National Servicemen’s branch Christmas and 70th anniversary celebrations

Alex Garlin with NSAA members from Innisfail/Babinda/Tully, Tablelands and Cairns branches.

NINETY members of the Innisfail/Babinda/Tully, Cairns and Tableland branches of the National Servicemen’s Association of Australia, their partners and supporters recently gathered for their Christmas luncheon at Babinda RSL Memorial Hall.


National Servicemen Association of Queensland State President Alex Garlin, a Navy Nasho attended and presented a full charter certificate to Innisfail/Babinda/Tully branch President David Grima.


All branch members received certificates, including Nasho widows Maria Cherry, Mary Lissa, Helen Golledge, Paula Prete, Joyce Penman, Maria Cherry, as well as Maxine Herbert and Lyn Catalano, whose spouses and family members served in National Service and had passed away.


The event also provided an opportunity to acknowledge the 70th anniversary of National Service conscription.


Since Federation, Australia has had four National Service schemes. Although the first scheme started in 1911, records indicate this may have been as early as 1904.


Those men conscripted in the first scheme, which finished in 1929, were aged 12 to 16 years.


Men aged 18 – 36 years, conscripted in the second scheme, which started in World War II, were eligible for overseas service in certain areas of the Pacific.


In 1951, the third scheme for men aged 18 years consisted of three months full time, then 18 months in the Citizen Military Forces (CMF).


Whilst the fourth scheme was the same as the third, it had two options of two years full time, with the possibility of overseas service (reduced to 18 months in 1971) or alternative service – five or six-years’ service (depending on options chosen), in the CMF.


In two separate schemes, the conscription of 287,000 young Australian men occurred between 1951 – 1972 who did compulsory training in the Navy, Army and Air Force. Of those, 212 died on active service in Borneo and Vietnam. 


An additional 35,000 chose to undertake the Alternative Service option.


John Anderson (deceased September 8, 2020) and Phil Pearce, the branches’ first two Presidents served under the 1951 – 1959 scheme and trained at Wacol.


The Australian government recognised the contribution of National Servicemen to Australia’s defence preparedness in 2001 with the Anniversary of National Service 1951 – 1972 Medal, and in 2006, Nashos became eligible to receive the Australian Defence Medal in recognition of their required time in service.


On the day, there were lucky door prizes, as well as eight 25 number boards with cash prizes.


Members and guests enjoyed a delicious hot and cold buffet followed by dessert of apple crumble with custard and pavlova.

Throughout the year, NSAA branch members had an active presence in the local community taking part in National Servicemen’s Day in February, ANZAC Day, Vietnam Veterans’ and Remembrance Days.


The branch wanted to thank Frank Gatti and Babinda Lions Club for use of the Babinda RSL Memorial Hall and all those who assisted in making the event a success. 

More News