Australia’s Vietnam War had many facets, some of which we explored in our recent Honest History series. One of these facets, local Australian opposition to the war and to conscription, gets some coverage in the galleries at the Australian War Memorial and on its website, though considerably less space than is devoted to the military aspects of the Australian involvement, which lasted from 1962 to 1975.
It is good to see, therefore, that the Memorial has taken into its collection the interviews collected by film-makers Martha Ansara and Larry Zetlin in the course of making their documentary, Hell No! We Won’t Go, which will tell the stories of the men and women who opposed the war and conscription in Australia. The general philosophy of the project is ‘they also served who refused to serve’. There are extracts from interviews and lots of other material on the Hell No! We Won’t Go Facebook page.
There are 80 interviews on film (need to be viewed at the Memorial) with more to come. The names can be found here on the Memorial’s website, many of them accompanied by brief biographies. They include draft resisters, conscientious objectors and the people who helped them.
Some of the people featured are Brian Aarons, Peter Beattie, Tony Blackshield, Meredith Burgmann, Rowan Cahill, Joan Coxsedge, David Day, Peter Dowding, Raymond Evans, Gary Foley, Peter Gunning, Michael Hamel-Green, Michael Hyde, Brian Laver, Jim McGinty, Jean McLean, Bob McMullan, Michael Matteson, Jeffrey Miles, the Mowbray triplets, Dave Nadel, Frances Newell, Denis O’Donnell, Harry van Moorst, Jack Waterford, Bill White and the author of this note.
David Stephens registered as a conscientious objector against the Vietnam War, one of the 1200 who did so. When his number was drawn out, and not being entitled to further educational deferment, he became a National Service Act defaulter. He took part in the first moratorium in May 1970.
30 August 2016