Back

“The Answer to Declining Enlistment Numbers”

This pro-conscription cartoon appeared shortly after August 1915.  Although Australia had not long been involved in the war, it was already becoming apparent that casualty rates in Turkey were extremely high.

Year:September 1915

See someone you know? Email us

Close

“The Answer to Declining Enlistment Numbers”

This pro-conscription cartoon appeared shortly after August 1915.  Although Australia had not long been involved in the war, it was already becoming apparent that casualty rates in Turkey were extremely high.


Year: September 1915

Length: 00:44

Production Company: Australasian Films

Credits: Harry Julius, cartoonist

Source: National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

Catalogue Reference: NFSA title 58201


People: Colonel Cyril St Clair Cameron

Tags: Australia, animation, Harry Julius, conscription

Subject: Conscription, cartoon, animation


Tasmania’s Colonel Cyril Cameron (a hero of the South African War of 1899-1900) witnessed the annihilation of the Australian troops at the Dardanelles first hand. He was sent home due to ill health and on arrival in Freemantle in August 1915, he told the press, “The day is done for playing games. Every available man must get into training for all will be wanted”.

The cartoon begins with a handwritten prologue from Colonel Cameron stating that Australia should lead the empire by adopting national compulsory service. Above a map of Australia and New Zealand appears the message, “If the call comes every man will take his turn cheerfully”. A signpost announces “To Turkey”. The map then tips on its side and becomes the profile of a smiling digger.

Sketch artist Harry Julius (1885 –1938) dew political satire cartoons in response to news issues of the day. They were produced weekly by Australasian Films and shown with the Australasian Gazettes newsreels to Australian cinema audiences during the First World War.

When this cartoon first screened, conscription had not yet been formally proposed (this occurred with a referendum in October 1916). However, the Universal Service League in Sydney and the Australian Native Association in Victoria were already gathering calling for conscription for all eligible Australian men to serve overseas.

Close

“The Answer to Declining Enlistment Numbers”

  • 0:00

    Text: Colonel Cameron back from the Dardanelles says that Australia should lead the Empire by adopting National compulsory service. The great need is more men if the war is to be brought to an early conclusion.

  • 0:28

    Map of Australia. Text: If the call comes every man will take his turn cheerfully.

  • 0:38

    Direction sign: To Turkey

  • 0:40

    Drawing of Australia turns into a smiling man