The 200th anniversary celebrations of Nelson's death and the Battle of Trafalgar - what a wonderful day.
There, gathered in a Conference Room at Sydney’s world class Australian National Maritime Museum, 200 Nelson and Trafalgar buffs (yours truly included) joined together to hear speakers talk of Nelson, his life, his times and his beloved Royal Navy.
The Conference speakers and their topics were:
• “Nelson- the greatest fighting Captain in history” – delivered by Lt Tom Lewis OAM RAN , a currently serving naval officer with a PhD in Military Political History. He was awarded an Order of Australia for meritorious service to the Royal Australian Navy, particularly in the promotion of Australian naval history. He is the author of five books, including the best selling A War at Home.
• “Nelson’s last walk” –delivered by Peter Poland, the President of the Woollahra History and Heritage Society, an ex-Royal Navy officer and published author of several books including The Right Honourable George Rose.
• “The Chosen few- Nelson’s band of Brothers”- delivered by Midshipman Bernard Dobson RAN who is currently serving in the RAN, studying naval history at ADFA in Canberra and is working on a major research project on Nelson’s captains. He is a member of the United States Naval Institute, the Navy Records Society and a councillor for the Australian Naval Institute.
• “The cult of the hero – Nelson and Bronte”- delivered by Peter Tesoriero who has served as President of the Italian Historical Society of NSW. In 1998 he presented the museum’s highly successful Italian day of “Cheers Fears and Tears”. He is a Member of the ANMM.
• “Re-evaluating the Battle of Trafalgar” – presented by Dr Gregory P Gilbert who completed his PhD through Macquarie University and is currently a Research Officer in the Sea Power Centre – Australia. He has recently specialised in the archaeology and anthropology of warfare, being attached to the University of Durham.
All speakers knew their subjects and whilst a couple tended to deliver a rather academic dissertation, when “question time” came about following their address, the passion in them kicked in, and in the case of Peter Tesoriero, lively became the operative word.
Much of Nelson's career is both well known and repeated, but the feature I found most interesting — and I guess given that Nelson looms large in many of my Keynote addresses, especially to business groups — was the overall agreement that he was, despite his faults, a leader of consummate ability and we could do a lot worse in many aspects of today’s world, in both politics and business, than emulate many of his traits and lines of thoughts.