Expert nation: Universities, war and 1920s & 30s Australia


This project traces the careers of some 6000 Australian university staff, students and graduates who served in the First World War. It has produced numerous media and journal articles, and an edited collection (Kate Darian-Smith and James Waghorne (eds), The First World War, the Universities and the Professions in Australia, 1914–1939, Melbourne University Publishing, 2019). A new monograph, Expert Nation, co-authored by the investigators, is forthcoming. The database is publicly available at


The project explores the relationship between universities, the professions and national development. It informs a new history of interwar Australia that emphasises knowledge and expertise.


Australian Research Council Discovery Project


  • Associate Professor Tamson Pietsch, University of Technology Sydney
  • Professor Julia Horne, University of Sydney
  • Professor Stephen Garton, University of Sydney
  • Professor Kate Darian-Smith, University of Tasmania
  • Dr James Waghorne, The University of Melbourne

More information

Dr James Waghorne, Senior Research Fellow, Melbourne CSHE, The University of Melbourne