Historian, Writer, Commentator, Consultant.

About me

Peter Stanley is an award winning historian and writer who has published twenty-five books and who is a Professor of History at the University of New South Wales, Canberra. In 2011 Peter’s book Bad Characters: Sex, Crime, Mutiny, Murder and the Australian Imperial Force (Murdoch Books/Pier 9, Sydney, 2010) was jointly awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History. His agent is Diana Hill of Crimson Lane.

Peter was born in Liverpool, UK in 1956 and migrated to Australia with his family in 1966. He grew up in Whyalla, South Australia and in 1975 moved to Canberra to attend the Australian National University. He has lived and worked in Canberra ever since. After a false start as a secondary teacher, Peter became a public servant, joining the Australian War Memorial in 1980. He worked at the Memorial until 2007, heading its Historical Research Section from 1987 and becoming its Principal Historian in 1998. He was the inaugural head of the Research Centre (formerly the Centre for Historical Research) at the National Museum of Australia from 2007 to 2013.

Peter has published widely, mainly in Australian military social history, and is now Australia’s most prolific historian writing about the Great War. He has published 25 books and many articles. He has contributed to the development of many temporary exhibitions and galleries at the Australian War Memorial, and is a frequent commentator on television and and film.

He lives in Canberra with his wife, Claire.


In February 2013 Peter took up a professorial appointment in the Australian Centre for the Study of Armed Conflict and Society in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Australian Defence Force Academy at the University of New South Wales, Canberra.

Prizes and awards


Award Prize Year
Wellcome Trust travel grant (for For Fear of Pain) $2,000 2000
Travel award, National Museums of Scotland $1,000 2000
Travel award, British High Commission, Canberra $6,000 2000
Army History Unit Research Grants Scheme (for Alamein) $5,000 2000
Foundation Visitor, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons $2,000 2001
Award, General Palit Military Studies Trust $3,000 2002
Army History Unit Research Grants Scheme $5,000 2003
Army History Unit Research Grants Scheme $6,500 2007
May Gibbs Children’s Literature Fellowship 2006 [relinquished due to starting NMA job]   2006
Fellowship, Varuna Writers’ Centre, 2007 [relinquished due to starting NMA job]   2007
Northern Territory History Research Grant $2,500 2007
Foundation Visitor, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons $4,000 2008
Australian Army History Unit Research Grants Scheme $7,500 2009

Advice, supervision and examination

I have supervised theses at several Australian universities and have examined Honours, Masters and Doctoral theses at Australian and overseas universities.

I have examined these in the following areas for the following universities:

I have participated in several academic projects, such as the ANU/Australian War Memorial Australia-Japan Research Project, the Monash University-run Anzac Day at Home and Abroad project and the ANU-run Gallipoli project.