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17 August 1914 Australian Imperial Expeditionary Force

 17 August 1914 Australian Imperial Expeditionary Force

On 17 August 1914 work of medically examining volunteers for the Australian Imperial Expeditionary Force began at the Parade Ground on King William Road. The pay for a private was 4s a day and 1s deferred pay while in Australia and 5s a day with 1s deferred pay plus rations while overseas. Criteria included height 5 feet 6 inches and age between 19 and 38 years. Two men aged 34 and 36, both ex-servicemen, walked from Port Pirie to enlist.

A tent city at Morphettville was set up to cope with the expected enlistments. This followed a large gathering of some 20,000 people in Elder Park on 10 August where the Governor, Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Henry Galway, spoke of the patriotic spirit of South Australians. A procession of 4000 children civil servants and retired soldiers, with bands playing, had marched down King William Street where flags flew from nearly every building. More speeches from the premier and other ministers all added to the stirring of patriotic fervour. Although the leader of the Labor party asked for sympathy for the German colonists who, he said, were ‘all Australians’ this appeal was not in all cases adhered to and many Germans were in interned at Torrens Island for the duration of the war. In all about eight per cent of South Australia’s male population of a quarter of a million served overseas in the armed services.

Advertiser, 10,18,19 August 1914.

Tags: AIF, Parade Ground King William Road