Michael McKernan

Australian Historian

Michael McKernan is an historian and writer with extensive experience in teaching and research, management, the media and the practical presentation of history.

Michael lectured in Australian History at the University of New South Wales for several years. During that time he researched and wrote books including Australian Churches at War, The Australian People and the Great War, and All In! Fighting the War at Home. He also edited two books on the history of sport in Australia and overseas.

Former Deputy Director of the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, Michael assisted in directing and inspiring the renewal of that institution; he recruited key staff, defined new roles for the Memorial and engaged in the most successful capital fundraising appeal ever yet held by an Australian public institution.

Michael was project manager for the Entombment of the Unknown Australian Soldier, one of the most successful commemorative activities held in Australia.

Michael was historical adviser to the Minister for Veterans' Affairs for 'Australia Remembers 1995', and historian to the Veterans' Pilgrimages to North Africa, Greece, Crete, Europe and Borneo.

He is a leading commentator on commemoration in Australia. He has worked closely with successive Governors-General and Prime Ministers on matters of national significance. At the Australian War Memorial he continued to write and to publish, including the first substantial history of one of Australia's most cherished institutions, Here Is Their Spirit: a history of the Australian War Memorial 1917-1990.

Michael now works as a consultant historian to government and private organisations. He is the author or editor of more than a dozen books and was selected and described the top twenty military leaders of the twentieth century for the 'This Living Century' supplement in the Australian. His books include Here is Their Spirit, Beryl Beaurepaire and This War Never Ends: Australian Prisoners of War Come Home.

Michael also designed the inaugural Australian Battlefield Tour of Gallipoli and the Western Front and with Rear Admiral Neil Ralph leads battlefield tours annually under the sponsorship of The Australian newspaper.

He is a commentator on ABC radio and a regular reviewer and has a weekly half hour program on Australian history on the ABC's 2BL Sydney and 2CN Canberra.

The National Archives of Australia's first Frederick Watson Fellow, Michael is a sought after speaker and lecturer for schools community groups and at conferences.

Client testimonials

His professionalism as an historian and writer, his broad and balanced perspective, his commitment, his sense of occasion, his experience, his willingness to co-operate, to advise and assist and his very engaging personality.

Neil Ralph, Commissioner, Australia Remembers 1945-1995