The RSA (Returned Services Association) is objecting to a memorial to WW1 consciousness objectors being erected on ANZAC Avenue “because the avenue is named after the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps and is there to commemorate those soldiers who fought in WW1”. Really? Surely ANZAC has come to include all those who fought or suffered in all wars.
Our conscious objectors during WW1 were treated abysmally. It’s a shameful blot on our history. In case you are not aware of their story, the following is a shortened version of what they went through.
Conscious objectors were shipped to the front line in France where they were beaten and starved. They would be bound hand and foot to stakes and placed in the line of enemy fire for up to four hours per day.
Another inhuman treatment was to restrain the objectors beside munitions stores if a store came under enemy bombardment. Could it be that they don’t want to be reminded that it was the ANZACs who were responsible for the treatment handed out to the objectors.
The memorial has been proposed by the Archibald Baxter Trust named after the most famous of the WW1 conscious objectors. The purpose of a memorial is.to raise consciousness. What better place for the memorial than on ANZAC Parade.