Menzies on Tour

A new digital resource has been compiled by Caitlin Stone and Jim Berryman from the University’s Baillieu Library. Menzies on Tour is an online archive of photographs donated to the University of Melbourne by Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, former prime minister of Australia and chancellor of the University of Melbourne. The photographs are contained in ten albums held in Special Collections in the Baillieu Library and form part of Robert Menzies’ personal library. The albums document Menzies’ overseas visits to eight countries, including India (1950), Philippines (1957), Japan (1957) and Indonesia (1959). This collection is a significant visual account of Menzies’ travels abroad as prime minister and provides a pictorial record of Australia’s expanding international relations during the post-war period.

Robert Menzies and others in front of the Taj Mahal (December 1950), Special Collections, Baillieu Library, The University of Melbourne.

Robert Menzies and others in front of the Taj Mahal (December 1950), Special Collections, Baillieu Library, The University of Melbourne.

Dr Katharine McGregor: Indonesia, Memory and Transnational Human Rights Activism

Recently Dr Katharine McGregor of the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne received a four year ARC Future Fellowship grant (2014-2017) for a project entitled Confronting Historical Injustice in Indonesia: Memory and Transnational Human Rights ActivismHer research into human rights activists in Indonesia, including survivors of violence, members of human rights NGOs such as Amnesty International, journalists and artists, will offer new insights into how activists attempt to deal with past injustices. This project will look at Indonesian activism from the late Suharto era (1990s) to 2016 and the ways in which a range of events and periods have been remembered: the Japanese occupation (1942-45), including forced labour and forced sexual slavery; the independence struggle (1945-49) focusing on Dutch atrocities against Indonesians; and the 1965-68 anti-communist violence, including mass killings and detention without trial. The research will advance knowledge in the fields of memory studies, human rights studies and the history of Indonesia, and help build Australian scholarly expertise in these areas.

Two recent press articles published by Dr. Katharine McGregor (second article co-authored with Dr Jemma Purdey):

Echo of history in Jokowi’s ‘mental revolution’

Half a century on, victims’ voices haunt a democratic Indonesia


Mechanics of Mass Murder

Completion Seminar for History PhD Candidate Jess Melvin

School of Historical and Philosophical Studies

The University of Melbourne


Mechanics of Mass Murder: How the Indonesian Military Initiated and Implemented the Indonesian Genocide: The Case of Aceh

On 1 October 1965, the Indonesian military launched an attack against the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). This attack was aimed at seizing state power and sparked one of the 20th century’s worst mass killings. To this day, however, there is yet to be consensus as to whether the Indonesian genocide should be understood as the result of an intentional centralised military campaign.

Through an investigation of 3,000 pages of previously uncited classified documents produced by the Indonesian military and government in Aceh province, and 70 original oral history interviews with former members of the PKI, family members of people killed during the genocide, former military personnel, government officials and members of death squads who participated in the genocide, this thesis aims to strip back the mechanics of mass murder to demonstrate for the first time how the Indonesian military initiated and implemented the Indonesian genocide.

The seminar will be presented in conjunction with the Memory and Commemoration, East and West: An International Workshop (supported by the University of Melbourne IRRTF scheme).

Date: Friday 21 February, 12.15pm-1.15pm

Venue: Theatre 4, Level 1, Alan Gilbert Building (Building 104), corner of Grattan and Barry Streets (enter from Barry St), The University of Melbourne

Rewriting the story of the 1965 tragedy

‘Momentum is currently growing’, notes graduate student Jess Melvin in an article in the Jakarta Post on 30 September, ‘around the need for an historical reckoning of the Indonesian genocide’. Joshua Oppenheimer’s film The Act of Killing has just been released for free download in Indonesia, and Jess argues that an official government apology will be an important part of the reconciliation process.

PhD student Jessica Melvin at the Melbourne International Film Festival

On August 10, PhD candidate Jessica Melvin was a panelist at a talking pictures session co-sponsored by the Melbourne International Film festival and the Indonesia Forum following the screening of the film, The Act of Killing which focuses on the 1965 violence in Indonesia. The event was called ‘Caught in the Act: Indonesia and the Act of Killing’. For some photos of the event see MIFF talkingpictures-caught-in-the-act  For event details see the Indonesia Forum website

After The Act of Killing: Historical Justice and the 1965-66 Mass Killings in Indonesia

The Herb Feith Foundation, the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies and the Indonesia Forum at the University of Melbourne held a multi-site Conference in conjunction with STF Driyarkara University, Jakarta on August 30, 2013 at The University of Melbourne.

Screen Shot 2013-07-30 at 5.13.58 PM

This conference was live streamed and recorded to view the footage, click here
Or to view the conference in parts click on the following Part One: Part Two


Final Program

Indonesian Media Coverage Kompas : Sinar Harapan