Australia in the 1920s

The car revolution

In 1925, the Ford Motor Company in Geelong began assembling cars using imported engines. In 1926, General Motors set up an assembly plant for motor vehicles in Melbourne. By 1927, new annual car registrations reached a peak of 82,500, a figure that would not be matched until after the Second World War.

In 1928, national motor vehicle registrations topped 500,000 in a total population of 5 million people. This rapid expansion of automobile sales brought with it, in 1928, an unwanted record of approximately 1,000 deaths caused by road accidents. This situation sparked the introduction of new road rules and speed limits. 

The interior of the Ford Australia plant in Geelong

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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