Birth of Sir John Monash

June 27, 2018

On 27 June 1865, Sir John Monash – civil engineer, surveyor, attorney, champion of veterans, master public administrator, and Australia’s most famous forces commander – was born in Melbourne's West

Monash began his illustrious military career in 1884, going on (after much study, attainment of degrees and engineering construction) to serve at Gallipoli in 1915 as commander of the 4th Infantry Brigade (AIF). After promotion to Major-General, he commanded the 3rd Division, AIF in France the next year. In 1918, Monash was knighted by King George V in recognition of his role in the Battle of Hamel Hill – his greatest victory that inspired a succession of victories, culminating in the breaking of the Hindenburg Line.

After WWI, Monash returned home and became Director-General of Repatriation and Demobilisation – responsible for the return of Australian troops from Europe and their return to civilian life. 

In the early 1920s, engineer Monash was appointed general manager and later chairman of the State Electricity Commission of Victoria. The Commission developed affordable, reliable, coal-fired electricity from the La Trobe Valley distributed, over time, across Victoria.

Monash then became vice-chancellor of the University of Melbourne (from 1923) with his final years instrumental in having Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance built.

In 1958, nearly three decades after his death in 1931, Melbourne's nationally top-ranked Monash University was named after him.

Since 1996, Australia's green polymer $100 note has honoured Monash on its reverse side (with world-renowned Federation-era soprano, Dame Nellie Melba, on the front).

Celebrate the birth, life and achievements of one of the best Allied generals of WWI and greatest Australians of all time by:

  • perhaps equipped with maybe a Monash-backed Aussie $100 note, head down to your local RSL for a meal and a drink
  • paying respects to our veterans and those serving Australia today
  • reflecting on the enormous and diverse impact Sir John has had on Australian history, and possibly like no other, and/or
  • sharing this Action Plan post on social media with family, friends, fellow Aussie patriots and those that enjoy a good/amazing narrative about a truly great Australian.

More information:

Many other things are also named in Monash’s honour including:

  • the City of Monash (southeast Melbourne council area)
  • the Monash Freeway (sometimes cheekily referred to as Melbourne’s “south-eastern car park”)
  • the Riverland town of Monash (near Berri, SA)
  • the suburb of Monash in Canberra
  • the Monash Medical Centre, a teaching hospital in Melbourne
  • (as of April 2018) the Sir John Monash Centre – museum and interpretive centre – at the Australian National Memorial, near Villers-Bretonneux in France, commemorating Australian servicemen and women who served on the Western Front during WWI, and
  • the (proposed) Federal electoral Division of Monash (western part of the Gippsland region, including Moe, Yallourn and Warragul, but currently the seat of McMillan).

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