Over the summer break, the ANU School of History student, Alexandra McKinnon has been researching on Australian impressions of the British Empire in the period 1899–1919 at the Australian War Memorial.
Today, as a part of her work, Alexandra McKinnon presented her research to a public audience at the Australian War Memorial’s 2019 Summer Scholars.
Now in its 34th year, the Summer Scholars scheme at Australian war Memorial annually, for the six weeks, hosts three outstanding students in their third or fourth year of an undergraduate course, or who are undertaking early-stage postgraduate studies.
Alexandra McKinnon’s research explores Australian attitudes towards the British Empire during the Boer War and the First World War through the medium of autograph books owned by Australian nurses. Inscriptions in these autograph books demonstrate a continuity of attitudes between 1899 and 1919 and also argues for the use of autograph books as a historical source.
Alexandra McKinnon currently completing a Masters of Philosophy at the Australian National University. Her thesis explores memory, commemoration, and loss in the interwar period, focusing on the involvement of families in the collection of records at the Australian War Memorial. Alexandra completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) at the University of Toronto in History and Material Culture. She was a 2017 recipient of the Canadian Battlefields Foundation Study Tour, and has previously worked at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in northern France.
Since 1985 the Military History Section of the Australian War Memorial has hosted 98 young historians under the scheme, providing them with practical experience of working in a major historical institution. Many former scholars have gone on to pursue successful careers in academia, education, museums, or other public institutions.