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Paul Byrnes - The Lost Boys


In the First World War, thousands of boys across Australia and New Zealand lied about their age, forged a parent’s signature and left to fight on the other side of the world. Though some were as young as thirteen, they soon found they could die as well as any man. Like Peter Pan’s lost boys, they have remained forever young. Historian Paul Byrnes has captured some of their stories in The Lost Boys.

This extraordinary book captures the incredible and previously untold stories of forty Anzac boys who fought in the First World War, from Gallipoli to the Armistice. Featuring haunting images of the boys taken at training camps and behind the lines, these tales are both heartbreaking and rousing, full of daring, ingenuity, recklessness, random horror and capricious luck.

A unique perspective on the First World War, The Lost Boys is military history made deeply personal, a powerful homage to youthful bravery and a poignant reminder of the sacrifice of war.

Meet Paul in conversation with ANU School of History researcher Emily Gallagher

Tickets: $15 (includes a complimentary glass of wine or juice)


Paul Byrnes joined The Sydney Morning Herald in 1976, reporting from various corners of the world for a decade, before specialising as a feature writer and film critic. He was director of the Sydney Film Festival for ten years, until 1998. In 2007, he won the Pascall Prize, Australia’s highest award for critical writing in the arts. This book is the result of a lifelong interest in the First World War. He lives in Australia and France.


Emily Gallagher is a PhD Candidate of the ANU’s School of History. Her research focuses on the history of children’s imaginations in Australia during the twentieth century. Alongside her research, Emily was the editor of the ANU Historical Journal II (2017-19) and has reviewed with a number of literary magazines including the Times Literary Supplement, Inside Story, Honest History, The Monthly and Australian Book Review.

Earlier Event: November 2
Jessica White - Hearing Maud