recto: blank; verso: Fatigue Dress, Broadmeadows Camp

Collection ID ART03605.002
Collection type Art
Title recto: blank; verso: Fatigue Dress, Broadmeadows Camp
Measurement backing sheet: 45.5 x 28.8 cm; image: 19.2 x 20.2 cm
Object type Drawing
Maker Benson, George
Date made 1914
Copyright AWM Licensed copyright

verso: Depicts a man dressed in 'fatigue dress' with dark cuffed trousers, a jacket with sleeves too short and a wide-brimmed hat pulled down over his eyes. He wears a grim expression, his arms are held firmly by his side and his left hand appears to be clenched as if in defiance against his ill-fitting uniform.

Broadmeadows, a rural settlement to the west of Melbourne, was the site of the main camp for the reception and training of recruits for the AIF from Victoria early in the First World War. Broadmeadows had been identified as a possible site for military training in 1913, but no facilities had been established. The camp was established in August 1914 at "Mornington Park", a property loaned to the government by Mr R.G. Wilson. Early on, Broadmeadows was predominantly a tented camp and conditions were quite Spartan. These facilities, combined with wet weather and poor drainage resulted in a rapid increase in sickness among recruits in autumn 1915. Public concern, fueled by sensationalist press coverage, resulted in a decision in May 1915 to re-establish the main Victorian training camp at Seymour, approximately 100 kilometres north of Melbourne. Broadmeadows Camp remained in use throughout the war, however, with facilities being progressively improved.

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