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Research Guides


Commonwealth Government Records about South Australia


National Service

Since the end of World War II Australia has had two National Service schemes: the first operated between 1951 and 1959, and the second between 1965 and 1972.

Under the first scheme – introduced in response to the threat of the Cold War in Europe, the communist insurgency in South-East Asia and the Korean War – 18-year-old males were required to register for service training. By the time the scheme was abolished, more than 500,000 had registered and over 227,000 had undertaken training.

The second scheme was targeted at 20-year-old males. Registration for National Service was compulsory and under an amendment to the Defence Act 1930 conscripts could be made to serve overseas. The call-up was for 24 months' continuous service in the Army (reduced to 18 months in 1971), followed by three years in the Army Reserve. Almost 64,000 men were called up, of whom more than 19,000 served in the Vietnam War.

Administration of the registration and selection of South Australian men for training was undertaken by the South Australian Branch Office of the Department of Labour and National Service.

SELECTED SERIES RELATING TO NATIONAL SERVICE IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Sydney
General
Recorded by: Department of Labour and National Service, Regional Administration, South Australia
Acts and regulations relating to National Service, 1903–71 AP848/1
Re-establishment and National Service publications, 1945–70 AP1354/1
Instructions for medical examinations (of young men liable for National Service), 1951–68 AP848/2
Sydney
1951-59 scheme
Consolidated National Service returns, 1951–53 AP47/6
Master register (index) cards, 1951–59 AP106/2
National Service (numerical) registers, 1951–59 AP106/3
National Service manual, 1953–59 AP848/4
Sydney
1965-72 scheme
National Service forms, letters and returns, 1964–73 AP848/21
National Service registration forms and related correspondence, 1965 AT1285/1
Correspondence regarding National Service, 1965–72 AP848/23
National Service circulars, 1965–72 AP848/18
National Service files, 1965–73 D3946
National Service personal files (12th to 30th intake), 1965–76 AT2217/1
Index cards National Service, 1966–74 AP1211/1
National Service personal files (3rd to 22nd intake), 1966–70 AT1815/2
Index cards National Service training, 1967–75 AP1230/1
National Service files (18th to 30th intake), 1969–72 AT2427/1
National Service files (11th to 30th intake), 1968–72 AT1935/4
SELECTED ITEMS RELATING TO NATIONAL SERVICE IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Adelaide
National Service training – display of posters, 1951–60 D959, IA1958/946
School cadets and National Service, 1951 D844, 101C/13/1
School cadets and National Service, 1951 D844, 101C/13/2

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Chapter 6
Defence