Australia in the 1920s

National development

In the early 1920s, EJ Brady, a journalist, publicist and author, captured public imagination when he published a glossy book called Australia Unlimited. He argued that Australia should develop its natural resources and population as quickly as possible. The potential for expansion and growth was evident and Australia was expected to rival the USA in size and power.

In this expansive spirit, the states and federal governments created massive public debt as they embarked on ambitious nation-building projects. The prime minister, Stanley Bruce, supported this optimism and won successive elections with slogans about getting more 'men, money and markets' into the country.

In 1925, the Assisted Migration Scheme between Australia and Britain was established to provide approximately 450,000 migrants over a ten-year period.

A 1928 poster encouraging British people to migrate to Australia

A snapshot of 1928

  • February
    • Bert Hinkler landed in Darwin after taking about 15 days for the first solo flight from Britain to Australia.

  • May
    • Charles Kingsford Smith flew across the Pacific Ocean from Oakland, California to Brisbane in 10 days.
    • Reverend John Flynn started flying doctors and nurses to the outback as a precursor to the first Royal Flying Doctor Service, which would be established in 1942.

  • June
    • The Commonwealth Savings Bank of Australia was established as a separate entity.

  • August
    • Australian Iron and Steel began production with a blast furnace in Port Kembla.

  • December
    • Speedo produced its first swimsuit and Aeroplane Jelly was launched.


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