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Production   /  Christine


How ordinary people stopped a war: resistance to the Vietnam War and Conscription in South Australia.


Impact areas



  • DIRECTOR Christine Belford and Carolyn Corkindale

  • PRODUCER Christine Belford and Carolyn Corkindale



2022 marks 50 years since the final protests, designed to show the Government of Australia that there was widespread opposition to the Vietnam War and to Conscription which allowed National Servicemen to fight and in 200 cases, be killed.
In South Australia, protest and awareness came from within universities with groups such as the Campaign for Peace in Vietnam, Students for a Democratic Alliance, Draft Resistors Union and Save Our Sons.
Interviews with some of those South Australians who were involved first hand, brings to life the strongly felt beliefs, the protest, the bravery, the radical actions, the incarcerations, the suffering of those who opposed the war, those who chose not to be conscripted and those who supported them. What motivated them and how their later lives were affected are also explored.
It is timely to record these experiences as those who were 20 at the time are now 70 plus and their voices still provide inspiration for citizens to take action.

Support this project

10.94% funded
  • $32,000.00

  • $3,500.00

  • July 2022

  • 3

Minimum amount is $ Maximum amount is $





Peter Hanlon $2,000.00
David Donaldson $1,000.00
Laura Sutton $500.00

Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

From 1965 until 1972 every young man turning 20 in Australia faced the prospect of their birth date being randomly selected, and being compelled to register for the army, with the real possibility of having to go and fight in the Vietnam War. There were many who believed the War and the Law were wrong and made the decision to participate in civil disobedience to show their dissent. This film seeks to acknowledge the motives and sacrifices of those who refused to register and those who opposed the War. Their cause eventually changed the beliefs of a nation and brought about a change of Government. It is hoped that their stories will inspire future generations to fight for their beliefs.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

When is it justified to break the Law? When and how should Governments be called to account? This documentary highlights the actions, courage and sacrifices of those who believed that Australia was involved in an immoral war in Vietnam and was heartlessly using National Servicemen to fight it. It will be an historical tribute to those who protested and offer encouragement to those who seek to fight for justice today.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

Protesters of the times will see their efforts acknowledged and be able to share their experiences with family and friends. Viewers will have greater understanding of what was at stake in these tumultuous times and of the extensive social unrest that included the anti Vietnam War and Conscription demonstrations.
Legal Studies and Social Studies classes in schools will be encouraged to use the film as a vehicle to discuss the legal, philosophical and moral outcomes of taking action in support of strongly held beliefs. To consider the concept of social conscience and whether it is ever lawful to break the law?
It is hoped that the spirit of the film – that sustained and values based protest can bring about change - will permeate through society and provide inspiration to future social action groups.
The actions of those who resisted the War and Conscription will be remembered as a significant part of South Australian history.


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

It will provide a vehicle for people who lived through those times, to tell each other and the public, stories that may have been kept silent until now. Many memories have been ignited during our interviews so far, which the participants have found illuminating. The documentary shows many examples of peaceful protest, civil disobedience and law breaking which the protesters employed to achieve their aims of defeating what they saw as the immoral actions of the Government of the time. The actions they took will be both challenging and inspiring to the audience. We hope that young activists will learn from what was achieved back then, and begin or continue their campaigns to alert the community and governments about issues which demand change.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

These are informal partnerships as essentially this is an independent production. The organisations and individuals mentioned here have been helpful to us in our research of the topic and in guiding the direction of the film. As well as those who have agreed to be interviewed for the documentary, they have also been generous in sharing information and resources with us:
Draft Resisters Union, Independent and Peaceful Australia Network, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Centre for Democracy, History Trust of SA, SA Unions, Labour History Society. We have spoken to Lynn Arnold, one of the organisers of the Vietnam War Moratorium Campaign in South Australia, and to Carolyn Collins, the author of Save our Sons, both of whom have given us invaluable links to activists from the time. Malcolm McKinnon who has interviewed protesters as part of his previous documentaries, Defining Times et al, has assisted with links to footage and people.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

Rather than specific actions related to the film, we hope that people are informed and inspired in the first instance, that they feel empowered in their own lives to question government policy and societal norms, and take appropriate action to redress the things that they find wrong in the world. We hope that on viewing, that all our partners will embrace and promote the film through their websites and Facebook sites, that it will provoke memories for some, be an inspiration for others and increase awareness of South Australian history.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

Short term: The film is accepted into relevant Australian Film Festivals and after that, has widespread screenings. The film finds a place in the 50th anniversary celebrations of the change of government that changed the laws about conscription and the Vietnam War. An initial cast and crew screening allows those who were interviewed and who supported the film to see it and feel acknowledged.
Medium term: The film is visible to the public through Museum and History organisation websites. Ways in which this film could be used to promote discussion in schools about civil rights and citizen action are explored, and this is received favourably.
Longer term: More difficult to quantify, but that the film is part of longer term recognition of the continuing value of a sustained culture of citizen empowerment.