At the tail end of the suggested themes from Sepia Saturday this week was “posters”. And so I’ll start my ramble this week with a poster.
When recruiting for the Australian Imperial Forces during the First World War a theme was often used to appeal to certain members of the public. And this time in 1917 it was the sportsmen who were targeted. As the war progressed taking part in sport became frowned on so why shouldn’t one thousand of these fit and healthy young men go and help the soldiers at the front. The promise was that they would be kept together from the day they enlisted until the day they came home again, at least for those able to come home.
The theme usually included a well known person as an added attraction. This time it was Albert Jacka VC, the first Australian to win this honour in this conflict for his bravery at Gallipoli. In the poster he is surrounded by men taking part in a variety of sports.
It was said that one of the reasons he was such a good soldier, and had such a fighting attitude, was that he had been a boxer before the war. The campaign to enlist sportsmen was fuelled by a strong belief that by playing sport young men developed specific skills and qualities that could be used on the battlefield – The Age, March 10th, 1917
The Sportsmen’s Thousand Band played regularly at recruiting rallies around the state, In towns large and small the band members were billeted by local residents and then the local newspaper would report on the number of recruits. One such visit on August 10th 1917 was to Castlemaine, which was later to be the town where I grew up and the visit was reported the next day in the Bendigo Advertiser.
Last night the Town Hall was packed on the occasion of the recruiting rally. Stirring addresses were delivered by Mr. D. Mackinnon, Ex-Senator St. Leger. Lieutenant Bolton and Miss Martyn. The Mayor (Cr. Cornish) presided and introduced the speakers, while the splendid band of the Sportsmen’s Thousand rendered valuable aid. Vocal items were contributed by Miss Marjorie Eadie and Miss Macoboy, of Bendigo, the meeting was marked by great enthusiasm.
This is the band . They had only just been presented with their new instruments in July, according to The Broadmeadows Camp Sentry. a weekly news publication for the servicemen training at the Broadmeadows camp.
It was this Sportsmen’s Thousand band photo on a postcard which brought me to the poster which introduced this post. Some time ago a friend in Geelong allowed me to copy his postcard which he had because his grandfather was a member of the Band. And there he is, H.E. Monk, the big chap, seated second from the left.
By October 12th 1917 the soldiers were ready for a lunch time march through the city of Melbourne followed by lunch at the YMCA in St Kilda Rd. A few days later a detachment of them were photographed marching along Alexandra Avenue as reported in “The Winner” on October 17th, 1917.
The Australian TV mini-series “Anzacs” in 1985 gave us a fictional taste of how a recruiting rally may have been conducted
And perhaps for more posters, or carting coal , or horses and carts or anything vaguely connected with the afore-mentioned, then go to this week’s Sepia Saturday .