Egg Throwing Incident

Egg Throwing Incident
Information board about the incident, 2015
Information board about the incident, 2015
Date 29 November 1917
Location Warwick, Queensland
Causes Conscription
Methods Civil disobediance

The Egg Throwing Incident occurred on 29 November 1917 in Warwick, Queensland, Australia. An egg was thrown at the Australian Prime Minister Billy Hughes at the Warwick railway station during his campaign for the 1917 plebiscite on conscription. The egg was thrown by Patrick Michael Brosnan, possibly assisted by his brother Bartie Brosnan.[1]


  • Background 1
  • Warwick speech 2
  • Aftermath 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
    • Attribution 5.1
  • External links 6


Pressured by British leaders for increased Australian participation in the war effort, Labour Prime Minister Billy Hughes announced his intention to hold a national referendum on compulsory military conscription in October 1916. After a particularly bitter campaign, a majority of Australians voted against the proposal, the issue splitting the Federal Labor Party. After joining with the conservative Opposition to form a nationalist government in February 1917, Hughes resolved to hold a second conscription referendum the following December.[2]

The campaign was just as volatile as the first, and with the Queensland Government under Premier T.J. Ryan strongly anti-conscription, Hughes decided to tour southern Queensland in a bid to whip up support for his cause.[2]

Warwick speech

Hughes ordered the local police officer, Sergeant Kenny, to arrest Brosnan but the policeman said "you have no jurisdiction".[3][4][5]


This incident has been associated with the forming of the Commonwealth Police.[6] There had been plans to create such a police force for over a decade but it is felt that this incident acted as a catalyst for it to happen.[7]

In November 2007 the 90th anniversary of the Warwick Egg Incident was celebrated with an historic re-enactment at Warwick railway station.[2][8]

See also


  2. ^ a b c "Number 120 - Telegram from Prime Minister Hughes to the Commissioner for Police regarding being egged (later referred to as the “Warwick Egg Incident”)".  
  6. ^ Monuments Australia"Egg Throwing Plaque", accessed 22 June 2015
  7. ^ Australian Federal Police" Early vision for national policing body", accessed 22 June 2015
  8. ^ "Ninety years on, the egg is still fresh in Warwick".  


This WorldHeritage article contains text from "Number 120 - Telegram from Prime Minister Hughes to the Commissioner for Police regarding being egged (later referred to as the “Warwick Egg Incident”)" published by the Queensland State Archives under CC-BY 3.0 AU license (last updated 5 March 2012, accessed on 18 October 2015, archived on 18 October 2015).

External links

  • Statements, reports, telegrams and newspaper extracts concerning the Prime Minister W.M. Hughes and the egg throwing incident at Warwick Railway Station, 29 November 1917 – 6 December 1917 at Qld State Archives
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