Freo in war doco

• Tony Robinson talks history in Fremantle. Photo supplied

• Tony Robinson talks history in Fremantle. Photo supplied

AS the last view of home for many soldiers heading to the European bloodbath of WWI, Fremantle will come in for a special mention during an international TV series coinciding with the centenary of Gallipoli.

Renowned historian Tony Robinson (perhaps still best known as Baldrick in Blackadder) will return to the port city in May as part of his new Tour of Duty series, being produced by Sydney production company WTFN.

Series director Matthew Thomason told the Herald that as part of his visit, Sir Tony will ask locals to drag out memories and memorabilia for a community day on May 25 at Cantonment Hill’s Army Museum.


The series will air in 2015, the centenary of the disastrous Dardanelles campaign where 8000 Australians were killed at Gallipoli as entrenched Ottoman forces pushed them back into the sea.

While Australia will focus on Gallipoli, Mr Thomason says the crew will look at various conflicts, including Vietnam and Korea.

And it’s not just the soldiers they’re interested in.

“We’re looking for the stories of the homefront, and how people coped,” he says.


“For example, have you seen the big mural on the Norfolk Hotel of Dorothy Tangney? Well, Dorothy Tangney worked hard for war brides who, if they married an Allied serviceman who deserted them, found that they couldn’t get divorced.”

Mr Thomason says the series will also explore people’s fears of invasion, noting they’d come across bomb shelters built in backyards in Tasmania.


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