Tag Archives: campaign

First World War: Anti-war campaign in Australia

From ‘Bootham Overseas’, Bootham magazine, December 1915

“THOMAS BINNS ROBSON (1858-1860) writes from near Adelaide of the recent experiences of JOHN F. HILLS (1882-1884, Master 1886-1889), who “has been making quite a stir lately owing to his anti-military propaganda, which he has been actively carrying on ever since our ‘Boy Conscription Act’ came into force. The military authorities have looked upon him as opposing enlistment, and have tried to stop him from speaking in Victoria Square on Friday evenings and the park on Sunday afternoons, as has been his custom. The first attempt was a charge of treason, changed to breaking a bye-law for chalking on the roadway where he advertised his meetings and quoted portions of the Sermon on the Mount. This failed, because the bye-law only referred to the footpaths and not the roadway. Then he was brought up before the police court charged with telling the young men not to recruit at a meeting held some two months previously. His lawyer got the case dismissed on the plea that the regulation under which he was charged went beyond the War Precautions Act and was ultra vires…. Probably J. F. Hills will be again charged and have to fight it out on its merits. He says he did not use the expression he is accused of, but after so long a time it will be hard to prove, especially against the military. The last two or three times he has appeared in public he has been mobbed by an organised lot of young fellows in khaki, who joined the mob against the police who were protecting J. F. H. to a place of safety; and the last time the police started the row by setting on to Hills to make him go away before he had done anything. . .   The war spirit is rampant and seems to override all other considerations.”