Gomeroi man Lawrence McKenzie, a labourer from Narrabri, New South Wales, tried to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force three times over the course of two years. He was rejected every time. Lawrence's first attempt was in 1916. He identified himself as being natural-born and his complexion was listed as "dark (Aboriginal)". Despite passing his medical test, he was rejected on the basis of not being "of substantial European origin". The next record of Lawrence attempting to enlist was in 1917. This time his complexion was listed as "black", and he was given the same reason for dismissal.
By the time Lawrence tried to enlist for the third time in 1918, now aged 31, two conscription referenda had been lost and enlistment restrictions were being eased. A Military Order stated that “half-castes” (a term now considered derogatory) could enlist on the condition that the examining officer was satisfied that one of the man's parents was of European origin. This time Lawrence's complexion was listed as "dark", and he identified himself as a British-born subject. When asked if he had ever been rejected as unfit for His Majesty's Service, he answered yes: on the grounds of colour. This was to be Lawrence's third rejection, but this time the reason for him being considered unfit was listed as flat feet and bunions.
The First World War came to an end with Lawrence having been deemed unfit for service on three occasions, having never been granted the opportunity to serve for Australia.