‘Taking to the Streets against the Vietnam War’: A Timeline History of Australian Protest 1962-1972 –– 1972


January 2 – Anti-war activists in Melbourne meet at Shrine and proceed to U.S Consulate for rally against renewed U.S bombing of North Vietnam

January 7 – Further demonstration in Melbourne against renewed U.S bombing of North Vietnam

January 10 – Draft resister John Scott arrested in Adelaide and remanded on bail until February 9

January – Draft resister Ian Turner sentenced to eighteen months jail in Pentridge for non-compliance with National Service Act

January 21 – ‘Don’t register’ leaflets handed out in Melbourne CBD

January 28 – ‘Don’t register’ leaflets handed out in Melbourne CBD. Earl Ingleby, Mike Donahue, Harry Van Moorst, Les Dalton, Dorothy Dalton, Jean McLean among those arrested

January – U.S President Richard Nixon announces eight-point ‘plan for peace in Indochina’

February 3 – Harry Van Moorst fined $10 in Melbourne Magistrates Court on charge of ‘incitement’

February 5 – Saturday morning demonstration on Melbourne GPO steps urging young men to refuse to register

February 7 – High School teacher and DRU member Ken McClelland arrested by Commonwealth Police at his school (Hawkesdale, Victoria) for refusing to obey call-up notice. McClelland joins Garry Cook, Geoff Mullen and Ian Turner in serving eighteen-month jail sentence

February 7 – ‘Underground’ draft resister Barry Johnstone summoned to appear at Melbourne Magistrates Court for refusing to obey call-up notice. He fails to appear and warrant is issued for his arrest. Johnstone is ALP candidate for Hotham in Federal elections and faces eighteen months jail if convicted

February 8 – Demonstration in Melbourne’s City Square against visit of Indonesian dictator Suharto

February 9 – Protests in Sydney against visit of Suharto

February 9 – Earl Ingleby sentenced to fourteen days’ jail on ‘incitement’ charge but released on bail pending appeal

February 9 – Draft resister John Scott decides not to appear in court in Adelaide (for failure to comply with National Service Act)

February – Draft Resisters Union (DRU) formed in Sydney

February 13 – Supporters of Vietnam Moratorium Campaign in Victoria meet at Richmond Town Hall and decide to hold mass demonstration at U.S Consulate Friday April 21. Several hundred travel to Pentridge to support Ian Turner and Ken McClelland

February 14 – Draft resister William Robert Wood turns up for ‘National Service’ medical examination at Bankstown Hospital accompanied by nine members of DRU and a stuffed dummy of a soldier with sign around neck ‘I won’t go’. Wood burns his medical notice in front of twenty-five other young men

February 16 – Geoff Mullen released after serving ten months and three weeks in NSW jails

February 19-20 – Representatives of anti-war organisations meet in Sydney for ‘National Consultation’ and agree to adopt proposal from U.S peace movement for international action April 21-22

February 21 – U.S Administration shocks the world by announcing President Richard Nixon will visit China

February 23-27 – Five-day ‘National Symposium on Imperialism’ at Sydney University organised by AICD

February 28 – Sydney draft resister Garry McDougall fails to appear on charge of failing to register. Fined $100 (or 21 days jail)

March – U.S President Richard Nixon visits China

March 1 – Anti-conscription forum at Sydney University (Orientation week). ‘Underground’ draft resister Michael Matteson defies police and speaks to students. Jack Page and Michael Parsons burn draft cards

March 2 – DRU members in Sydney leaflet Army recruiting exhibition at Grace Brothers store in Broadway

March 3 – ‘Underground’ draft resister Paul Fox arrested and jailed for eighteen months

March 8 – Melbourne draft resisters Bob Bissett and Bob Scates arrested by Commonwealth police at their work places. They have not obeyed call-up notices and face eighteen-month jail sentences if convicted

March 9 – Rally outside Latrobe University administration building to protest repression of student radicals. University Council has sought Supreme Court injunction to freeze funds of SRC with aim of forcing SRC to sack President Brian Pola

March 11 – Women’s marches in Australian cities organised nationally by ‘Women’s March Action Campaign’ to protest ‘double exploitation’ of women (by sex as well as by class)

March – Meeting of anti-war activists in Sydney sets April 20 as date for march and public meeting against Indochina war

March 20 – DRU members in Sydney demonstrate at Phillip Street Court in support of Ian Davis

March 22 – DRU members in Sydney demonstrate at Phillip Street Court in support of DRU Secretary Peter Galvin

March 27 – CPA Twenty-third Congress receives greetings from National Liberation Front of South Vietnam

March 30 – Major new military offensive (perhaps greater than ‘Tet’) launched by Vietnamese liberation forces in northern region of South Vietnam

April 8-9 – General meeting of anti-war organisations in Adelaide decides on April 22 actions and carries resolution condemning U.S bombing of North Vietnam and supporting current Vietnamese offensive

April – Chairman of Vietnam Moratorium Campaign Dr Jim Cairns calls for massive public support for nation-wide April actions against Vietnam war

April 12 – Dr Cairns tells Parliament that North Vietnam has derived the right of self-defence, the ‘right to strike back’. ‘How long do people have to sustain attack and occupation by foreigners before they get some rights?’

April 14 – Vietnam Moratorium Committee holds forum in Melbourne’s City Square to publicise April 21 march on U.S Consulate

April 15 – ‘Schools’ Anti-Conscription Committee’ conducts protest march from Melbourne’s City Square to home of Attorney-General Senator Greenwood

April 16 – Nixon responds to March 30 NLF offensive by resuming bombing raids on Hanoi and Haiphong. Five years of LBJ – 2,865,000 tons of bombs dropped on Indochina. Three years of Nixon – 2,916,000 tons dropped

April 16 – American freelance correspondent Timothy Allman arrives in Sydney from Laos to begin four-state speaking tour for AICD

April 18Tribune publishes DRV version of Nixon’s ‘Eight-Point Plan’

April 19 – Demonstration at National Service intake Swan Street Barracks Richmond

April 19 – Right-wing terrorists celebrating Hitler’s birthday blow up CPA headquarters in Brisbane to intimidate anti-war marchers

April 19 – Main passenger booking office of Pan American Airways in Martin Place (Sydney) is shut down for hour in lunch period by lightning raid of anti-war activists

April 20 – Vietnam Moratorium demonstration in Sydney. 3000 occupy George Street intersection

April 21 – Vietnam Moratorium Campaign demonstration in Melbourne. 10,000 people confront U.S Consulate. Pan Am windows smashed

April 21 – 2500 Vietnam Moratorium demonstrators in Brisbane chant ‘Victory for the Vietcong’ and occupy Queen Street

April 21-22 – Vietnam Moratorium demonstrations in Wollongong

April 22 – Vietnam Moratorium demonstrations in Adelaide outside Department of Labour and National Service and U.S Chamber of Commerce

April 22 – Vietnam Moratorium demonstration in Perth

April 24 – Students at Goulburn High School boycott Anzac Day ceremonies because of their militaristic nature

April 24 – ‘The Great Escape’ at Sydney University. Students surround police and use bolt-cutters to free handcuffed ‘underground’ draft resister Mike Matteson from Commonwealth police

April – Latrobe University student Fergus Robinson in Pentridge jail ‘at the court’s pleasure’ after conviction for contempt of Supreme Court. Three other students – Brian Pola, Barry York and Rod Taylor – face similar proceedings

April 26 – U.S journalist T.D. Allman who uncovered CIA war in Laos speaks Assembly Hall Collins Street (Melbourne)

April 26 – ‘National Anti-Conscription Campaign’ inaugural planning and policy-making meeting Belmore St. Enmore

April 27-28 – T.D. Allman visits Hobart

April 28The Australian reports new type of anti-personnel bomb being dropped on Hanoi by U.S aircraft

April 29 – T.D. Allman begins three-day visit to Brisbane

May 1 – Major offensive launched March 30 has widened and forced U.S to return to negotiating table in Paris

May 2 – ‘A feature of April demonstrations was that slogans of open solidarity with NLF emerged more clearly than ever before’ (Tribune, May 2, 1972)

May 2Tribune interview with draft resister Mike Matteson who has been ‘underground’ since August 1971

May 2 – Sydney University student Lyn Regan pulled out of bed and charged with obstructing police arrest of Mike Matteson April 24

May – Australia still has 150 ‘advisors’ in South Vietnam

May 4 – Lyn Regan speaks at Sydney University front lawn meeting and recounts bashing by police

May 5 – Social Services Moratorium in Melbourne Initiated by ‘Victorian Action Committee for Pension and Social Service Justice’

May 6 – 68,000 U.S combat troops in South Vietnam (April 27, 1972). (New York Times, May 6, 1972)

May 9 – Fifty people convicted July 1971 and fined for ‘incitement’ meet in Melbourne and reaffirm intention not to pay fines

May 9 – Nixon decides to blockade North Vietnam. Threat to use delayed action sea mines risks armed confrontation with USSR and China. The decision sparks angry protest demonstrations in Australia

May 9 – Seamen and ‘wharfies’ in most Australian ports stop work to protest Nixon blockade decision

May 9 – Sydney University students protest Nixon blockade. Demonstrators confront U.S Consulate in Pitt Street

May 9 – Demonstration in Melbourne’s City Square against Nixon blockade. Windows smashed at Pan Am. Police charge horses into crowd. Batons break up demonstration

May 9 – Firebombs thrown at military vehicles in Adelaide. Premises of U.S-based industries painted up

May 10 – Maritime workers on NSW South Coast stop work and call on ACTU to organise urgent nationwide stop over Nixon blockade

May 10 – Queensland Trades and Labour Council demands ACTU call for embargo on all U.S shipping and communication services

May 10 – 1000 anti-Nixon protestors occupy city streets for two hours in Adelaide

May 10-11 – Anti-Nixon demonstrations at U.S Consulate office in Perth

May 12 – Several thousand anti-Nixon protestors march through city to U.S Consulate in South Melbourne

May 12 – 5000 demonstrators respond to call by AICD and gather at U.S Consulate in Sydney. Savage and frenzied bashing of peaceful protestors by police results in seventy-two arrests

May 12 – 1500 anti-Nixon demonstrators assemble in Brisbane’s City Square and head for U.S Consulate until Riot Squad wades in

May 12 – 1000 march in Adelaide after assembly in Victoria Square. The police attack marchers and make forty arrests. In most state capitals the police have turned violent bashings into an art form

May 15 – Daring raid on Stock Exchange in Brisbane by eight anti-war activists who throw animal blood on the blackboards

May 16Tribune article by Malcolm Salmon – ‘Nixon’s reckless gamble in mining North Vietnam’s harbours adds new and alarming international dimension to the war. The real crunch will come when Soviet and other vessels attempt to run Nixon’s blockade’

May 18 – Commonwealth police arrest draft resister William Robert Wood in Canberra

May 19 – 10,000 occupy Bourke Street/Swanston Street intersection in Vietnam Moratorium Campaign rally

May 20-21 – Sixty draft resisters and supporters from four states attend national anti-conscription action conference in Sydney and demonstrate outside Long Bay against jailing of William Robert Wood and Brian Childs

May 21 – Thirty-five representatives of main active anti-war organisations attend interstate consultation in Sydney

May 22 – U.S President Nixon due to visit Moscow

May 29 – Draft resister and Sydney DRU Secretary Peter Galvin refuses to appear in Sydney Court to answer charge of failing to attend a medical examination. He is sentenced to two weeks jail

May – Nixon and Soviet leaders emerge from week-long Moscow summit with joint statement of twelve principles for relations between the two superpowers. Nixon cultivates image of sincere peacemaker while washing his hands in the blood of thousands of Vietnamese men, women and children

May – Bertrand Russell War Crimes Tribunal considers trial of Nixon for war crimes

May – Latrobe University students Brian Pola and Fergus Robinson still in jail for ‘contempt’ of the Supreme Court and can be kept there indefinitely with no right of appeal or trial by jury

June 4 – Anti-conscription demonstration at Long Bay jail in Sydney

June 4 – Car cavalcade to Yatala jail near Adelaide organised by ‘Campaign for Peace in Vietnam’ to support draft resister Robert Martin

June 5 – Draft resister Brian Childs appears at court in Sydney charged with failure to pay fine for non-registration

June – Draft resister Charles Martin released from jail in South Australia

June 6 – Draft resister Steve Padgham arrested on ANU campus

June 7 – ANU students march to Canberra courthouse to protest arrest of Steve Padgham. He is released on bail and remanded to June 9

June 7 – Twenty draft resisters in Melbourne chain themselves together and take tram from Pentridge Gaol to city. They enter offices of Department of Labour and National Service – chains and all

June 9 – Sydney demonstration against planned (French) nuclear bomb tests at Mururoa Atoll

June 9 – ACTU calls for ban on services for French shipping or aircraft

June 9 – Students at ANU conduct general strike and boycott of lectures in protest against treatment of Steve Padgham. His case is adjourned to August 16. Draft resister Simon Cook burns summons

June 13Tribune article by Wilfred Burchett – ‘at least two thirds of South Vietnam is either wholly or almost wholly ‘liberated’

June – U.S air force begins systematic bombing of dykes in Red River delta region – Nixon’s act of revenge to compensate for U.S military and political humiliation. Millions in North Vietnam are threatened with flood disaster of unprecedented proportions – genocide and ecocide

June – Melbourne protestor Sharon O’Connell jailed for two days for refusal to pay $10 ‘incitement’ fine

June – Five Australian anti-war activists chosen to visit North Vietnam: Dr Robert Catley, Harry Van Moorst, Ken McLeod, Deirdre Hunter, Leo Lenane

June 15 – Sydney rally in support of Lyn Regan

June 15 – Press conference in Sydney hears report of discussions between CPA delegation (Laurie Aarons, Bernie Taft, Judy Mundey) and representatives of PRG, DRV, United National Front of Cambodia

June 16 – 200 protest against nuclear tests outside French Embassy in Canberra

June 16 – 200 march through Melbourne streets against French tests

June 16 – Fifty students from Oak Flats High School in Wollongong hire bus to Sydney to deliver protest at French Consulate – during school hours

June 17 – 2000 march in Adelaide against French tests

June 20 – General meeting of National Anti-Conscription Campaign at AICD (Sydney)

June – Amalgamated Postal Workers Union places black ban on all French mail to Australia. ACTU imposes ban on French shipping

June – Young Communist Movement (YCM) launches appeal in Australia to raise finance for building of hospital in Hanoi

June – Draft Resistance Union (DRU) formed in Goulburn (NSW)

June 22 – 2000 attend public meeting in Brisbane City Square against French tests

June 22 – ‘Statement of Opposition’ to French tests prepared by AICD and signed by 250 prominent people is delivered to French Consul-General in Sydney. 600 students march from Sydney University to 1000-strong rally at Wynyard Park

June 23 – Pupils at girls’ high school in Sydney’s western suburbs strike in protest against French nuclear tests

June 25 – 1500 protest in Sydney Domain against French tests

June 25 – 4000 respond to CICD call and march from Melbourne’s Alexandra Gardens to Joan of Arc statue in city

June 25 – Demonstrators leave Melbourne in buses hired by CICD to attend national protest against SEATO conference in Canberra

June 27 – 200 high school students gather in Sydney’s Martin Plaza to protest French nuclear tests

June 27-28 – Demonstration against SEATO conference in Canberra

June 28 – Thirty-four people appear in Melbourne Magistrates Court for refusal to pay 1971 ‘incitement’ fines. Most are sentenced to four days’ jail. Gwladys Bird and Ted Bull receive ten days

June 30 – Protest demonstration at Mascot airport International Terminal against French tests

June – Federal Council of WWF extends existing ban on French ships to French cargoes and containers, whatever the flag flown by carrying vessel

June – Three Latrobe University students are in jail with indefinite sentences. Fergus Robinson has been in Pentridge for over three months, Brian Pola two months, Barry York for more than a week. The three are in jail merely for entering the campus

July 4 – Lunch-time demonstration of over 200 young people in Adelaide to mark American Independence Day with emphasis on U.S bombing of dykes and dams in North Vietnam

July 5 – Commonwealth police raid ABC TV studios at Gore Hill Sydney thirty minutes after underground draft resister (and DRU Secretary) Peter Galvin is interviewed on This Day Tonight

July 6 – Commonwealth police raid DRU headquarters Belmore Street Enmore looking for Peter Galvin

July 7 – Seven anti-war protestors in Brisbane sentenced to jail (at weekends) for May 15 Brisbane Stock Exchange action

July 7-9 – Trade Union ‘Don’t Register Festival’ in Sydney

July 10 – Australian anti-war delegation (of five) returns from packed seven-days visit to Hanoi and Haiphong. Customs and immigration officers at Sydney airport seize movie films showing destruction by U.S bombing raids

July 10 – Draft counselling program begins at Trades Hall in Sydney

July 14 – Moratorium for Black Rights in Sydney. Students and Blacks hold joint march to Sydney Town Hall. Racist police aim punches at Blacks on march from Redfern Park

July 14 – Moratorium for Black Rights in Melbourne. 1000 protestors rally at Cook Cottage in Fitzroy Gardens and march to City Square. Sit-downs at two city intersections

July 14 – Moratorium for Black Rights in Brisbane. 2500 march to Parliament House. Five-minute sit-down in Adelaide Street preceded and followed by meetings in King George Square

July 14 – Moratorium for Black Rights in Adelaide. 1000 whites and eighty aborigines rally outside Australia Hotel in North Adelaide and march to Victoria Square

July 14 – Moratorium for Black Rights marches in Newcastle, Wollongong, Canberra, Darwin

July 15 – ‘Don’t Register’ leaflet distribution in Sydney

July 17 – Jack Mundey, Pat Clancy and ten others (arrested July 15) appear in Special Federal Court in Sydney on charges of attempting to incite persons to fail to register for National Service. All are remanded until August 28

July 17 – Sydney draft resister Ian Davis arrested after he appears on charge of ‘incitement’ in Federal Court and will serve seventeen days in jail for refusing to pay fine (for refusing medical examination). Draft resister Chris Shanley served with summons after the hearing

July 18 – AICD public meeting to hear report-back from anti-war delegation to Vietnam. The meeting launches civilian and medical aid fund for Vietnam

July – Collections forms circulate for ‘Vietnam Appeal’ (world-wide move to raise $500,000 in donations for the building of a children’s hospital in Hanoi)

July – Three Australians in Paris to protest to French Government over nuclear tests – Dr Helen Caldicott (Adelaide Children’s Hospital), Dr Jim Cairns, Ken Newcombe (Australian Union of Students)

July 19 – Students at Sydney University vote to establish draft resisters’ sanctuary in Union Building. Five draft resisters (for whom arrest warrants have been issued) camp overnight with 100 supporters

July 20 – Aboriginal Embassy tents pulled down at Parliament House in Canberra

July – Five draft resisters at Monash University stay for several days in the Union building conducting meetings and press conferences. They are Michael Matteson, John Halpin, Peter Galvin, John Varley, Tony Dalton

July 21 – National Anti-conscription Mobilisation in Sydney. Rally outside Department of Labour and National Service. Protestors defy Crimes Act by distributing leaflets inciting 20-year-olds not to register for ‘National Service’

July 21 – National Anti-conscription Mobilisation in Melbourne. Two separate marches converge to blockade DLNS offices in city. Police push into crowd with horses and cars. Protestors punched and manhandled

July 21 – National Anti-conscription Mobilisation. Blockades of DLNS in Adelaide, Perth, Wollongong, Canberra

July 23 – Concert for Red Cross relief for North Vietnam at Camberwell Civic Centre organised by CICD

July 23 – Police riot in Canberra. 300 aborigines from all over Australia rally to Canberra over weekend to defend right to establish Aboriginal Embassy. Demonstrators (mainly aborigines) viciously attacked by 250 police. Court hearing for injunction against Government (for pulling down Embassy tents) due to be heard July 25

July 28 – Melbourne anti-draft demonstration organised by DRU. 200 protestors distribute leaflets urging young men not to register and 51 are arrested

July 29 – Anti-conscription demonstration at Sydney Town Hall. Seven protestors arrested for incitement to violate National Service Act

July 30 – Mass demonstration outside Parliament House in Canberra to support Aboriginal Embassy. 2000 marchers led by 500 aborigines leave ANU campus and march to Parliament House

July – Fines imposed on sixteen people in Melbourne Magistrates Court on charges of inciting breaches of National Service Act. Gwladys Bird faces ten days jail for refusal to pay previous fines

August 2 – The three gaoled Latrobe University students are released – Fergus Robinson after 118 days, Brian Pola after 103 days, Barry York after 39 days

August 5-6 – Thirty protestors arrested at weekend during anti-conscription demonstrations on steps of GPO in Melbourne. They are charged under the Crimes Act with incitement to breach the National Service Act. The total number arrested during present intake period is well over 100

August – Draft resisters David Hayhow, Chris Shanley, Peter Galvin, Bob Wilton arrested in Sydney while distributing leaflets outside Sydney Town Hall

August – Four-man trade union delegation chosen to visit North Vietnam – Neville Hill (AMWU Victoria), Ron Arnold (AMWU NSW), R. Giffard (Secretary Seamen’s Union South Australia), George Crawford (Federal Secretary Plumbers Union, Victoria)

August – Dr Jim Cairns elected new Chairman of CICD replacing Rev. Alf Dickie

August – Three draft resisters currently serving eighteen-month prison terms in Pentridge – Bob Scates, Ken McClelland, Ian Turner

August 14 – Proceedings against Hal Alexander in Sydney Magistrates Court arising from demonstration over the mining of Haiphong harbour by U.S. Alexander is convicted of using ‘unseemly words’ and fined $40 or eight-days jail. He has no intention of paying the fine. If arrested to serve the eight days, he will not cooperate with the authorities

August – Commonwealth police raid Enmore headquarters of DRU looking for resister Ian Davis who has been ‘underground’ for two weeks

August 21 – NSW BLF President Bob Pringle and ironworker John Phillips appear before judge and jury for allegedly sawing down goalposts at SCG on eve (July 8, 1971) of first South Africa v Australia rugby ‘Test’

August 23 – Pringle and Phillips both fined $500 and put on $1000 bonds to be of ‘good behaviour’ for three years

August 28 – Thirteen people, including union leaders Jack Mundey and Pat Clancy, convicted under Crimes Act of inciting young men to break the National Service Act and fined $60 each (Chris Shanley fined $30)

September 2-3 – Seven young people spend third weekend in Boggo Road jail after being sentenced over Brisbane Stock Exchange protest (May 15) against Nixon’s blockade of North Vietnam ports

September – Draft resister Steve Padgham sentenced in Canberra to eighteen-months jail for refusing to obey call-up notice. He is now in Goulburn jail

September 6 – Banned Michael Matteson interview broadcast on ABC radio current affairs program Fact and Opinion. ABC staff had threatened further action if it was banned a second time

September 22 – Jack Mundey appears in Supreme Court (Sydney) charged with ‘contempt of court’ over alleged August 23 statements about the recent sentencing of anti-apartheid activists Bob Pringle and John Phillips. The case is adjourned to October 12

October 3 – General meeting of anti-war activists in Sydney to plan action on November 18

October 3 – Prominent trade unionists and other progressives launch statement of support for Jack Mundey and propose immediate formation of ‘Jack Mundey Defence Committee’

October 10 – Article in Tribune by Malcolm Salmon outlining the content of September 12 statement by PRG of South Vietnam clarifying its negotiating position in Paris. The September 12 declaration is composed of two parts – the first refers to the right of the Vietnamese people to true independence and effective self-determination. The second part of the declaration insists on the formation of a ‘provisional government of national concord with three equal segments to take charge of affairs in the period of transition and to organise truly free and democratic general elections.’ Salmon explains the offensive of the liberation forces in South Vietnam has entered its seventh month. 1000 hamlets are now fully controlled by them (compared to seven before the offensive began)

October 12 – Rally to support Jack Mundey who appears before Judge (but not jury) at Supreme Court. Builders’ labourers and others march from Phillip Street to Macquarie Street for first day’s hearing of ‘contempt’ case

October 14 – AICD receives cable from Vietnam Peace Committee: ‘The Nixon Administration is misleading public opinion, while re-Americanising the war and increasing its barbarous air and naval attacks against our country’

October 15 – Sunday march to Pentridge in support of draft resisters assembles outside Carlton Football Ground (Royal Parade)

October – ‘National Anti-war Consultation’ in Melbourne convened by Australian Union of Students (AUS) issues call for demonstrations on November 18 and adopts resolution expressing solidarity with Indochinese people. Over seventy representatives from anti-war organisations in all states except West Australia are present

October – Ad-hoc ‘Anti-War Action Coalition’ formed in Sydney to organise November 18 march from Circular Quay to U.S Consulate and Hyde Park

October – Federal Attorney-General Greenwood replies to May 23 (1972) question from Senator Turnbull: up to January 1972, 695,000 youths were required to register for National Service, but 13,000 had failed to do so. 147,000 were required to submit to an army medical but 441 had failed to do so. 55,000 were required to enter the Army, but 110 had not done so

October 17 – (Tribune editorial): ‘The Nixon Administration has designed a campaign to raise hopes that a breakthrough in the Paris negotiations on Vietnam may be imminent. No confidence can be placed in the peace hopes that Nixon is deliberately raising. Nixon seeks to contain, cajole and hoodwink public opinion in the USA’

October 20 – Demonstration outside Fairlea Women’s Prison in support of Jean McLean. McLean has been sentenced to six days jail following her refusal to pay fines for ‘incitement’ to breach the National Service Act

October 21 – 200 anti-war protestors march through the streets of Armidale (NSW) in response to initiative of ‘Socialist Action Movement’ at University of New England

October – Mundey Defence Committee circulates ‘Statement of Defiance’ with 428 signatories

October – AICD in Sydney establishes ‘Committee for Friendship and Solidarity with the Vietnamese People.’ A main objective will be to launch a medical aid program in coordination with the Health Ministry of the DRV, and the PRG Liberation Red Cross in the South

October 24 – (Tribune editorial): ‘There is speculation concerning an imminent settlement in Indochina. Kissinger has met with DRV representatives in Paris and Thieu in Saigon’

October 26 – The Democratic Republic of Vietnam in Hanoi dramatically announces that DRV and U.S have reached a ‘nine-point agreement’. According to the DRV, the agreement was reached in Paris on October 8 and is to be formally signed there on October 31

October – Labor parliamentarians Jim Cairns and Kep Enderby call for Nixon to sign ‘nine-point agreement’ by October 31

October – Thieu threatens to bring before a military tribunal anyone displaying an NLF flag in Saigon

October – Representative anti-war delegation from three cities calls at U.S Embassy in Canberra

October 30 – AICD in Sydney receives cable from ‘Stockholm Conference on Indochina’ stating Thieu has begun to slaughter NLF prisoners. The cable calls for organisations to pressure Nixon to sign ‘nine-point agreement’ by October 31

October 30 – 200 protestors respond to call by AICD and gather outside U.S Consulate in Sydney, chanting ‘1, 2, 3, 4 – sign the peace and end the war’

October 30 – VMC and CPV hold vigil in Adelaide

October 30 – Demonstrators protest at U.S Consulate in Melbourne

October 31 – Meeting at AICD organised by ‘Committee for Friendship and Solidarity with the Vietnamese People’ to help sponsor advertisement launching Medical Aid Fund

October 31 – Demonstration at U.S Consulate in Brisbane demanding U.S sign ‘nine-point agreement’

November 2 – 100 protestors respond to call by AICD and demonstrate in lunch-hour against Thieu regime special envoy Tran Kim Phuong when he visits Sydney to speak to Foreign Minister Bowen at Commonwealth Parliamentary Offices in Martin Place

November 7 – Demonstration in Adelaide calling on U.S to sign ‘nine-point agreement’

November 7 – Gough Whitlam delivers ALP Federal Election policy speech and pledges to abolish conscription

November – CICD in Melbourne reacts to breach of ceasefire agreement and organises campaign of cables to US Ambassador, deputations to Consul-General in Melbourne, picket of U.S Consulate

November – Barrister Ted Laurie QC returns from ‘Third Session of the Committee of Enquiry into U.S Crimes in Indochina’ (Copenhagen, October 10-17)

November 9 – Draft resisters Michael Matteson, Sandy Thomas, Peter Gunning give themselves up. Commonwealth police finally arrest Matteson at his parents’ home in Enmore. Matteson is sentenced to eighteen months on the same day and is now in Long Bay jail

November 12 – Public meeting organised by CICD at Nicholas Hall to hear reports by Ted Laurie and Tasmanian Derek Roebuck on Copenhagen war crimes enquiry

November – Richard Nixon defeats George McGovern in U.S Presidential Election and wins a second term in the White House

November – Sandy Thomas sentenced to seven days jail in Sydney for refusing medical under National Service Act

November 15-17 – Jack Mundey appears before Justice Hope in Supreme Court on ‘contempt of court’ charge

November 17 – Deputation representing ten unions arrives at U.S Consulate in Sydney and presents letter calling on U.S Government to sign for peace in Vietnam without delay

November 18 – Saturday morning anti-war march of several hundred in Melbourne (Trades Hall to U.S Consulate) organised by Vietnam Moratorium Campaign

November 18 – Saturday morning anti-war march of 400 in Sydney (West Circular Quay to Hyde Park) organised by anti-war coalition in Sydney

November 29 – United Nations General Assembly votes to outlaw use of napalm and other incendiary weapons. U.S and Australia abstain from voting

December 2 – Liberal-Country Party coalition routed in Federal election. Massive swing in favour of ALP

December 3 – Attorney-General designate Senator Lionel Murphy pledges imprisoned draft resisters will be freed ‘within 24 hours of the Government being sworn in’

December 3 – Draft resisters visit Pentridge jail to hail Bob Scates and Ken McClelland

December 12 – Anti-war forces in Melbourne meet at Trades Hall and conduct post-mortem on the small protest turn-out on Saturday November 18

December 12 – Sydney anti-war activists meet to plan for projected 1973 visits of delegations from PRG and DRV

December – Whitlam Government restores passport of Wilfred Burchett

December 17 – Draft Resisters Union (DRU) in Melbourne celebrates end of draft at Sunday get-together in Richmond

December – Sydney DRU Secretary Peter Galvin declares DRU in Sydney will not close shop

December – Kissinger and Le Duc Tho leave Paris and return to their respective capitals without any announcement of a date for future meetings




Download the full timeline here, or click through below for a year-by-year timeline (with pictures) of this momentous period.


‘Taking to the Streets against the Vietnam War’: A Timeline History of Australian Protest 1962-1972
















Citation: Ken Mansell, ‘Taking to the Streets against the Vietnam War’: A Timeline History of Australian Protest 1962-1972, Labour History Melbourne (8 May 2020).

©Ken Mansell