Historian's visit hailed a success

TV HISTORIAN Sir Tony Robinson yesterday concluded a five-day Tasmanian visit with a community event at Launceston's QVMAG.

Sir Tony has been filming a new series called  Tour of Duty  that commemorates 100 years of military service in Australia and New Zealand.

He received a time capsule from East Launceston Primary School pupils and teamed with University of New South Wales, Canberra, military historian Dr Peter Stanley in looking at and discussing several pieces of memorabilia from Australia's war history, brought in by Launceston residents.

But most of all, he entertained the substantial crowd that had gathered to witness the show's production.

``We're going to film the end of the show now, but don't go away afterwards because it's only the middle of today's action,'' he said, to laughter and applause.

``And if any of you have anything interesting that you would like us to see, show it to Peter - he's your man.''

And they did.

Dr Stanley said he was particularly taken by a photo album he was shown.

``The album belonged to a man in the British Commonwealth occupation force in Japan after the Second World War,'' he said.

``His was a very sad story - the man was a ward of the state and found a home of sorts in the army.

``He was befriended by a Launceston couple and they have this photograph album which documents his life in Japan.''

Sir Tony finished the filming by reading an excerpt from  Singing Bird in Battlefield , a book of poems by Bernard J. Archer, of the AIF and originally printed in  The Examiner .

``This poem reminds me that Tasmania has always punched above its weight in time of war and I'll tell you what, you've certainly punched above your weight this afternoon - thanks for having us,'' he said, to thunderous applause.

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