Article - No Anti-conscription Meetings in Brunswick
'No Anti-conscription Meetings in Brunswick', Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 15 September 1916 p. 2Contributors
Successive mayors of Brunswick sought to use their powers to suppress anti-conscriptionist activity in the municipality.
The Brunswick City Council had a pro-conscriptionist majority throughout the war. Like all Victorian councils at the time, the Brunswick and Coburg City Councils had a ratepayers' franchise that restricted voting to men. While the franchise was otherwise reasonably broad, it also allowed plural voting where the number of votes a ratepayer had depended on the value of his property. As a consequence well-off ratepayers had more influence at council elections, and the councils were more conservative than the communities they represented. Although represented in state and federal parliament by Labor politicians, in 1914 the Brunswick City Council was dominated by political Liberals.
Councillor Matthew Balfe was Mayor of Brunswick from 1914 to 1916. Although associated with the Labor Party, by 1914 Balfe was pro-Empire and pro-war. Balfe refused to allow anti-conscriptionists to hire the Brunswick Town Hall for meetings. On one occasion in January 1916 when anti-conscriptionists did manage to obtain a booking of the Hall, Mayor Balfe promptly arranged for a recruitment session to be held in the Hall on that night, thus allowing him to cancel the anti-conscription meeting.
Liberal Council Member Councillor David Phillips succeeded Matthew Balfe as Mayor in 1916. Initially he also sought to prohibit all anti-conscription meetings in public spaces of Brunswick, as reported in this newspaper article. However in October 1916 the Council did vote to allow its halls to be used by anti-conscription meetings.
No Anti Conscription Meetings in Brunswick
Reply to Letter by Mayor
We publish herewith a letter from the Secretary of the Brunswick branch of the Political Labor Council of Victoria to Cr. D. Phillips (Mayor of Brunswick), and a copy of letter sent in reply thereto.
Political Labor Council of Victoria. Brunswick Branch.
To the Mayor of Brunswick, Cr. D. Phillips.
Sir, It being the intention of the above branch to prosecute a vigorous campaign in opposition to conscription I have been directed to ask you in your highly respected official capacity of Mayor of this City to grant us permission to hold meetings on the street corners throughout the city to enable us to place our views before the people on this great momentous question. Thanking you in anticipation of a favourable reply. I am etc
P Durnin, Hon. Sec. 14 Howard street Brunswick. September 9th, 1916.
To Mr. P. Durnin, Hon. Secretary, Brunswick Branch P.L.C.
Sir, Yours of the 9th inst. to hand this morning and in reply I may say that I cannot comply with your request re anti-conscription meetings at the street corners throughout our City. I regret to have to take this stand, but I believe I am doing my duty to the British Empire and as Chief Magistrate to the citizens of Brunswick, and to our noble men who have died for us on the battlefield, our brave soldiers who are now in the firing line and those of our soldiers who are now in camp, who have offered their lives to fight for our liberty. And I may further state my individual opinion is that any man or body of men who refuse to back our brave soldiers who are fighting for us and our dear ones are aiding our enemies in every sense of the term, and which I decline to encourage in any way. I am, etc.,
D. Phillips, Mayor of Brunswick. Town Hall, Brunswick, 13th Sept., 1916.
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.