The purpose of the Council is to have General Sir John Monash GCMG KCB VD promoted to the rank of Field Marshal by 11 November 2018.
Patron: Prof Roland Perry OAM F Monash
Chair: The Hon Tim Fischer AC
Deputy Chair: Dr Judy Landau
CEO: LTCOL John Moore OAM RFD ED Ret’d
Monash was born in Dudley Street, West Melbourne, Victoria, on 27 June 1865, the son of Louis Monash and his wife Bertha, née Manasse.
The outstanding senior soldier of WWI was General Sir John Monash. Monash had all the qualities of a fine military leader. He had a sharp innate intelligence, a keen analytical mind, and meticulous attention to detail. He was an outstanding student at Jerilderie Primary School and Scotch College where he was equal dux at the age of 16 in 1881, and the University of Melbourne in Engineering and Law. He was also very interested in the Arts and was a fine musician.
He rose rapidly through the ranks in the Citizen Militia (the equivalent of the Army Reserve of today) through sheer ability and commitment. He was audacious in battle and prepared to take considered risk. He showed great empathy for his troops which was unusual for a General in those days.
This garnered tremendous respect for him and no doubt contributed to the Australians successes on the battlefield. Monash was clearly a creative thinker who was continually learning. He learnt a great deal from poor decision making by Commanders in the Gallipoli Campaign. He went on to apply the lessons he learnt on the battlefields of the Western Front.
Monash marries Hannah Victoria Moss on 8th April 1891
His father, Louis Monash died in December 1894.
There could be no denying Monash’s impressive achievements and as a result, he was able to withstand anti-semitism and sustained prejudice from superior commanders. It seems that the influential war correspondent Charles Bean and the journalist Keith Murdoch were both determined to have Monash removed from command at one stage. Monash was a Reservist, not Duntroon or Sandhurst graduate. This did not enamour him to his professional soldier commanders. He was regarded as an outsider, untrustworthy and overly ambitious, all code words for being a Jew.
In 1916 alongside the Suez Canal he ran a major Anzac Day service IN THE FIELD and it is generally construed to be the first IN THE FIELD Anzac Day. NZ ran the first services a few hours earlier on 25 April 1916
The Australian Prime Minister, William ‘Billy’ Hughes was fearful of Monash’s allure to the Australian Public and was probably jealous of all the attention he was getting, including from King George V. Monash was knighted on the battlefield by the King. Fortunately for all of us, Hughes was persuaded by Monash’s many supporters who had directly experienced his outstanding performance that he should remain in command.
He returned to Australia on 26 December 1919 to an enthusiastic welcome. Shortly after his return, on 27 February 1920, Monash’s wife, Vic, died.
After the war Monash lead the State Electricity Commission in Victoria for 10 years, spearheaded the development of the Shrine and became Honorary Vice Chancellor of Melbourne University amongst many other community contributions. He stated openly that he wished to give back to the community. Yet by all accounts he remained humble and quietly spoken. You don’t have to make a lot of noise to be effective. His was the life of conviction, commitment and selfless service to Australia.
A war memorial in Melbourne was proposed as soon as the war ended in November 1918. In the early 1920s the Victorian state government appointed the War Memorials Advisory Committee, chaired by Sir Baldwin Spencer, which recommended an “arch of victory” over St Kilda Road. In August 1921 an executive committee was formed, with the former commander of the Australian forces in the war, General Sir John Monash, as its driving force. Monash, who was also an engineer, took personal charge of the construction of the Shrine, which began in 1928 and was handled by the contractors Vaughan & Lodge. Monash died in 1931, before the Shrine was finished, but the Shrine was the cause “closest to his heart” in his later years. John Monash is remembered today not only by his legacy of the Shrine, but also commemorated by Monash University and is the face on one side of the Australian $100 banknote.
Sir John Monash died in Melbourne on 8 October 1931 from a heart attack, and he was given a state funeral. An estimated 300,000 mourners, the nation's largest funeral crowd to that time, came to pay their respects. After a Jewish service, and a 17-gun salute, he was buried in Brighton General Cemetery. In a final sign of humility, despite his achievements, honours and titles, he instructed that his tombstone simply bear the words "John Monash". He was survived by his daughter, Bertha (1893–1979).
Monash's life should be a lasting inspiration to all Australians. In the Great Depression he declined to lead a coup, saying the only hope for Australia is the ballot box and good education.
Monash said ‘Adopt as your fundamental creed that you will equip yourself for life, not solely for your own benefit, but for the benefit of the whole community’. Building the nation in lifelong learning was his credo. Let us remember what Australian sailors, soldiers and airmen have sacrificed to allow Australia to grow in peace and prosperity as a vibrant multicultural democracy.
Note: Quote from Roland Perry “Having done more research [including on German and Canadian data] in the last year covering John Monash's impact, I am even further convinced of Monash's stand-out impact.”
Saluting Monash Council has had funds donated by the Reserve Forces Day Council in NSW and personal donations. SMC would like your assistance with fund raising or a donation to assist the work of the Council over the next two years.
New Medallions have been struck to assist this campaign and remember the brilliance of General Sir John Monash. To date, there has been no financial assistance and your support is needed.
21 August 2016
What: The National Launch of the Saluting Monash Council
Objective: To have Sir John Monash GCMG KCB VD posthumously awarded the rank of Field Marshal by the Centenary of the end of WWI on 11 November 2018.
When: Sunday 6th of November 2016, 10.00am – 12.00 noon
Where: In the Auditorium of the Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne
Who: Speakers at the Launch will include:
Prof Roland Perry OAM F Monash, Patron SMC
The Hon Tim Fischer AC, Chair SMC
Dr Judy Landau, Deputy Chair SMC