National Service – compulsory military training – has a long tradition in Australia. Since Federation, a National Service scheme has existed four times. This included during both the First and Second World Wars, though these men were never deployed beyond Australia's borders. Many did go on to join the First and Second Australian Imperial Forces so they could serve overseas.
The third National Service scheme existed from 1951 until 1959. However, it was criticised as being irrelevant to modern defence needs. Skill was considered more important than numbers, and the constant training of new recruits was a drain on finances and manpower.
The fourth and last National Service scheme began in 1964. For the first time, national servicemen were integrated into the regular army in order to serve overseas – in Vietnam. More than 200 national servicemen would be killed during the Vietnam War.
This service is to remember the 280,000 men who undertook National Service between 1951 and 1972. These men are affectionately known as the 'Nashos'.
- Shrine Life Governor Lieutenant Colonel Adrian Lombardo
Reviewed 09 January 2023