MILITARY CONSCRIPTION
IN AUSTRALIA
DURING WWII

 

The following advertisement in the Queensland Times, twelve days after the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, describes the extent of the initial conscription of Australian men for military service:-

 

Queensland Times Friday 19 December 1941

COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

----------------

ENROLMENT FOR MILITARY SERVICE
IN AUSTRALIA

----------------

In pursuance of Australian Military regulation 141A, all male inhabitants of Australia who at the date at the foot hereof--

(a) are of the age of thirty-five years and upwards, but under forty-five years, and are unmarried, or widowers without children, or

(b) are of the age of eighteen years and upwards but under thirty-five years, and are married or widowers with children.

ARE REQUIRED TO ENROL --

(a) ON OR BEFORE THE TWENTY-THIRD DAY OF DECEMBER, 1941;

or

(b) WITHIN 7 DAYS OF ATTAINING THE AGE OF 18 YEARS.
providing that they
1. Are British subjects
2. Have resided in Australia for six months.
3. Are not temporarily absent from Australia.
4. Are not enlisted in or appointed to the Naval, Military, or Air Forces of Australia.

Any person exempt from enrolment because of one or more of the conditions above set out SHALL ENROL within 7 days of ceasing to be exempt under any of these conditions.

----------------

Enrolment Forms may be obtained at Post Offices or from the Area Officer of any Training Area.

Failure to enrol involves a maximum penalty of 20 or imprisonment for three months.

Issued this Eleventh Day of December, 1941,

By Command of the Military Board.
C.B. LAFFAN
Secretary to the Military Board

----------------

Enrolment Forms on being filled in by the persons enrolling, must be handed to the Official in charge of the nearest Post Office, or posted to the Area Officer of the Training Area in which the person resides.

All places at which a Post Office is established are appointed as places for enrolment, and every Post Office supplied with enrolment forms.

Enquiries should be made at the Area Office of the Training Area in which a person resides.

Addresses of the Area Officers are as follows:-

Area                             Address

Bde. H.Q., 7 Bde. Area: Drill Hall, Wellington-road, East Brisbane

9A.: Drill Hall, Water-street, Valley, Brisbane

9B.: Drill Hall, Price-street, Nambour

15.: Drill Hall, Dudley-street, Annerley, S. Brisbane

25A.: Drill Hall, Margaret-street, Toowoomba

49A.: Drill Hall, Kelvin Grove, Brisbane

49B.: Drill Hall, Milford and Park Streets, Ipswich

42A.: Drill Hall, Archer-street, Rockhampton

47A.: Drill Hall, Sussex and Lennox Streets, Maryborough

Bde. H.Q., 11 Bde. Area: Drill Hall, Denham-street, Townsville

26B.: Drill Hall, Grey-street, Hughenden

31A.: E.S.C.A. Blg., Sturt-street, Townsville

Sub-Area 42: Drill, Albert and Nelson Streets, Mackay

51A.: Drill Hall, Sacks and Lake Streets, Cairns

26C.: Shire Hall, Eagle-street, Longreach

ALEC M. FORBES, Colonel
Officer i/c Administration
       Northern Command

472

 

This following article in The Courier- Mail (Brisbane) describes the next stage of conscription that was introduced to establish a Labour Corps.

 

The Courier Mail (Brisbane), Saturday 7 March 1942

MEN UP TO 60 CALLED
TO ENROL FOR
ARMY SERVICE

IMPORTANT first step in plans to call up large numbers of men for national service in labour corps is a proclamation issued yesterday calling on all men liable to military service under the Defence Act to register for service.

Effect of the proclamation is that every man in Australia up to the age of 60, who has not already registered for earlier call-ups, will be compelled to register within seven days.

All men in classes four and five, as defined by the Defence Act, are affected. Class four comprises married men or widowers with children, aged between 35 and 45. Class five comprises all men, married or single, between 45 and 60.

Classes one, two, and three, which comprise respectively single men from 18 to 35, single men from 35 to 45, and married men from 18 to 35, have already registered.

Get Ample Notice
The Army Minister (Mr. Forde) said in Canberra yesterday that registration did not mean that the men would be automatically called up for service. Men concerned would be given ample notice of when they would be required to present themselves for medical examination.

The Government would demand complete registration, and all defaulters would be prosecuted. Enrolment forms were available at all post offices.

It is extremely unlikely that any men from the two new age groups will be called up for actual army service immediately. Mr. Forde has already intimated that the number of men from class three who will be required in the near future will be relatively small.

Date Deciding Age
For the purpose of the new registration yesterday (March 6) was fixed as the deciding date of the age groups. Registration has to be completed on or before March 13. Forms will be avail-able to-day at Queensland post offices and area offices. When completed they should be re-turned to area officers in the district in which the man lives.

Area offices in Brisbane are: 9th, Water Street. Valley; 15th. Dudley Street, Annerley; 61st, Kelvin Grove.

Failure to enrol involves a penalty of 20 or three months imprisonment.

Northern Command said yesterday that this was a call to register for service. Next step would be the medical examination. When that was complete the army would know the number of fit men in the classes available for service when required.

In Queensland men of Class 1 are still being drawn on for duty. Medical examination of Classes 2 and 3 is proceeding.

Plan For Labour Corps

Registration and attestation of men in the new age groups will be an important first step in the proposals to call up large numbers of men for national service in labour corps.

Call-up for labour corps, will include many men who are either older than present army requirements or who, while not of the physical standards needed for army service, will be satisfactory for ancillary army services in the labour corps.

Enrolment of men in the compulsory labour corps will probably begin soon after the new registration is completed.

Members of the Federal Government will hold important conferences in the week-end with a delegation from the Australasian Council of Trades Unions and other Labour bodies on the labour corps plan. It is proposed that the men should enter the corps for the duration of the war, or for as long as men are required on constructional works ancillary to the fighting forces.

There are indications that the move to conscript labour in the manner proposed will be op-posed by the unions.

The Ministry is anxious to explain to the unions the necessity for the move, and the manner in which the labour battalions will be constituted and employed. Union views on the operation and smooth working of the system will be sought.

On Army System
The Government has decided or the call-up of the men, under military rates of pay, and under a compulsory system similar to army service, partly because it considers that it is anomalous that some men should be compelled to serve in the army while others in the same age groups are left free to work where they please at extremely high wages; and partly because an element of compulsion has been made necessary by increasing labour difficulties in vital defence undertakings.

When the labour battalions are formed the Government will be able to compel men to work when-ever they are needed. It will also be able to compel them to stay in a given area, even if it is remote or exposed to the possibility of enemy attack.

Labour battalions also will be versatile, and the Government will be able to compel them to under-take any class of work. At present voluntarily employed labour norm-ally can be employed only on the class of work covered by the trades unions of which each individual is a member.

First units of the labour corps had been formed and the first batch of refugee alien volunteers had been called on to report for service, Mr. Forde said yesterday.

Call-up would continue at a steady rate and it was expected that nearly all refugee volunteers would be in camps before the end of March.

On the whole, the response by aliens to the opportunity voluntarily to join the fighting services had been disappointing.

 

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