HMAS Sydney launches a Sopwith Camel from her new revolving launching platform, 8 December 1917. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.
HMAS Sydney becomes the first Australian warship to launch an aircraft, and the first warship to do so from a rotatable platform. Sydney is the first warship to be fitted with a permanent revolving aircraft launching platform; it would carry fighter aircraft from January 1918.
Pro-conscription advocates Walter Finch and Miss Gazzard are pelted with rotten eggs and stones during a rally at Clergate. Eggs At Clergate
The first court case for disturbing public meetings in connection with the forthcoming referendum is heard at Orange Police Court. Denis Cleary is found guilty of using insulting language and fined £2. Orange Police Court
The Halifax explosion, 6 December 1917. Image courtesy Library and Archives Canada PA-166585.
The French cargo ship SS Mont-Blanc collides with the Norwegian relief vessel Imo in Halifax harbour, Nova Scotia. The Mont-Blanc, laden with 9,000 tons of munitions destined for the Western Front, explodes, creating one of the largest man-made explosions to date. Hundreds of people watching the catastrophe are blinded as the blast wave shatters windows. Overturned lamps and stoves ignite a multitude of fires; the ensuing shock wave shatters windows 80 kilometres away. The resultant fire cloud surges 3.6 km into the atmosphere; the city of Halifax is reduced to ruins and debris. 2,000 people are killed and 9,000 injured, 6,000 are left homeless. The Halifax Explosion
Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia conclude the armistice on the Eastern Front; one million German soldiers are now available to reinforce German positions on the Western Front
Rector of Holy Trinity Church, the Rev Canon Taylor, urges the people of Orange to vote in favour of conscription in the upcoming referendum; those who do not are presumably “pro-enemy, athiests, anarchists [or] natural slackers”. Recruits and Reinforcements
Australian Nationalists’ pro conscription poster, 1917. Image courtesy Riley and ephemera collection, State Library of Victoria.