Ms Joan Beaumont

BA Hons (Adelaide), PhD (London), AM, FASSA, FAIIA
Professor Emerita, Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs
College of Asia & the Pacific
T: +61 2 6125 1109

Areas of expertise

  • Historical Studies 2103
  • Australian Government And Politics 160601
  • International Relations 160607
  • Australian History (Excl. Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander History) 210303

Research interests

Australia during the Great Depression

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the defence of Australia.

Australia in the two world wars

War memory and heritage, including the Anzac 'legend'

History of Australian foreign policy and diplomacy

Prisoners of war, including the Thai-Burma railway, 1942-45

History of international humanitarian law


Joan Beaumont is an internationally recognized historian of Australia in the two world wars, Australian defence and foreign policy, the history of prisoners of war and the memory and heritage of war.

Her publications include the critically acclaimed Broken Nation: Australians and the Great War (Allen & Unwin, 2013), joint winner of the 2014 winner of the Prime Minister's Literary Award (Australian History), the 2014 NSW Premier's Prize (Australian History), the 2014 Queensland Literary Award for History, and the Australian Society of Authors' 2015 Asher Award; and shortlisted for the 2014 WA Premier's Prize (non-fiction) and the 2014 Council for the Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences Prize for a Book.

Other publications include (with Matt Jordan), Australia and the World: A Festshrift for Neville Meaney (2013);  ‘Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum, the Thai-Burma Railway’, in Bart Ziino and M. Wegner (eds), The Heritage of War: Cultural Heritage after Conflict 2011, pp. 19-40; ; Ministers, Mandarins and Diplomats: The Making of Australian Foreign 1941-69 (ed. (2003); Australia's War, 1939-45 (ed.) (1996);  Gull Force: Survival and Leadership in Captivity, 1941-1945 (1988); and Comrades in Arms: British Aid to Russia, 1941-45 (1980).  In 2011-13 she led the research team for the Department of Veterans' Affairs commemorative web site, Hellfire Pass <>, translated in Thai as

Past appointments include Dean of Arts and Social Sciences at The ANU (2010-11) and Dean of Arts  at Deakin University Victoria (1998-2008). She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences of Australia, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of International Affairs; a member of the APSI Council and the Editorial Advisory Board of DFAT, The Netherlands Institute for War and Holocaust Studies international advisory board; and the University of Alabama Press (War, Memory and culture series).  She graduated from the University of Adelaide (BA Hons 1969) and the University of London (King's College) (PhD 1975).

Researcher's projects

Second Shock: Australia's Great Depression and the Legacy of World War I (ARC Discovery  DP160104699)

Serving Our country: A history of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in the Defence of Australia  (ARC Linkage LP 120200 327)

Australia's extra-territorial war heritage (Kokoda Track, Thai-Burma railway, Long Tan and Kapyong (ARC Discovery Grant, 2010-12)

Australian memory and heritage of war, including the Anzac legend

Australian prisoners of war

The Thai-Burma railway, 1942-45

Available student projects

Australia and the First World War

War memory and heritage in the 20th century

History of Australian diplomacy

The Anzac legend



Current student projects

Panel member:

Natalie Sambhi, The legacies of the conflict and occupation of East Timor for the Indonesian military (TNI) from 1975 to 1999

Dave Beaumont: How effective was the ADF’s approach to strategic logistics over the period 1987-2004?’



Past student projects

Anna Samson, Justifying exit from humantarian interventions

Margaret Hutchison, The official Australian war art scheme of World War I

Tristan Moss, The Australian army in Papua New Guinea, 1945-75

Gary Toone, Farming Aboriginal Cultural Heritage: The perceptions and perspectives of farmers concerning Aboriginal cultural heritage located on their properties.

Tony Joel, The politics of the memory of the bombing of Dresden

Janette Bomford, Fractured lives: Australian POWs (Japan) and their families

Michael Kitson, The Brennan Torpedo


Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  23 April 2021 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers