Testing a New Nation
Ms. Faye Quinn. Caulfield Grammar School, Wheelers Hill Campus
Key words used
Change (did/did not)
National identity
• Nationalism - a devotion and loyalty to
one’s own country.
• Debate-a formal discussion in which
opposing views are expressed.
• Conscription- to military service is a
system whereby the state requires all
men (and in a few cases women) to
serve a period in the armed forces.
• Referendum-a vote in which all the people in a
country are officially asked whether they agree
with a policy or proposal.
• Social Cohesion-people of the same country or
region that have the same aim in sticking together
or being united.
• British Loyalty- a person who remains firm in their
support for their particular government-British.
Answers question
How do I write an Essay?
Introduction: argument. To what extent do you agree with the
• Paragraph:
1. Topic sentence with key idea that relates to the introduction and
answers the question.
2. Evidence: Content, historians views-quotes and representations.
Representations (statistics, posters, poems, quotes from
individuals/groups) need the name, date and an explanation of how it
relates to the argument/key idea in the topic sentence. Bias/the way
it has been interpreted by the author. Compare and contrast the
images and accounts. How are they similar or different when
contributing to the argument?
• Conclusion: a strong argument. What is your overall argument? Have
you responded to the essay question. A piece or two of evidence to
make the overall argument strong.
Trade Unions strongly opposed conscription during the crisis
of World War I for economic reasons in 1914 and 1915. This is
because if conscription went ahead the unemployment levels
in society would rise and therefore cause the economy to
drop, making living difficult and conditions of living poor due to
the inflation of prices. ‘Economic impact of war was immediate
and significant with 12,000 people in NSW losing jobs in 1914
due to the contribution to war’. This reasoning made people
begin to wonder why the country was at war. In 1917, this
economic focus of opposition to turned and became a class
war focus. Unionists believed that conscription would be unfair
and that more working class citizens would be conscripted
than wealthy citizens. This caused an aggressive,
uncompromising and hostile attitude emerging from unionists
towards Hughes in 1917. At this time, the social unrest and
economic hardship caused the largest industrial action in
Australian history. This was evident in 1917 where 97,550
workers went on strike and created tensions within society,
causing separation in unity.
The chosen crisis and ways in which Australians
responded to the Crisis
The chosen crisis and the ways in which
to that crisis;
• To identify
the crisis
World War.
• How did Australia become
involved? Alliance with
Britain, A brief explanation.
• How did Australia respond in
the early stages of the
War? E.g. War Precautions,
Gallipoli, enlistments and
commitment of troops,
government attitudes.
• Why did men enlist? How does this relate to
being a citizen?
• How did the ANZAC legend relate to being
Australian and part of a nation? Was this
unifying for society? What was the impact of
of the Gallipoli to enlistment numbers?
War Precautions Act
• The War Precautions Act gave the
Commonwealth Government weight in two
main areas. It could make laws that were
normally not within its prerogative -- so in
effect the Constitution which normally limited
the Commonwealth’s power was suspended
for the duration of the war and six months
• The other great change was that
many of these new powers
available to the Commonwealth
were able to be exercisable under
Regulation, meaning that
parliament did not have to pass
the law, all it required was a
document prepared by the
relevant Minister, and signed by
the Governor-General.
• So in effect parliament lost
much of its control during the
war, and laws were made by a
few Ministers.
• some of the major activities carried out under
the authority of the War Precautions Act by the
Commonwealth were:
• passing Trading With the Enemy Acts that
cancelled existing commercial contracts with
firms in enemy countries;
• creating loans to raise money for the war;
• taking on power to tax incomes -- they shared
this with the States, who previously had this
power for themselves;
• fixing the price of many goods -- something that
the Constitution did not give the Commonwealth
the prerogative to do normally;
• interning (locking up) without trial people who
were born in or had an association with enemy
• compulsorily buying farmers’ wheat and wool
crops; and
• censoring publications and letters.
The extent to which the cohesion of Australian
society maintained or redefined by the
experience of the crisis
• What impact did Gallipoli have on the
home front within Australia? Statistics
relating to enlistment, recruitment
• What was conscription?
• Why was it needed? How does it relate
to British loyalty and Australian
• What was the impact of causalities at
the Western Front (1916) in relation
to enlistment numbers?
• Was the experience at Western Front
the turning point for the call by
Hughes for conscription?
• 1914-50,000 men volunteered
• 1916-160,000
• 1916-British War Office requested
32,000 for September and 16,500 for
each month after
• Between July and November 191628,000 AIF had died, 58,000 wounded
at first Battle of the Somme
• 1916 July- Hughes announced a
referendum based on conscription
• 1917/1918 for each month only 5,000
men volunteered each month.
Text: Imaging Australia Australian History VCE Units 3 &
4 by Sarah Miriams, Maryellen Davidson and Sue
Billy Hughes
• Who was Hughes?
• Why did he want
"I'll Have You"
[The Prime Minister, William Morris Hughes,
depicted in Claude Marquet's illustration, in
the Australian Worker, 13 December 1917]
What arguments were present by
groups/individuals that divided society?
Catholics and Archbishop
• Unions
Archbishop Mannix
• The Industrial Workers of the World (the
• A political, industrial revolutionary group
founded in Chicago in 1905.
• Wobblies were recruited from foreign ,
unskilled or iterant workers who aspired to
unwritten all ‘the class-conscious’ workers in
‘one big union’.
• The basic belief was that the
working class and the capitalist
had nothing in common and that
as long as millions of workers
were in want, while their
exploiters lived in affluence, there
would be no peace between the
two classes.
• Wobblies placed heavy emphasis
on strike action and industrial
• The Wobblies were against the capitalists and
felt that the’ war to end all wars’ was just a
sordid struggle between rival groups of
capitalists for the commercial and industrial
supremacy of the world.
• They were anti-war, anti-conscription, antiimperialist.
• Conscription was for the war effort and
‘…automatically enforce industrial conscription in
the workshop, the mine, the factory and on the
wharf; and conscription would place military law
above civil law, paralyze the biggest efforts of
organized labor and lead to industrial coercion.
(Baker Ann, 1983, The doctrines, activities and the character of the Industrial
Workers of the World, Agora, August.)
• Hughes as Labour Prime
Minister wanted
conscription at all costs
for the war effort.
• Unions began to
distrust Hughes and the
Labour Party.
Prime Minister William
Morris Hughes.
• 1917 many unionists began to think less of
addressing economic grievances and more of
a class war.
• Unionists felt that the ‘parasites, patriots
were usually wealthy, Protestant and strong
supporters of Hughes, the Empire and the
• Such conservatives viewed wartime strikes as
violating the virtues of discipline, sacrifice and
loyalty. Strikers were the ‘enemy within’.
• As Hughes stated at the Sydney Town Hall on 4
August 1917 ‘Strikers were equally as disloyal and
equally as cowardly as those Russians who dropped
their arms and fled before the enemy’.
• Unions had changed from being cooperative and
subdued in 1914-15 to being aggressive and
uncompromising by 1917.
• The class argument was strong.
• Conservatives whose views related to that in
Europe and impatience towards the strikes and a
greater sense of punishing the strikers.
• 1917 2nd August, the NSW
nationalist government
attempted to enforce a time
card system on employees
at Randwick tramway
• Meat workers, wharf
labourers left their jobs like
• Strike involved 95,000 men.
• The NSW government took a
stand by recruiting volunteer
labour. 6,000 loyalists workers
replaced the unionists.
• Governments saw the situation
as ‘Servile slaves of the Kaiser’
• Strike represented politically
directed warfare.
• After 6 weeks the strike had
been smashed and strikers had
been forced to surrender
• Therefore the strike demonstrated a
disillusionment, anger, hatred towards the
Hughes Government and labour.
• Hence, when the referendum was put
forward, there was little support by the
unions for the conscription issue.
(Deery P., 1989, Unions and government during the Great War, Readings in Senior
History, No 10.)
Women’s view
• Women took an active part in recruitment campaigns
throughout the war but were particularly obvious
during the conscription referendum campaign.
• Many of the arguments of both sides were aimed at
influencing women’s vote.
• Others attempted to have an active, rather than
passive, influence. The campaign for women’s vote
was not at first organized as it was to become in
‘Yes’ Campaign by Women
Women’s Christian Temperance Union
• Opposed conscription before the war but changed its attitude
because of the increase in its membership i.e. middleclass
• Concerned with the issue of alcohol and believed that
conscription would lessen the incidence of drunkenness.
• Felt that the mothers had grit in sending in their sons to war
• To address the slackers who had not volunteered
• To address the issue of manhood.
‘No’ Campaign by Women
Kate Dwyer’s article ‘Women’s Part’
• ‘You wives and mothers of men, you give to the world that
once taken and can never be restored-life’
• ‘…The enslavement of manhood-conscription of flesh and
• You mothers will know the thrills of joy, and the delights of
youth and life-and the glory of parenthood.’
• Let them (men) decide their own destinies-their innate right to
a full life.
Why did the rural sector vote ‘no’ to
• Fearful of the shortage of labour.
• Many farmers had failed to due their duty due
to mundane, practical and immediate reasons
ie pressing needs for crops, shear the sheep
and milk the cows in a countryside depleted
by a shortage of labour.
• Farmers had been destroyed
by two years of voluntary
• Timing of the 1916
referendum was during the
height of the agricultural
season ie fruit and milking.
• Hughes felt that the farmers had benefited from the war
by overseas markets and the contributions to the war
• State and Wartime measures to protect the public by
fixing the prices of essential commodities were seen as
an attack on primary producers.
• Expenditure cuts in the areas of public works
and railways denied many country people their
usual sources of off-season work.
• Farmers resented government ‘interference’
especially by a ‘socialist’ government, droughts
of 1913-1915 and war –induced disruptions had
brought home to the farmers his doubt on
relying on governments
• In South Australia, where there was a higher
percentage of German farmers, they voted
‘no’. They were concerned their way of life,
and smarting under the suspicions and
harassments of wartime, voters responded
negatively at the ballot box.
(Historical Studies, 1985, Farmers and the rural vote in South Australia in World War 1:
The 1916 conscription referendum, Vol. 21., No. 84)
The extent to which the crisis shook old
certainties and provided opportunities for people
to argue for change
• Old certainties were shaken via the referendums 1916 and 1917 due
to the divisive nature of conscription.
• Insert some key results form the referendums to highlight divisive
• People questioned why be involved in a war especially for Britain so
loyalty towards Britain was challenged- argument for change
• Nationalism had emerged and solidified with the ANZAC Legend.
• Need quotes from Ashmead-Barlett and C.E. W. Bean. To highlight
characteristics of the ANZAC Legend
• Use the cover of the ANZAC Book by C.E. W. bean to highlight this.
• Gallipoli was the ‘glue’ that united Australia despite the conscription
• Also discuss the qualities ( mateship, determination etc.) of what it
meant to be Australian as a result of Gallipoli- argument for change a
new, unique type of Australian- a white Australian
2005 VCAA Exam
‘The cohesion of Australian society was
significantly redefined by the experience of
World War I..
To what extent do you agree?
2006 VCAA Exam
‘During World War I, deep divisions in
Australian society were clearly revealed and
these could not be
To what extent do you agree?
2007 VCAA Exam
‘Divisions in society virtually disappeared
during the crisis of World War I. All were
united in a common cause.’
To what extent do you agree?
2008 VCAA Exam
‘After a period of early unity, the crisis of
World War I produced widespread debate.
This resulted in a great deal of change in
Australian society.’ To what extent do you
2009 VCAA Exam
‘Australian society did not change
significantly during World War I.’
To what extent do you agree with this
2010 VCAA Exam
‘Australians responded to World War I
with a mixture of pride and uncertainty.’
To what extent do you agree with this
2011 VCAA Exam
‘The crisis of World War I led to the
development of an Australian national
identity and a move away from
loyalty to the British Empire.’ To what
extent do you agree with this
2012 VCAA Exam
‘Debates, such as those on conscription
2012 VCAA Exam
‘Debates, such as those on conscription, indicated that deep divisions
had emerged in Australian society during World War 1.’
To what extent do you agree with this statement?
2013 VCAA Exam

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