Tony was the inaugural winner of the RAAF Heritage Fellowship in 2014 and wrote his debut book The Empire has an Answer in fulfilment of this award. The book, based on more than 45,000 newspaper articles from the period, draws on the lived experience of numerous men and women to paint a picture of life in the Empire Air Training Scheme during World War II. It is no surprise that Tony was drawn to the life of historian and military history. Born in Singleton NSW where his father served in the Army, Tony can trace his family’s military history from his four-times great-grandfather, a Marine Private on the First Fleet, through his grandfather in the Light Horse at Gallipoli and Egypt to his father’s service in the Malay Emergency. Other family served in Viet Nam, including in the AATTV, one, a convicted horse-thief, was a jockey in the first Melbourne Cup, and another was the first dual winner of the Stawell Gift. In 1980, aged sixteen, Tony joined the RAAF as a technical apprentice and served as an Airframe Fitter and then Photographer. He continued his photography in civilian life before completing a Bachelor of Social Science in 2008 and an award-winning PhD in 2013. Though Tony has published articles in an array of academic journals this is his debut book. Tony’s previously published work focusses on post-colonial Australia and examines training for purpose. His works include an award winning PhD on the Rural Schools of Queensland, an examination of the difficulties faced by school teachers educating the children of Prison Warders on a prison island, the history of the Sheffield Shield and the importance of Queensland’s first win in the summer of 1994/95, and the attempt by two brothers to create ‘New Australia’ in Paraguay and how this led one brother to train colonial school children in the new methods of agriculture.
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