Labour Activists of Brunswick and Coburg
Many of the labour activists central to the anti-conscription campaigns were located in Brunswick and Coburg. These included parliamentarians Frank Anstey and Maurice Blackburn, and trade unionists John Curtin and Frank Hyett.
Frank Anstey was Member of the House of Representatives for Bourke, the electorate that covered Brunswick and Coburg. He was also mentor for Curtin and Hyett, and it was in the Anstey circle that opposition to conscription within the ALP and union movements was first developed. Anstey sat on the executive of the national Trade Union Anti-conscription Committee, and produced several pamphlets and newspapers outlining his opposition to the war and conscription.
John Curtin was Anstey’s special protege and became the Secretary for the national anti-conscription committee. In this role he was vital for running the campaign. He was particularly noted for his journalistic skills in writing, while he also authorised some of the most important items of the campaign, such as the ‘Blood Vote’ handbill.
Frank Hyett was the Secretary of the Victoria Railway Union. In this role, and on the Victorian Trades Hall Council, Hyett was an important anti-conscriptionist. This was especially so after John Curtin departed for Western Australia at the beginning of 1917.
Maurice Blackburn, who during the war represented part of Coburg in the state parliament, and later succeeded Anstey in federal parliament, had a particularly important role in organising opposition to conscription within the ALP itself. Without this work it is likely that conscription would have been introduced without a referendum.
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.