50th Anniversary of National Service ending

Today we recognise more than 280,000 Australians who were called up to serve their country in National Service schemes between 1951 and 1972.

File photo

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Matt Keogh said the men who served as ‘Nashos’ should be proud of their service.

“Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Whitlam Labor Government’s end to the last National Service scheme in Australia,” Minister Keogh said.

“The Nashos were an integral part of Australia’s defence forces in the 1950s, 60s and 70s serving in Australia, Borneo, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam.

“The first National Service scheme, from 1951-59 saw men from across the country called up for training in the Royal Australian Navy, the Australian Army and the Royal Australian Air Force.

“More than 220,000 served during this period, putting their careers and lives on hold to serve their country.

“The second National Service scheme took place from 1965-1972 and, for some, included service in the Vietnam War.

“During this period, 63,000 20-year-olds were selected for service in the Army through a birthday ballot.

“More than 15,300 National Servicemen served in the Vietnam War and some 200 lost their lives.

“At least 100 National Servicemen also served overseas in Borneo, with two men losing their lives while on deployment.

“No matter the nature of their service, today we honour all national servicemen and thank them for what they have done for our nation.

“We thank all Nashos and their families for putting their lives on hold during their years of compulsory service.

“We know this service was difficult, as was your return to civilian life.

“The Australian Government thanks you.”

Mr Keogh said he hoped all Nashos knew that if they were injured during their service, even if they were never deployed, they are eligible to claim through DVA and all are entitled to a White Card for mental-health support.





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Posted by Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

8 thoughts on “50th Anniversary of National Service ending

  • 12/12/2022 at 12:02 pm

    To all the Nashos (& interested others) that served at 1 Sig Regt, including 104 Sig Sqn, Mount Olympus Lines, Ingleburn – G’day.
    Regret to inform you that there is almost nothing remaining of ‘the old place’. The framework of the old score board remains on the abandoned Mont St Quentin Oval & the paved lane that separated 104 from Admin Sqn is now approximated (only) by Arthur Allen Drive. The two gate posts from the front gate (accessing Campbelltown Road) also remain but are behind a security fence – still!) as do remnants of the footings of the front fence towards Campbelltown. Even the topography of the block that’s now the suburb of Bardia is unrecognizable, presumably due to extensive earthworks. I have made extensive photographic assessments of the block but it is nearly impossible to lock in any original features to confirm orientation. However, The Infantry Centre opposite has significant assets preserved, 1 Sig was not so lucky. Happy 50th.
    LeW (Lewis WILLIAMS) 1 Sig H2, 1972, Q2 1973, 5 Sig (Dundas) Q1, 1973 – 1738###.

  • 12/12/2022 at 9:27 am

    Hi all.

    Called up 1967 – 1969. Remember it was compulsory to register for NS under the threat of two- years jail if refused. I look back and think it was for me and I met, trained, ate, slept etc with brilliant blokes be they NS or Regs. In fact I have been organising reunions ever since.

    The thing that gets me is some 3,000 of these men did their lawful duty in South Vietnam and were sent home for civilian reinstatement under the National Service Act (1964) as amended. They were not obligated to extend their service. So, through no fault of their own they were not awarded the RVCM and that includes those who were medivaced suffering from life threatening diseases. Why? Because they were not in country at least 181 days.

  • 11/12/2022 at 6:01 pm

    65 years ago ours was the 1957 Intake serving at Campbell Barracks, Swanbourne and Kingston Barracks, Rottnest Island followed by 2 or 3 years compulsory CMF duty until the first Nashos scheme was abolished at the end of 1959. Our ARA trainers were ex 3RAR Korean War Veterans – top men. Back then 21 was the age of adulthood and these Veterans moulded us testosterone charged teenagers by bringing the weaker up and the bullies down to be one cohesive disciplined team. To a man we were grateful for these opportunities and to this day those of us left enjoy great camaraderie. Coincidentally the SASR was established at Campbell Barracks during our time. A demonstration of their FN30 firepower put our .303s to shame. Sadly mention “CMF” to younger ones today and they don’t understand – they only seem to know “Army Reserves”. Compulsory Nashos would do wonders for today’s youth.
    Sid B 5/711187

  • 11/12/2022 at 1:46 pm

    Why are we commemorating the end of NS? Because the paint throwing foul mouthed screaming young pricks are in charge now? We were issued with pick handles while at Ingleburn so’s we were able to knock them off the wire cos as the Sarge said we’re not allowed to shoot them. Why would you even publish a story that says the traitor’s name? Went to see Ho to alert him to our withdrawal and Australians think that’s ok. You’re all tarred with the lie down and roll over brush. Australians are timid loud mouthed apologists.

    • 11/12/2022 at 3:14 pm

      Great Warrie Story Geoff!!
      What’s the Gen about you being ”able to knock them off the wire ” at Ingleburn?
      When was the camp attacked by ”paint throwing foul mouthed screaming young pricks”?
      Is this a hidden chapter of Australian History?
      Did they issue an Award for it?

      You’re confused blaming Saint Gough for pulling us from the Vietnam Civil War.
      That Tory traitor P.M. Billy McMahon announce troop withdrawals 4 month before he lost the election to The Great One.
      The blame lies with the Tories, firstly for getting into the Vietnam Civil War, secondly introducing National Service for it and finally leaving Vietnam with our tails between our legs.
      It certainly set the tone for most Australian Military deployments since, and shows the difficulties and costs of a Washington directed Australian Foreign and Strategic policies.

      Neutrality for Australia.

      YANKEE GO HOME !!!


  • 11/12/2022 at 12:44 pm

    The National Executives of the NSAA ( National Servicemens Association of Australia) are looking to close in 2026- however State Associations, like Branches, May wish to stay open. This can only be achieved if family and friends wish to join as Supports of their local branches.

  • 11/12/2022 at 10:32 am

    National Service was a defining experience for those who served. All too often when the issues of national service are raised in the media it is the negative comments and articles that capture the headlines. The notion of ‘service’ to the country is demeaned to the detriment of the benefits to both the individual and the country. The success stories of those who served are many, some went on to be university vice-chancellors, successful in business, successful in trades, and successful in life. The bonds and mateship gained during that service, be it for six months or two years, remain a lifetime link for many. RUOK resonates across the years. Kel Ryan No 3786861

    • 02/01/2023 at 9:51 am

      I agree 100% with your comments especially on the ‘bonds and mateship’ being a lifetime link.

      Barry Collins R42111


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