General Sir John Monash GCMG KCB VD is widely acknowledged as one of the great Australians. He was Australia’s outstanding military and civilian leader as well as a great contributor to Australian life. Born to German Jewish parents in 1865 in Melbourne, Monash was Dux (jointly) of Melbourne’s Scotch College. He graduated from The University of Melbourne with degrees of a Master of Engineering in 1893, a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Law in 1895, and a Doctor of Engineering in 1921.
Before the Great War, Sir John Monash worked as an engineer in Melbourne where he was recognised as an innovator in the use of reinforced concrete. During the First World War, he led a brigade at Gallipoli and was noted for his brilliant command of the Australian Army Corps in France which resulted in a number of major victories that are credited with having shortened the course of the Great War. Post-war, Sir John Monash was the first General Manager of the State Electricity Commission of Victoria. Later he became the Vice-Chancellor of The University of Melbourne.
As well as being a founding member of the Rotary Club of Melbourne, Australia’s first Rotary Club, he was also the founding president of the Zionist Federation of Australia and New Zealand. Sir John Monash, who was one of the principal organisers of the annual observance of ANZAC Day, as well as an advocate for Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance, died in 1931. His State Funeral was attended by an estimated 300,000 mourners who came to pay their respects to a great Australian.
Monash Family Migrates to Australia
Monash’s parents, Louis Monash and Bertha Manasse migrate from Prussia to Melbourne.
Monash was Born
John Monash born on 27 June 1865 in Melbourne.
Attends Scotch College
At age 16, he graduates Dux (equal) Scotch College.
Enters Melbourne University
Begins his engineering studies.
Interest in the military
Monash joins the university company of the militia.
Engineering career begins
Interrupted study, begins working for David Munro who operates the largest engineering workshop in Australia.
Monash a lieutenant
Made lieutenant in the North Melbourne battery militia unit.
Monash builds Melbourne railway
Oversees Melbourne’s Outer Circle Railway Line.
On 8 April 1891, Monash marries Hannah Victoria Moss (1871–1920)
Monash’s first and only child Bertha Monash is born in 1893.
Furthers engineering career
Monash works as a civil engineer, playing a major role in introducing reinforced concrete to Australian engineering practice.
Graduates from the University of Melbourne: a Master of Engineering
JT Anderson partnership
Enters into partnership with JT Anderson as consultants and contractors.
Graduates with two more degrees
Monash graduates from Melbourne University: a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Law.
Military career moves forward
Becomes a Major of the North Melbourne Battery.
Engineering career flourishes
Forms Reinforced Concrete and Monier Pipe Construction Co Ltd.
Made a lieutenant-colonel in the intelligence corps.
Major step forward for military career
Commands the Victorian section of the Australian Intelligence Corps.
Colonel of 13th Infantry Brigade
Monash is a colonel commanding the 13th Infantry Brigade.
Monash goes to war
Appointed commander 4th Infantry Brigade, AIF, Gallipoli.
Military career strives ahead
Made Major-General, commanding 3rd Australian Division in France. Monash trains the division in England with the minutest attention to detail, after which division is sent to the Western Front in November 1916.
Battle of Messines
Monash is involved in many battles including Messines, Broodseinde, and the First Battle of Passchendaele. The British High Command is impressed by Monash’s abilities and enthusiasm.
Battle of Le Hamel, Amiens; knighted in the field
May 1918, Monash is promoted to lieutenant general and made commander of the Australian Corps. The battle of Le Hamel was a strong, significant victory for the Allies, the first decisive win for the British Army of the war.
War is over
Monash leading Australian troops in London victory march on 19 July 1919 (Australian War Memorial Negative No. D00829).
Role at the SEC
Monash is appointed General Manager, State Electricity Commission.
Education still developing
Monash obtains a Doctor of Engineering.
Founding member of the Rotary Club of Melbourne, Australia’s first Rotary Club.
Appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne
Role in the Shrine of Remembrance
Monash uses the ANZAC Day march to garner support for the Shrine of Remembrance. The Shrine was officially dedicated on 11 November 1934.
Monash dies in Melbourne on 8 October 1931 from a heart attack and is given a state funeral. An estimated 300,000 mourners, the nation’s largest funeral crowd to that time, came to pay their respects.