Between 1965 & 1972, twenty-year-old Australian males had to register for National Service. The ballot was held twice a year and the marbles, which bear numbers that represented birth dates, were used in a barrel to determine who would be called up. The stick was pushed into the barrel and whichever ball lodged in the head of the stick was drawn. Men born on that date were thereby called up for National Service.
National Service was a hotly debated issue. These ballot balls were the items at the centre of the argument. The peace movement in Australia was opposed not only to Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War, but also to conscription of young men into national Service.
The cabinet contains the stick and some of the marbles that were used in selecting birth dates to decide who would be called up for National Service from 1965 to 1972.