No holiday camp is that at Broadmeadows, where six thousand of Victoria's young men are daily drilling and becoming inured to the hardships attendant on "the tented field," preparatory to sailing overseas to help uphold the empire flag.
The times are stressful - never more so in the World's history. Great Britain is engaged in a supreme test at the hands of the military machine that has held Europe in thraldom during the past quarter of a century.
Germany has bent every energy and all the resources of an advanced civilisation, to the work of creating a murder-machine pre-eminent in its terrible efficiency.
Yet, when it is said that Germany has done so, we probably libel its millions of peace-loving and admirable citizens-for the average German does not want war. He realises too intensely what it means for himself and others.
The trouble is that the ruling classes, lacking the instinct of the British to grasp the true principles of government, have taken the god of force as their ideal, and have steadily inoculated the nation with the notion that patriotism and duty call for continuous sacrifices to the end that, when "the day" arrived for Germany to dictate her wishes to the world, other peoples should know that those wishes were commands, to be enforced by the mailed fist if necessary.
France, Russia, Great Britain, Belgium, Japan, America, have all been threatened and humiliated in turn, by the knot of military despots who now are using the German war machine with such terrible results to the poor wretches of German peasantry, who are forced by the military laws to march to their doom under the black eagles.
At the fearful cost of over 200,000 men, the German war engine has been thrust, into France, and many thousands of French, Belgian and British soldiers have laid down their lives to save civilisation - to save the world from being dragged at the heels of Kaiserdom.
The Broadmeadows camp is a typical centre where an Australian protest is being prepared, to be presented presently with rifle and bayonet-point; with the pluck and sinew "of a people born of the sunshine of the south, whose nostrils have never drawn other than the breath of freedom, whose blood-canals carry centuries of pioneering civilisation.
These men have sprung forward at the empire call, and are grimly preparing for men's work.
Many of them are boys in years and light-heartedness, but the man-mark is already upon them, as they settle down to the intricacies of drill with oneness of purpose that bespeaks recognition of a stern time ahead, and a resolution that the shock of battle shall find them, at least, fitted to do their best to uphold everything that Britishers mean when the Union Jack is raised aloft.
On Sunday the camp was open to visitors, and the roads leading to Broadmeadows were white with dust and black with conveyances of all kinds, from motor car to banana truck, while thousands of people travelled by train.
Every tent had its quota of friends and relatives, and photographers were busy "snapping" groups of soldiers and friends, pictures that may carry strange histories and memories later on.
At not a few of the tents were to be seen wives with children in arms; in others the husband tossing his little ones in the air in-perhaps a final spasm of home-life enjoyment.
There was little or no foolish laughter among even the groups of merry girls and boys, for the shadow of war was upon all, and a realisation of what that means was apparent even in the most feather-headed.
Despite the number of visitors, routine work went on as usual; squads of men marched with fixed bayonet to change guards; others were stationed between the tent lines, confining the general traffic to main avenues, and on all sides discipline was in evidence.
At 5 p.m. precisely, all visitors were excluded, and the men went to supper, and early to bed, to be prepared for a strenuous day from dawn till dark on the morrow.
The lads are being allowed to visit their home-towns (where, in the majority of instances, they are being publicly "farewelled ) and, later, will tranship for England, whither their future will be followed with the utmost interest by the whole Commonwealth.
Children o'er the sea!
Austral sons, responding,
"Cooee!"-Sons of Britain,
Hear the Mother-call!
Guard the frontier, brothers,
"Cooee!"-Let the echo
Round our sea-set isle
Stir the blood, as units
Form in rank and file!
"Cooee!"-Men and brethren,
Up! as springs the stag!
Write your empire-story!
Men, defend the flag!
Violet Town Sentinel, Tuesday 15 September 1914
Submitted by Shirley Beaumont