Fundraising for the war effort, Sydney
Various wartime fundraising and recruitment activities are seen in this film from about 1916, shot from outside the General Post Office in Martin Place, Sydney, after rain. In pavilion-style tent stalls, Red Cross workers sell ribbons, flowers and other produce. The top-hatted Governor of NSW, Sir Gerald Strickland, walks among the crowds. Many AIF troops are shown in this clip, their humour in evidence in a shot of a young male civilian being ‘accosted’ and compelled to enlist, while others pretend to take his measurements for a uniform.
The scenes of open horse-drawn carriages, motor vehicles, top-hatted civilian dignitaries and high-ranking soldiers, and the signage on stalls, donation boxes, and armbands, suggest this film may have been shot on or around the first officially named Anzac Day in 1916. In February of that year the Sydney City Council began discussing a commemoration of the landings on the Gallipoli Peninsula on 25 April 1915. The first Anzac Day, a year after the landings, was marked by a wide variety of ceremonies and services throughout Australia and New Zealand. For the remaining years of the war, Anzac Day was an occasion for patriotic rallies and recruiting campaigns. Marches of serving members of the AIF were held in most cities.
This charity bazaar footage indicates the sterling work undertaken by the Australian Red Cross Society (ARCS) which, during the war, provided humanitarian relief for troops, including care parcels for sick and wounded soldiers serving overseas, and funds for hospital services. Women occupied senior positions in the ARCS, enabling them to take on jobs and a degree of responsibility not open to them in peacetime. Red Cross volunteers were also involved in the repatriation of soldiers and helped families trace soldiers who were missing or had been taken prisoner.