This blog is a companion to the Database of Volunteers of Essendon and Flemington

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Call to Arms, 1916


An interesting series of documents in the National Archives Collection is the "World War I 'Call to Arms' recruiting forms for Victoria, arranged by reason for non-enlistment", Series B6525.    This was for a census of every unenlisted man of military age, demanding to know whether they intended to enlist and if not, why not.

Dr Bart Ziino discusses the government problem in trying to get enlistment quotas filled in an article in the NAA magazine Memento.*   A more detailed article by Ziino on the subject of "Enlistment and non-enlistment in wartime Australia : responses to the 1916 call to arms appeal", was published in  Australian historical studies, vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 217-232, Routledge, Melbourne, in 2010.

Only a handful of forms have been digitised at this stage.  They are grouped according to the reason given for non-enlistment, with a name index at the front.

Joseph Vincent Farrell, an unmarried 29 year old horse trainer residing at the Prince of Wales Hotel in Ascot Vale, declined the opportunity to explain to the government his reasons for not enlisting.   If reasons given were not considered adequate by local committees, they would be followed up.

* Memento has disappeared from the NAA website.  You'll have to look for copies possibly at the NAA, or in other libraries.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

St Thomas' Grammar School Cadets, c 1910

St Thomas' Grammar School Cadets, circa 1910, taken by Ruth Hollick.  Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Collection.  H2004.61/235

The large dead River Red Gum covered in ivy in the background towards the right of the photo was the "Burke & Wills Tree", which stood on Mt Alexander Rd near the Moonee Ponds Bowls Club, Queen's Park.  Many of the boys in this photo would join the 1st AIF a few years later.  The Roll of Honour of the St Thomas' Grammar Boys, and the Carlton College boys (which had merged with St Thomas' Grammar) is now located in the Junior School of Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School.  The names of those who served can be found on the Empire Called website.

The Burke and Wills tree marked the site of the first camping spot of the expedition after it left Royal Park in 1860.