has made many contributions to historical interpretation in print and broadcast media, including the recent television series Revealing Gallipoli, Captain Cook: Obsession and Discovery, Monash and the 2008 Four Corners program 'The Great History War'.

In 2008 Peter published Invading Australia: Japan and the Battle for Australia, 1942, and A Stout Pair of Boots, a book explaining how to get the most out of battlefield research. In 2009, he published another two works: Men of Mont St Quentin and Commando to Colditz. A forthcoming book, titled Bad Characters: Sex, Crime, Mutiny and Murder in the Great War is due to be published in 2010. Peter's current project for the National Museum of Australia is to write 'Black Saturday at Steels Creek', a short account of the experience of the 7 February 2009 bushfires in the small Victorian community of Steels Creek.