For Major-General Mike O'Brien, poetry is a gateway to the past.
"Literature generally, and poetry specifically, is a great way to remember our history," General O'Brien said. "I think poetry has the great ability to sit in our minds and influence us. So I think it's important."
General O'Brien delved into the poetry of the First and Second World Wars at Bendigo's Soldiers Memorial Institute Military Museum on Thursday.
The talk, hosted by the Bendigo District RSL, looked into the lesser-known works of women and other minorities during the first part of the 20th century.
General O'Brien said for years, the works of those who were not British or male were pushed unfairly to the wayside.
"We have to admit that war is not just people fighting each other on the field of battle," he said.
"It's the aftermath that causes trauma to the individuals and, of course, their wider families. And particularly in the First World War, no family in Australia was untouched by war."
"I think that Michael Sharkey's book (Many Such as She) that features in this exhibition is a very good example of wider representation.
"It's brought a lot to light that was unknown. The more it is known, the wider our knowledge is.
Museum curator Kirsten McKay said the talk was the start of a series of Spring events at the museum.
"We will have a book presentation in the coming weeks and also a launch to focus on our major summer exhibition on Colin Colahan, a war artist of the Second World War," Ms McKay said.
"Colin was born in Woodend so there's definitely a link to central Victoria. We've been fortunate to borrow some works from the Australian War Memorial for that exhibition."
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.