Exemption courts

In early October 1916 the Commonwealth Government proclaimed that all unmarried able-bodied men between the ages of 21 and 35 were to undertake military training leading to the possibility of service within the Commonwealth.

All men meeting these criteria were to proceed to enrolment centres where they were assessed for suitability. There was, however, a procedure whereby men classified as suitable could appeal and be granted exception from service. The Defence Act allowed exemption from military service on religious grounds, and war service regulations allowed exemption:

Local exemption courts were established to hear applications for exemption. Men who sought exemption from military training were to fill out a form in duplicate, deliver it to the military registrar and present their case at the exemption court. More than 87,000 men actively sought exemption from military service through the exemption courts.

An exemption court opened at Orange Courthouse on 19 October 1916 and was operational until November 1916. During this time Orange Police Magistrate Hugh Malone presided over more than 150 local appeals for exception from military service.

 

Further reading:
The establishment of local military exemption courts
Military exemption courts in 1916: a public hearing of private lives

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This entry was posted on November 9th, 2016.