“We are dying of exhaustion for want of a spell”
Billy Hughes visits the AIF’s home away from home
The First World War led to a major influx of Australians into Britain. From summer 1916 to the end of the war there were never fewer than 50,000 Australian troops present. In 1915 Horseferry Road in Westminster, London, became a home away from home for the Anzacs. The AIF Administrative Headquarters, the Australian War Records Section and the War Chest Club were located there (the Club was established to promote the welfare of all soldiers). Horseferry Road became a historically significant Australian location: it was where the Anzacs could create a community for themselves, and was filled with men wearing slouch caps and speaking with familiar accents.
In this film the Australian Prime Minister, William ‘Billy’ Hughes, doffs his top hat to the camera before inspecting soldiers at the AIF Headquarters. These visits were effective in raising troop morale, letting them know that, though far from their own country, they remained in the thoughts of those back home.