Kathryn Spurling – Fire at Sea – HMAS Westralia 1998

Published 2018 by Elephant Tree Publishing/Missing Pages Books

Cover of Kathryn Spurling's book Fire at Sea: HMAS Westralia 1998

Dr Kathryn Spurling is the author of eight books of Australian military history. This most recent recounts the tragedy of the fire on the Westralia in 1998 that took the lives of four young Naval personnel.

In his foreword Bernard Collaery, lawyer to the families whose children we killed, says: ‘getting behind the smokescreens of alleged systems failures to identify those who were individually responsible is like getting behind the veil of secrecy at the Vatican.’

Whilst this book is an objectively told history of a tragic event in Australian Naval history, it also holds a deep personal connection for the author who taught Midshipman Megan Pelly whilst tutoring and lecturing in the School of History University of NSW and who gave her a congratulatory handshake just six months before she died in the Westralia fire.

The book is highly commended to those interested in military history and issues of social justice. Find out more about Kathryn Spurling at https://www.elephanttreepublishing.com.au/authors/

Listen to Barbie’s interview with Kathryn Spurling