2022 - The Hidden Toll


The Hidden Toll: Survivors of War yet not Peace

No one will ever know how many Australians have died of war-related injuries. It could be twice as many as reflected on honour rolls like those that line the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

In this special Anzac Day presentation, we grapple with a question that troubles our nation today. How might we begin to acknowledge veteran suicide? Those killed not by some foreign enemy in a distant place, but who took their own lives long after coming home.

Presented by Bruce Scates and Alexandra McCosker, and filmed across Canberra and the Southern Highlands of NSW, this documentary tells the story of the men who never really re-adjusted to civilian life. The story of those who returned and struggled to make a living on land that was never fit for farming; who were haunted by memories of Gallipoli, Flanders, and the Somme; individuals who survived the war but not the peace.

The concept of Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome among returning soldiers is well known in this modern era. Today, there are many ways that veterans can receive support and mental health services. Yet, in the 1920s and 1930s, this was not the case. Countless returned soldiers took their own lives - 'shellshock' and its most severe outcome was likened to an epidemic sweeping across Australia. This is a sensitive subject for many, yet a story from history that deserves to be told, as a way to respect the crushing pain these men coped with each day until it became truly unbearable.

Content Advisory: This documentary contains themes relating to mental health, suicide and war. Viewer discretion and parental guidance are advised.

If you require support please contact the following services
Lifeline - 13 11 14 - lifeline.org.au
BeyondBlue - 1300 224 636 - beyondblue.org.au


Written and Produced by Bruce Scates - ANU Professor of History

Presented by Bruce Scates and Alexandra McCosker

0:00 - Titles and introduction
2:26 - Honour Rolls and who we remember
5:34 - The decorated hero of the Nek, Captain Hugo Throsell VC
10:28 - An ordinary soldier who tried to make a go of it, Private Fred Weir
15:49 - Remembering the untold story of Australia in The Great War
18:18 - The promise - a message for Ukraine
19:06 - Credits

Music from Adobe Stock: 'Out of the Dark' 'Report' 'After War' 'Aerate' 'A Heartfelt Loss' 'Reserved'

Further Resources: One Hundred Stories: A collection of stories that remember not just the men and women who lost their lives, but also those who returned to Australia. The gassed, the crippled, the insane, all those irreparably damaged by war. The Great War shaped the world as well as the nation. Its memory belongs to us all. onehundredstories.anu.edu.au