Photograph - Free John Zarb
'A march in Sydney Road towards Pentridge in support of John Zarb, who was imprisoned for refusing to serve in Vietnam',
State Library of Victoria,
Used with permission.Copyright
State Library Of Victoria
This photograph shows a march up Sydney Road through Brunswick and Coburg to Pentridge Prison to demand the release of John Zarb.
In 1964 conscription for overseas service was implemented in Australia. The first conscripts were recruited by ballot in March 1965. The primary context for conscription at this time was the Vietnam War. Australian conscripts were first sent there in 1966. By the time conscription ended in 1972, 63,000 men had been conscripted and over 19,000 had been sent to Vietnam. Of those conscripts, 200 were killed.
The Vietnam War became increasingly unpopular through the 1960s and anti-war and anti-conscription campaigns became a major feature of Australian politics. Again, Pentridge Prison in Coburg was an important site for these campaigns.
Up until 1968, conscientious objectors were sent to military prisons. In May of that year the law was changed to send them to civilian gaols.
John Zarb was a Melbourne postman who was the first to be sent to a civilian gaol after refusing to comply with a call up notice. He spent over a year in Pentridge Prison in Coburg. Throughout 1968 and 1969, there were vigorous solidarity campaigns on behalf of gaoled objectors like Zarb. Demonstrations and vigils outside the gaol were almost weekly events and the slogan ‘Free Zarb’ became a common sight on walls and railway sidings around Melbourne.
Australia and World War One
Photograph - Send-off to the Brunswick Soldiers
Photograph - Brunswick Town Hall Honour Board
Memorial Plaque - Leonard William Telford
Poster - 'Australia has Promised Britain 50,000 More Men'
Labour Activists of Brunswick and Coburg
Photograph - Frank Anstey
Photograph - John Curtin
Photograph - Frank Hyett
Photograph - Maurice Blackburn
The Trade Unions' Anti-conscription Campaign
Handbill - 'The Blood Vote'
Cartoon - 'The Charge of the Would to God Brigade'
Handbill - Slave Conspiracy
The Women's Movement During the War
Photograph - Vida Goldstein
Photograph - Adela Pankhurst
Handbill - Conscription and Woman's Loyalty
Photograph - 'Women's No Conscription Demonstration'
Bella Lavender - Brunswick Campaigner
Photograph - Bella Lavender
Cartoon - Bella Lavender
Letter - Bella Lavender to Education Department
Photograph - Labor Women's Anti-conscription Committee
Religious Perspectives on Conscription
Handbill - Conscription and Christianity
Handbill - Conscription Questions for Voters
Handbill - How Would Christ Vote?
The Catholic Church and Conscription
Photograph - Daniel Mannix
Article - Cause of the War
Article - Revolt Victims
Cartoon - Australian Workman's Burden
Brunswick and Coburg During the Campaigns
Article - No Anti-conscription Meetings in Brunswick
Handbill - Public Meeting Against Conscription
Advertisement - Recruitment Meeting
Article - Remarkably Quiet Day
The Two Referendums
Handbill - Vote Thus Against Conscription
Article - Military Service Referendum Poll
Article - Conscription. Mr Hughes in Queensland
Article - 'Bourke'
The Soldiers' Votes
Diary - Claude Ewart
Photograph - Jack and Bert Grinton
Handbill - Returned Soldiers' No Conscription League Manifesto
Photograph - Soldiers Voting
Consequences for the Campaigners
Inscription - Police Just Raided
Article - 'Failure to Enrol'
Letter - Adela Pankhurst to Sallie Walsh
Article - 'Serenading Miss Pankhurst'
Story education resources
Education Against the Odds: The Victory over Conscription in WW1 Education Resource
The Against The Odds Education Resource provides a stimulating range of activities for students undertaking the compulsory Victorian History Curriculum Level 9/10 unit Australia at war (1914 – 1945). It helps students reflect on the complexities of the conscription debate through a range of analytical, creative and research tasks.
Education Against the Odds: The Victory over Conscription in WW1 Walking Map
The Against the Odds: The Victory over Conscription in WW1 Walking Map is a map of some of the sites described in the digital story or related to individuals therein. Download the map to use it for a self-guided tour in the area.