Grappling with the Bomb - Britain's Nuclear Pacific

Dyason House, 124 Jolimont Road, East Melbourne, Victoria, 3002,

Speaker: Nic Maclellan, journalist and researcher

In April 1958, Britain exploded a hydrogen bomb above Christmas (Kiritimati) island, witnessed by hundreds of British, New Zealand and Fijian military personnel, as well as Gilbertese labourers and their families. Sixty years on, our Pacific neighbours are living with the health and environmental consequences of Operation Grapple - the UK atmospheric nuclear tests at Christmas Island and Malden Island.

On the 60th anniversary of Britain’s hydrogen bomb tests in Kiribati, the issue of nuclear proliferation is returning to the international agenda: Kim Jung-un has threatened missile launches into the Pacific; Donald Trump is modernising the US nuclear arsenal and threatening “fire and fury” on Korea; the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICANi) was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize and a new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted by 122 countries in July 2017 – with Australia refusing to join the negotiations.

AIIA Victoria is delighted to welcome Nic Maclellan, the author of Grappling with the Bomb (ANU Press, 2017), a new history of Britain’s nuclear testing in the Pacific. He will discuss the development of the UK nuclear arsenal in the 1950s, but also contemporary developments, such as the push for a nuclear-free Scotland and Britain’s 2017 withdrawal from compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice on matters related to nuclear weapons.

 Nic Maclellan is a correspondent for Islands Business magazine (Fiji) and works as a journalist and researcher in the Pacific islands. He was awarded the “Outstanding Contribution to the Sector” award by the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) in 2015. His latest book Grappling with the Bomb – a history of British nuclear testing in the Pacific – was published in October 2017 by ANU Press. (Copies of the book will be available for sale, and for signing by the author, at the event).

 AIIA Victoria gratefully acknowledges the Walter Mangold Trust Fund for their support of our young members.

 To download the pdf flyer, please click here