Internment by Law in First World War Australia: Franz Wallach and Wilhelm Karl Lude
Presenter: Catherine Bond
Although not all persons considered to be ‘alien enemies’ under law were interned during the First World War, nearly 7000 persons spent time in internment camps around Australia during this period. Underpinning this system was a range of repeatedly revised Federal statutes, regulations and policies that dictated every aspect of internment from who should be interned to how many showers individuals in specific camps could take per week.
This paper examines the legal structure of internment in First World War Australia, using two men as case studies: Franz Wallach, a successful Melbourne businessman, and Wilhelm ‘Karl’ Lude, a butcher based in Loxton, SA, at the outbreak of the war. While both men were born in Germany, at the outbreak of hostilities these men were in significantly different social, economic and legal positions. However, both men would eventually be interned for the larger part of the war – Lude from 1914 and Wallach from 1915. While Karl Lude’s internment was arguably necessary for public safety, Franz Wallach’s internment was arguably a necessity for Attorney-General William Hughes, and this paper interrogates how law, and in some instances wilfully ignoring the rule of law, enabled this regime.
Dr Catherine Bond is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law, UNSW Sydney. She teaches and researches primarily in intellectual property law, with a focus on the intersection of law and history. She has published in a range of leading Australian and international journals across issues including government ownership of copyright and the Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-1918; plain packaging of tobacco products; and the introduction of a patent system in the Game of Thrones world of Westeros. Her first book, Anzac: The Landing, The Legend, The Law, analysed the regulation of the word ‘Anzac’ in Australia and internationally, from 1916 through to today. Catherine’s second book, Law in War: Freedom and restriction in Australia during the Great War, published by NewSouth Publishing in April 2020, examines the legal experiences of a range of individuals in First World War Australia.