Alternative Name(s): Form, Flyer

Folio-sized cream-coloured paper leaflet, 'War Census Form 83', containing a call to arms by W.M. Hughes, Prime Minister of Australia. The form includes a recruiting check slip at the bottom. The slip has not been filled in, but 'The Mayor, Maryborough', has been written on the lower left of the flyer.

The flyer illustrates one of the many ways in which men were encouraged to enlist and how they were to be processed. It explains that an appeal to enlist is to be sent to 'every male of fighting age throughout Australia'. Local Recruiting Committees were to receive and examine the forms supplied to the men; forward the replies to the State Commandant; forward a recruiting check slip (such as the one attached to this form) to the Commonwealth Statistician for each recruit, indicating if they were willing to enlist now, later, with conditions or not at all; and finally to organize Local Enquiry Committees to 'personally canvas' those unwilling to enlist.

Physical Description

Folio-sized cream-coloured paper form, printed in black. An additional stamp in purple appears at the top left corner, and it has been signed on the lower middle left side. It contains a call to arms by W.M. Hughes, Prime Minister of Australia. The form includes a recruiting check slip at the bottom - a line indicates where check slip should be cut off. The form is creased, stained, torn on left side and pierced with a hole for a binding on the upper left.


This flyer, although damaged, is significant as a record of the pressure faced by men to enlist during World War I. It shows how leading figures, such as Prime Minster W.M. Hughes, encouraged and cajoled men to join the war effort, and persuaded the wider society of the value of their sacrifice. His tone is urgent - 'the present state of the War calls imperatively for vigorous action' - and his logic is laid bare: 'The Government of the Commonwealth has decided to raise another 50,000 men, in addition to the monthly quota of 16,000.' The need was clear: the highest number of Australian men to volunteer in the War occured in July 1915, when 36,575 were recruited. By September, the number had fallen to 16,571, and by December only 9119 were recruited (Bill Gammage, The Broken Years, 2010 edition, p.16). This flyer was issued on 30 November, when the trend was becoming clear. It is perhaps not surprising, then, that the flyer also describes pressure tactics that were to be applied to those identified as unwilling to enlist: Local Enquiry Committees were to 'personally canvas' these men.

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