Our group’s been formed to record, remember and commemorate the successful anti-conscription campaigns of WW1, when Brunswick and Coburg voted overwhelmingly “No” in the referendums of 28 October 1916 and 20 December 2017.
Brunswick was a major campaign centre, with St Ambrose Hall a key meeting place. Young trade unionist, later Prime Minister, and Brunswick resident John Curtin worked full-time on the 1916 campaign. Local Labor MP Frank Anstey (after whom the station is named), Julia Guerin – Principal of Brunswick Girls High School – and suffragette Adela Pankhurst were prominent local campaigners against war and conscription.
Many campaigners spent time in Coburg’s Pentridge prison – John Curtin as a conscientious objector; and Adela Pankhurst after a women’s anti-war march. The war had a devastating and divisive impact on the Moreland community as elsewhere. Almost a quarter of those who enlisted were killed, massive numbers wounded, and the country poorer.