Photograph - Frank Hyett
'The Historians of Our Decade', Socialist, 27 August, 1915, p. 1Contributors
Frank Hyett was one of the most important labour activists in the anti-conscription campaigns. He was particularly prominent during the second referendum, after John Curtin had moved to Western Australia.
Frank Hyett was of a similar age to his friend John Curtin, being just three years older, and had a similar upbringing. When Hyett’s family moved to Brunswick and Coburg they were poor, and supported only by Hyett’s mother (Hyett’s father died while Frank was still a baby). Frank Hyett also left school early to find work, and was drawn into ALP and VSP politics through Frank Anstey’s study circle.
Hyett became an organiser for the Amalgamated Society of Railway Employees in 1910, and soon after helped form the Victorian Railway Union, of which he was General Secretary. Hyett proved to be very successful in these roles. He achieved important industrial outcomes for his members, including the formation of a wages board by the railway service.
He also managed to make the VRU an important part of the anti-conscription campaign. Railway workers became significant fundraisers for the campaign, and the VRU newspaper an important vehicle for anti-conscription articles. The distribution of campaign materials by railway workers was particularly important, given the authorities' attempts to censor and seize such material.
The Victorian Trades Hall was one of the major organisations to oppose conscription, and Hyett had a prominent role on the Council. Through these trade union positions and following John Curtin’s departure to Western Australia, Frank Hyett became one of the most important organisers for the anti-conscription campaign in Victoria, especially during campaigning on the 1917 Conscription Referendum.
Frank Hyett died suddenly after the war in 1919 as a consequence of the 1918-19 Spanish Influenza global pandemic that spread from the military staging camps and claimed some 50 million lives worldwide. Over 5000 people attended his funeral. When his funeral train passed Glenferrie Oval a football match was in progress. The game spontaneously stopped while all at the ground stood in respect for the popular railways unionist, activist and sportsman.
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.