It is the march of the troops through the children's playground which makes the recruits of ten years afterwards.
I made up my mind I was going to the war … I had no idea whatever what war implied, but I did know what it was to march to military music …
– ex-AIF member (World War I)
Most Australian school children, whether public or private, primary or secondary, had been finely tuned for warfare long before the Great War of 1914–18 had actually begun. School papers and reading books, history, geography and civics lessons, the personal persuasiveness of teachers trained to accept unequivocally “the power for good in teaching patriotism” to captive and captivated young audiences, the “rhythmic harmony” of loyalist singing, marching and versifying, the Imperial pageantry of Empire Day and the militaristic inculcations of highly disciplinary cadet training schemes all combined, in the closed educational environment of the schools, to produce young Australians well primed for unquestioning obedience to the State and martial sacrifice to the Empire. Children at a Sydney primary school were ordered to chant, in 1907, “I give my mind to my country to think for it; I give my heart because I love it; I give my hands to my country to work for it”; — “[and] to fight for it”, all the boy pupils were then expected to intone. Such orchestrated love of country was subordinated, in tum, to love of Britain's Empire — “our peace-bearing, peerless, guardian Empire” as one educator described it - which was presented as not only the largest but the worthiest empire in world history. The “cement of Empire”, it was said, contained such essential ingredients as social conformity, duty and sacrifice, which non-Catholic private schools and state schools applied with a heavily-laden trowel to impressionable young minds both preceding and during World War One.