Australian Army Mobilisation in 1914
In 1914 Australia formed two expeditionary forces: the Australian Imperial Force (AIF), which would fight in the Middle East and Europe and ultimately become the nation’s primary contribution to the war, and the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF), which travelled north to seize German New Guinea in September. The country’s part-time citizen forces were also mobilised to safeguard vital assets within Australia and protect the main ports. The rapid despatch of expeditionary forces and the garrisoning of ports and crucial infrastructure represented a remarkable achievement and its success owed a great deal to the often imperfect but nonetheless significant military preparations completed prior to 1914.
In 1914, the pre-war mostly part-time Commonwealth Military Forces were in a period of transition. The small, previously all-volunteer force was expanding to become a much larger force of over 100 battalions and regiments created on the basis of almost universal compulsory military service. This force was partially mobilised in August 1914 to provide basic security within Australia. At the same time, Australia formed the two expeditionary forces for overseas service, the largest of which — the AIF — would eclipse the pre-war army.