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Official Historian for Iraq, Afghanistan, and East Timor announced

Friday 5 February, 2016

Source: The Hon Stuart Robert MP, Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Minister for Human Service, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Stuart Robert, today announced Dr Craig Stockings has been appointed as the Official Historian for the Australian War Memorial’s production of an official history covering the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and East Timor.

Minister Robert said the Federal Government has deemed Australian involvement in these conflicts is of sufficient magnitude and complexity to warrant the development of a detailed and authoritative official history of these operations.

“As the Official Historian based at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, Dr Stockings will lead the project, act as editor of the series, and write at least one of the volumes of the official history,” Minister Robert said.

“Australia’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan has been complex and long-running. As many as 40,000 Australian Defence Force personnel have served in or supported these conflicts over 13 years of operations. More than 40 Australians died as a result of their service in Afghanistan, and hundreds were wounded. These are significant events in Australia’s history, and must be recorded.”

Director of the Australian War Memorial, Dr Brendan Nelson, said it is vital that contemporary conflicts are carefully researched and documented for the sake of those who served and so that future generations may recall their contribution to our nation’s history.

“As Australians, we are fortunate to live in a free society, with a stable government and a privileged way of life. It is these very freedoms the servicemen and servicewomen who represented us in Iraq, Afghanistan and East Timor served to protect. For that, we must honour them, and this official history series, led by Dr Stockings, will do just that,” Dr Nelson said.

This multi-volume series will provide a detailed, authoritative account of Australia’s extensive and complex peacekeeping operations in East Timor (1999–2012), and its military operations in Iraq (2003–11) and Afghanistan (2001–14).

Dr Stockings holds extensive experience and qualifications, including a PhD in History from the University of New South Wales and a Masters in Education and Arts. He is a graduate of the Australian Defence Force Academy and the Royal Military College, Duntroon. He deployed to East Timor with the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, as part of the INTERFET force in 1999–2000, and in 2003 served as aide-de-camp to Governor-General Michael Jeffrey AC CVO MC. Dr Stockings is currently an Associate Professor and Deputy Head of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of New South Wales, Canberra.

It is anticipated the project will commence in June 2016, and will take approximately seven years for the appointed team to complete.

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