Publication Details

Cahill, Rowan (1995). A conscription story, 1965-69. Hummer, 2 (4), 1-4.


Conscription (National Service) was re-introduced to Australia in November 1964, and ended in 1972. Conscripts were randomly selected by a lottery system for 20-year-old males. While it was not publicly known at the time, I in 12 eligible males were actually selected, though this ratio varied according to the number eligible each year and the actual number required by the army; so, for example, in October 1972 the chances of being selected were I in 20.1

Whilst historians tend to refer to conscripts as “men”, it should be remembered that in Australia during the 1960s neither the right to vote nor adult status were attained until the age of 2 I. A 20- year-old in the I 960s was a young, unenfranchised, vulnerable person on the threshold of adulthood.