AGAINST THE ODDS: the victory over conscription during WWI

In October 1916 and December 1917 two contentious referendums were held in Australia, asking whether the Commonwealth government should be given the power to conscript young men into military service and send them to war overseas.

As a part of Culture Victoria's online exhibition, Against the Odds: The Victory Over Conscription in World War One, I made an 11-minute documentary that features as the centrepiece to this digital story. 

The anti-conscription campaigns were momentous and their legacy long-lasting. This is the only time in history that citizens of a country have been asked their opinion on such a question, and the decisive 'No' vote that was returned remains the greatest success of the peace movement in Australia to date.

Many of the actors and events that were central to these campaigns were based in the northern Melbourne suburbs of Brunswick and Coburg. In many ways, these localities were a microcosm of the entire campaign. Against the Odds: The Victory Over Conscription in World War One tells the story of the anti-conscription movement through this lens. 

Explore the exhibition and watch the film here.

The History Teachers' Association of Victoria will be releasing a study guide to accompany the digital story.