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Oliver, Bobbie: Hell No! We Won’t Go! Resistance to Conscription in Post War Australia

Bobbie Oliver

Hell No! We Won’t Go! Resistance to Conscription in Post War Australia, Interventions, Melbourne, 2022

Using court records and private correspondence as well as newspaper accounts, Hell no! We won’t go! records the stories of many young men who resisted the National Service schemes of 1951-59, and 1965-72. Some became well-known; others were known only to family and friends. The book describes their experiences in court, in prison and underground in hiding. It also recounts their triumphs such as the great Moratorium campaigns of 1970 and 1971, the Melbourne University commune, the street marches and sit-ins, and the courage they exhibited in taking a stand that was often branded as cowardice.

In recounting these stories, Bobbie Oliver asks: What motivated them to take an unpopular stance – even to the extent of prison? What experiences and sufferings did they undergo? Did making a stand against militarism and war make a difference to society or change their lives? (blurb)

The book is reviewed for Honest History by draft resister David Stephens. Draft resister Rowan Cahill wrote about the book. Larry Zetlin and associates have been working for some years on a documentary with the same title as the book; dozens of interviews filmed for the documentary have been lodged at the Australian War Memorial and a few of them can be accessed on the Memorial’s website (Search ‘Larry Zetlin’).