Topic: Gen - Query Club
The Query Club
19 January 1916
The large scale of the Great War often gave people a sense of alienation from the activities of the government and the army. To overcome this, newspapers of the day commenced columns called Query Club or similar names, where ordinary people could clarify their understanding of the complex processes. They also provide us, the historians, an insight into witnessing first hand, the responses of the various bodies to public concerns. The end product is a window into a society now almost out of living memory.
This is the Query Club from the Sydney Mail, 19 January 1916, p. 30.
No physically fit men are wanted for home service. If you are over age or not able to pass the medical test, you should write to the O.C., Victoria Barracks, stating in what direction you could be of service.
You could not travel as a steward on a vessel leaving Australia without a passport. The fact that your wife is in England would make your examination even more stringent, because of the suggestion that you intended going to her with no intention of returning or of fulfilling your military obligations.
Recruits are urgently wanted for the formation of a wireless corps for active service abroad. Men desiring to enlist for this service should have a knowledge of wireless telegraphy and must be able to ride. Those wishing to joind should make application to the Officer-in-Charge, Engineers' Depot, Moore Park, Sydney. All passenger ships are bound to carry wireless operators.
The monitor is a flat bottomed warship with revolving gun turrets. The name was first given to the particular kind of ironclad invented for the American Navy by Captain John Ericsson in 1862. The letter of Ericsson to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy of January 1862 gives the inventor's reason for the name. "The impregnable and aggressive character of this structure will admonish the leaders of the Southern Rebellion that the batteries on the banks of their rivers will no longer present barriers to the entrance of the Union forces. The ironclad intruder will thus prove a severe monitor to those leaders."
IF CONSCRIPTION COMES
The fact of your having a business would not prevent your being called up if conscription were introduced in Australia. As you have no dependents and are physically fit and of suitable age, you would have to go. You would be given time to sell, transfer, or lease your business to others; or you might put it into the hands of a manager who could not be called to the colours: but its existence would not be permitted to stand between you and your duty. The State would not take it over. Its disposal would be a matter of speculation. You must consider for yourself whether it would be better to sell out at a reasonable figure, or to risk it in the hands of another.
If you are rejected for the infantry by the medical officer, you are rejected for every unit. The medical examination is the same for everybody. When enlisting you state your qualifications or predilection for and special work; but you are enrolled as an infantryman, and have to take your chance of being drafted to the desired corps later on. There are grades in ambulance work, as in other departments; but a non medical man cannot rise above non-commissioned rank. No definite age can be stated when an individual has reached maturity; some are mature earlier than others. If you are not over 20, you should work on the manual of physical exercise used by the military authorities. You will find it as good as any.
Citation: Query Club, 19 January 1916