OLD TREA­SURY SPOT­LIGHTS CONSCRIPTION

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The Old Trea­sury Build­ing’s lat­est ex­hi­bi­tion, “A Na­tion Di­vided: the Great War and Conscription”, tells the story of Conscription dur­ing the First World War. The de­bate over conscription was amongst the most bit­ter, di­vi­sive and vi­o­lent ever to con­sume the na­tion. From 1916–1917 thou­sands of im­pas­sioned speeches were made, end­less news­pa­per col­umns were writ­ten, and mass meet­ings and huge ral­lies were held through­out Aus­tralia. Two ref­er­en­dums were held, the first in 1916 then another in 1917. On each oc­ca­sion a ma­jor­ity of Aus­tralians voted ‘No’. In the end Aus­tralia was one of few com­bat­ant na­tions to field an army com­prised en­tirely of vol­un­teers. The ex­hi­bi­tion in­cludes posters and other ma­te­ri­als from the time.

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