Fund-raising badges were routinely produced in Australia during the First World War. They were sold in trams and buses, at railway stations and at rallies. This badge dates from around the time of the first conscription plebiscite in 1916. The divisive debate and close result of the plebiscite prompted many charities and other organisations to use fundraising campaigns to revitalise support for the war effort. Badges like this were used to appeal to citizens’ pride in Australia’s role in the Allied effort, and its place in the British Empire.
This badge is one of a large collection of badges acquired by the Hussey family of Healesville, Victoria, during and after the First World War. It is believed that the collection was begun by William Hussey, who enlisted in 1917 and was killed in action in 1918. The collection was later expanded by other members of the family.