Loyalty League

The Loyalty League began in Victoria in March 1918, after the second defeat of the divisive conscription referendum, fears that Irish and Catholic minorities posed a security threat, and heavy army losses on the Western Front. Amid bitter sectarianism fanned by the press, the Tasmanian group was formed in July, with members of parliament and Protestant clergy to the fore.

The Loyalty League maintained unswerving attachment to the ideals of King, Protestantism and Empire, believing it was a bulwark against the evil forces of sedition and disloyalty. It pledged to uphold civil and religious freedom and equality for all citizens, and to maintain the existing national system of education. It aimed to teach civic duty and foster loyalty through the state school system by displaying the national flag and singing the national anthem. The League faded after the war.

Further reading: J Oxley, 'The foundation of the Tasmanian League of Loyalty', Honours thesis, UT, 1974.

Wendy Rimon