VI. The World Wars and the Interwar Period, 1914–1945 > I. The Pacific Region, 1914–1945 > 3. Australia
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
(See 1914, Sept. 5)
3. Australia
The two world wars were Australia's largest national enterprises, and were fought at great cost in lives and suffering. The interwar period (1918–39) was stagnant economically, troughing in the Great Depression of 1929–32, when perhaps a third of Australian men were out of work. Confidence in Australia's long-term prosperity was not shaken. The economy industrialized further, but depended heavily on agriculture and mining, with 35 percent of the nation's export income up to 1950 generated by sheep grazing.  1
The outbreak of World War I revealed all Australian parties united in loyalty to the mother country and in readiness to contribute to its defense. During the war Australia sent 331,000 men overseas, who took a prominent part in the Dardanelles campaign, the Palestine campaign, and the fighting in France (after 1916). In May 1918 the five Australian divisions in France were organized as an Australian army corps, under the command of Sir John Monash, an Australian. The war was financed chiefly by borrowing and was accompanied, in Australia as elsewhere, by a great extension of government control, economic as well as political. Rising prices together with a decline in real wages led to much labor unrest and a very extensive strike in Aug.–Sept. 1917. The failure of this strike resulted in stricter organization of the trade unions and greater concentration on economic rather than political aims. In the military field the Australian government took advantage of the opportunity to seize the German island colonies south of the equator.  2
Construction of major steel mill by BHP, Australia's largest company for decades.  3
April 25
Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) landed on Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey. The place was soon called Anzac Cove, and the day Anzac Day. In the 1920s, April 25 was made a public holiday, and many Australians consider it Australia's most important national day. Anzac Cove was evacuated in Dec. 1915, and the Anzacs transferred to France or Egypt.  4
Oct. 27
William M. Hughes as prime minister and leader of the Labour Party. Hughes became the embodiment of Australian and British patriotism, and, after a visit to England in the summer of 1916, he began to advocate conscription of men for service overseas. The suggestion roused much opposition.  5
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.