End of Australia’s 4th. National Service Scheme – 1964 to 1972

Thursday 8th. September 2022 marked the 50th. Anniversary since the end of Australia’s 4th. National Service Scheme introduced in 1964 when conflicts in Southeast Asia raised fears about Australia’s security.

The National Service Bill became law in late 1964, with conscripts (Nashos) liable for overseas service from 1965. Selection for military service was based on a birthday ballot. The 1st. Nasho in this Scheme to serve overseas on active service was SA’s John Blackett in Borneo during the Indonesian Confrontation.

Between 1964 and 1972, more than 804,000 men registered for national service, of whom more than 63,000 were called up to serve in the Army where many were integrated into regular units that served in Vietnam.

The Australian Government announced the withdrawal of troops from Vietnam in 1971, followed by the termination of the Scheme in late 1972.

200 Nashos died and more than 1200 were wounded on active service.

Between 1951 and 1972, a total of 287,000 young Australian men were called up in two separate schemes for compulsory training in the Navy, Army and Air Force. Of them, 212 died on active service in Borneo and Vietnam. National Service was part of Australia’s defence preparedness for three decades.

History – Of National Service