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June 26, 2023

Australian History 1900-1940

Between 1900 and 1940, Australia experienced several significant events that shaped its history. These years witnessed the country’s transition from a collection of separate colonies to the formation of a united nation. Here are some of the noteworthy events during this period:

At the turn of the 20th century, Australia was made up of six separate colonies: New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania. In 1901, these colonies federated to form the Commonwealth of Australia. This event, known as Federation, marked a major milestone in Australian history as it established a unified political entity with its own constitution and federal government.

One of the first acts of the newly formed Australian government was to introduce the Immigration Restriction Act of 1901, commonly known as the White Australia Policy. This policy aimed to restrict immigration primarily to people of European descent and was intended to preserve the country’s perceived racial purity. The policy remained in effect for several decades and had significant social and political consequences.

In 1914, Australia joined World War I as part of the British Empire. The country’s involvement in the war had a profound impact on its society and identity. Australian soldiers participated in major battles, including the Gallipoli Campaign in 1915, which resulted in heavy casualties. The experiences of war and the sacrifices made by Australian servicemen and women contributed to a growing sense of national identity and pride.

Following World War I, Australia faced a period of economic hardship and social unrest. The Great Depression, which began with the stock market crash in 1929, had severe consequences for the Australian economy. Unemployment soared, industries suffered, and many people struggled to make ends meet. The government implemented various measures to address the crisis, including public works programs and protectionist policies aimed at supporting local industries.

In 1931, the Statute of Westminster was passed by the British Parliament. This statute granted greater autonomy to self-governing dominions within the British Empire, including Australia. It affirmed the legislative independence of Australia and marked an important step towards the country’s full sovereignty.

During the 1930s, tensions rose on the international stage, leading to the outbreak of World War II in 1939. Once again, Australia joined the conflict as part of the Allied powers. The war had a significant impact on the country, both in terms of military involvement and the home front. Australian forces fought in various theaters, including the Pacific, North Africa, and Europe.

In summary, between 1900 and 1940, Australia experienced significant events such as Federation, the implementation of the White Australia Policy, participation in World War I, the impact of the Great Depression, the passage of the Statute of Westminster, and involvement in World War II. These events helped shape Australia’s identity, politics, and society during this transformative period of its history.

The significant events of Australian History between this timeline is well documented in the National Film and Sound Archives. Here is a link to this amazing list of events and clips.

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