The 2018 Bryan Gandevia Prize announcement

28 May 2019 by Karl James

Dr Alexia Moncrieff - winner of the 2018 Bryan Gandevia Prize

Dr Alexia Moncrieff - winner of the 2018 Bryan Gandevia Prize

The Australian War Memorial is proud to announce Alexia Moncrieff as the winner of the Bryan Gandevia Prize for Australian military–medical history, for her PhD thesis entitled “‘We are entitled to some control’: the Australian Army Medical Corps in the First World War”, completed at the University of Adelaide in 2017. During the manuscript’s examination process, both examiners praised the work, with one commenting:

"one of the unusual and impressive things about this thesis is its close examination – and quantification – of data concerning both casualty evacuation and treatment. This kind of attention to detail is rare … One gets a very clear sense of the challenges facing the Australian medical corps and how the AAMC attempted to overcome them."

Dr Moncrieff’s PhD also received the university’s Dean’s Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence.

At the end of the Memorial’s Gandevia Prize judging process, the panel wrote:

"Moncrieff shows how the failures of British military medicine during the Gallipoli campaign precipitated the development of a more independent Australian Army Medical Corps. In doing so, she draws on the most recent secondary discussions and a broad range of primary source documents. Her thesis is a much-needed contribution on the development of the Australian Army Medical Corps during the First World War. It is well researched, well argued, and well presented. The thesis closely examines the medical history of Australians in the First World War against the backdrop of the broader relationships between Australian military and social history. For these reasons, it is a worthy recipient of the Bryan Gandevia Prize."

Dr Moncrieff’s work will be published by Cambridge University Press as Expertise, authority and control: the Australian Army Medical Corps in the First World War, as part of the Australian Army History Series.

Dr Moncrieff is currently working as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the European Research Council–funded project “Men, women and care: the gendering of formal and informal caregiving in interwar Britain” in the School of History at the University of Leeds. The presentation of the Gandevia Prize will be made at a time to be advised.

The Bryan Gandevia Prize, worth $5,000, is awarded biennially to an outstanding honours, masters, or doctoral thesis on a significant subject on military, social, or medical aspects of Australian wartime history. The prize is intended to assist scholars in the early stages of their research careers and may be used to facilitate publication of their work or to further their research interests. It was established to commemorate Dr Gandevia’s contribution to Australian military and medical history, and the research and publication activities of the Australian War Memorial. Dr Alexia Moncrieff is the fourth recipient of the award.

For further information see our Bryan Gandevia Prize webpage.

The Bryan Gandevia Prize is one of the most generous awards for postgraduate studies in Australian history.

Previous winners of the Bryan Gandevia Prize are:

2011–12: David Henderson, “The internment of Germans in Second World War Australia: an exploration in history and memory”, PhD thesis, La Trobe University, 2009.

2013–14: Michael Molkentin, “Australia, the Empire and the Great War in the air”, PhD thesis, UNSW Canberra, 2013.

2015–16: David Woolley, “Not yet diagnosed: Australian psychiatric casualties during the Kokoda campaign, 1942”, Honours thesis, UNSW Canberra, 2015.

Bryan Gandevia (1925–2006) was a medical researcher and practitioner. He was also a highly respected historian, making major contributions to Australian social history through his publications on the history of medicine, medical practice, and health in Australia.

Gandevia graduated in 1948 with a degree in medicine from the University of Melbourne and subsequently enlisted in the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps. He served as an officer in the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan; then as Regimental Medical Officer with the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment in Korea. He later wrote a history of the medical and surgical aspects of that period of the Korean War.

Over the following decades Dr Gandevia was appointed Associate Professor of Respiratory Medicine at the Prince of Wales Hospital in the University of New South Wales, and published several books and academic papers on various aspects of the history of medicine. From 1967 to 1983 he served on the Australian War Memorial Board of Trustees and subsequently as a member of the Council of the Australian War Memorial.

Dr Gandevia was a vigorous advocate of historical scholarship at the Memorial and actively promoted the development of research and publication in Australian military history.