The New Guard was a monarchist and anti-leftist movement active from 1931 to 1935.

The movement was formed in Sydney in February 1931. According to its membership application form, the New Guard stood for:

  • unswerving loyalty to the throne
  • all for the British Empire
  • sane and honourable government throughout Australia
  • suppression of any disloyal and immoral elements in government, industrial and social circles
  • abolition of machine politics
  • maintenance of the full liberty of the individual.

The movement was strongly anti-Communist. It was deeply suspicious of the Labor NSW Premier, Jack Lang, and his political and economic response to the Great Depression.

The New Guard's leader was Eric Campbell, a World War I veteran. Campbell organised the movement along military lines, with divisional commanders, zone commanders and a chief commander. Members were divided into classes based on their physical fitness and technical abilities.

At its height, the New Guard had a membership of over 50,000 people. It was almost exclusively based in New South Wales, with most members in Sydney.

An improving economy and the dismissal of the Lang Government saw the New Guard lose much of its support in 1932. Despite efforts to expand its activities, the movement folded in 1935.

Records relating to the New Guard

The National Archives holds many records relating to the New Guard and its members.

These include:

  • security investigations into the New Guard
  • copies of New Guard publications and reports about them
  • records about alleged links between the New Guard and the Department of Defence. 

Further reading

Several books have been published about the New Guard, including:

  • The Rallying Point: My Story of the New Guard, by Eric Campbell (Melbourne University Press, 1965). Campbell's volume of memoirs.
  • The New Guard Movement 1931–1935, by Keith Amos (Melbourne University Press, 1976). A later study of the New Guard. 

More records relating to the New Guard are held by State Records of New South Wales and the State Library of New South Wales.

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