Posted on Apr 24, 2018

Andrew Joseph, great nephew of General Sir John Monash has written an insightful play Monash in Love, and war - the private life of John Monash. And it’s currently being produced by our lunch time speaker Neil Cole.  (At Chapel Off Chapel 24 Aug – 6 May.)
We all know something about John Monash; and, following Neil’s fascinating discourse, each of us now knows more.  Monash’s amazing talents and activities have given rise to substantial biographies; so I will record only the best of the stuff that was, from Neil's talk, new to me:
  • Monash was a huge self-promoter, personally sending news straight to Australian newspapers.
  • This self-promotion set him at odds with both Charles Bean (official war correspondent) and Keith Murdoch (newspaper proprietor and reporter).
  • Bean and Murdoch lobbied the Australian Government to back Brindle White rather than Monash for promotion; but Billy Hughes backed Monash.
  • Monash, himself a Jew, had a wife to whom he wrote a torrent of detailed, fascinating letters.  But he had ongoing affairs with a non-Jewish woman, and with his wife’s best friend!
  • In 1931 was Monash overlooked to become Governor General by virtue of his Jewishness?  Surely not, because it was another Jew – Isaac Isaacs – who got the gig. 
  • One very current political issue is “let’s retrospectively promote Monash to the rank of Field Marshall.”  So why did this not happen at the end of WW1?  Inevitably, there’s no single, clear answer!