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Stefan Petrow, Sir John Gellibrand and the fight for Returned Servicemen 1923-39

Published: Tuesday, 1 October 2019

In the 51st annual Eldershaw Memorial Lecture Professor Stefan Petrow examines the legacy of Sir John Gellibrand. When World War One began in August 1914, Tasmanian-born John Gellibrand, after a career in the British Army, joined the 1st Australian Division of the AIF and held a number of increasingly senior positions. He attracted the admiration and loyalty of the men he commanded by putting their welfare first. He was awarded a number of battle honours and ended the war as Major-General, taking command of the 3rd Division. On his return to civilian life, Gellibrand maintained a leadership role, this time in helping returned soldiers acclimatise to civil society. Stefan Petrow explores Sir John Gellibrand’s post-war role in furthering the interests of ex-servicemen in various organisations including the Returned Soldiers and Sailors Imperial League of Australia, the Red Cross Society, the Remembrance Club and the Tasmanian Veterans Trust, which contributed to the building of Millbrook Rise Psychopathic Home, Launceston’s War Veterans Home and Gellibrand House at St John’s Park, a monument to Gellibrand’s selfless work for the men he revered.

Stefan Petrow is Professor of History in the History and Classics Discipline, University of Tasmania. He teaches Australian, European, Tasmanian and family history. His research interests include Tasmanian legal, urban, planning and cultural history. He is completing a book on Tasmanian soldiers in World War One called Tasmanian Anzacs.