The great depression had an immense effect on Australia both economically and socially. During the time of the Great Depression Australia’s economy was largely dependent on wool and wheat exports thus when the Depression hit and the exports lessened in value many industries were consequently effected, leaving many out of work. Due to the increasing unemployment rate there was a sense of insecurity and hopelessness throughout Australian society which came to a shock to many whom were unprepared, especially the middle to lower working class families. In contrast, however, a silver lining in the darkening cloud of the Depression was seen by some and many today. The wealthy and employed remained relatively well off as they enjoyed the price decrease. The Depression also brought about goodness in people with charities and taught many important lessons which was apart of the shaping of Australia’s character.
The cause of the Great Depression is debatable however it is acknowledged by many that it was the Wall St, New York Stock Exchange, crash which signalled the recession many countries faced into the depression. One of the main reasons Australia fell victim to the Great Depression was because of the debts Australia owed to Britain and overseas. For example, one year before the Depression in 1928 the government had borrowed £52 million. For Australia to repay their massive debts the exportation of wool and wheat was heavily depended upon. Also lack of funding from overseas also produced a reduction of public working, causing unemployment. The newly unemployed then brought about more unemployment as there were less buying goods as they could not afford them. By 1932 unemployment was at it’s highest at 32%.
... impact upon Australia society? The Depression has a big impact on Australian society firstly it meant the shame of unemployment. In Australia, unemployment peaked in ... The Depression 1921-1940 The Great Depression known as 'Black Thursday' began in October 1929 and lasted ... had paid for the shares. The main cause for the Great Depression was the combination of the greatly unequal distribution of wealth ...
The Great Depression shocked Australia’s economy greatly as it “rode on the sheep’s back”. The dependence on wool and wheat exports made Australia vulnerable to the world market fluctuations. Wool exports made up two-thirds of Australia’s total exports and in itself was not secure as it risked being replaced by synthetic substitutes. As the Depression progressed there was little demand for these commodities resulting in devaluation in the world market and was followed by the suffrage of many industries’ income. As the industries income decreased due to price cuts, in 1930 the income was half of that of 1930, the number of unemployed Australians increased. As a result, by 1931 the Australian dollar was devalued from 1.25 pounds sterling to 1-pound sterling.
The Great Depression also came as a surprise to Australia’s society as to be unemployed in a society which one would expect full employment was quite traumatic for some. Unemployment affected the working class, farmers and middle class small business owners. This caused great distress among many fathers who had fought for their country and families in the war and were now out of work and unable to provide for their families. Many left their families to come back when they found work or just took to the bottle, some even ended up committing suicide. With mothers left alone to take care of their family there were feelings of hopelessness. Working class children as young as thirteen or fourteen years of age also felt the repercussion of the Depression. Many left school in search of jobs feeling guilty so that they could help support their family.
Families also who rented houses could be evicted if they were unable to pay the rent. Loans that couldn’t be payed also resulted in farmers losing their farms and hence jobs and homes. Many were homeless because of the Great Depression and sought refuge in public parks or public homes such as Happy Valley. Those employed also faced guilt and fear as they could be jobless overnight and have to live on the streets like those who made them guilty for their lifestyle and those who could often contributed to charities. The Great Depression not only lightened the Australia’s pockets but also greatly affected the mentality of many.
When we talk about family, there should be a house where parents and children can live together, with extended family link with grandparents, uncles, aunts and so on. Although the notions of family may be the same, there still are a lot of diversities between different countries’ family life. A comparison of family life in Australia and China from governmental, cultural and social aspects ...
To support those affected by the great depression charities existed however due to the overwhelming number of unemployed they could not always cope. Charities like the Salvation Army provided the unemployed with simple meals, clothing and shelter. Settlements in public parks and borders of cities were also a popular place for the unemployed to reside. An example of one of these is Happy Valley which was a group of makeshift houses accommodating around three-hundred men and children. However, as charities and hostels were not prepared or financially able to support the sheer number of people in demand of their service.
State governments also provided sustenance, or as it was more commonly known “susso”, for the completely impoverished. The susso consisted of food rations, usually bread and potatoes, to keep the population alive and sometimes surplus clothes from the army. Relief work was also available to those relatively ‘fortunate’ enough which would consist of public working with a reduced wage. Having said this it is easy to see that the government and existing charities were less than able to fully help the approximate unemployed one third of Australia’s population. On the other hand it was up to the other two thirds still with jobs and with an income of some sort to donate to charities.
Conversely, the Great Depression had its advantages which were lived during the time of the depression and later have been realised. The wealthy in Australia were able to increase their wealth as they were able to make profits buying things like land which was being sold at bargain prices. Some of the wealthy also helped those affected by the Depression by donating to charities or even forming organisations to help those like the children of the unemployed. In this sense the Great Depression brought out the goodness in many by their acts of kindness. There was also a hidden goodness for those affected as well. Many learnt how to cope without money and luxuries, how to be self dependant in growing their own food and learnt cost saving techniques. The Great Depression also brought many Australians together in places such as Happy Valley where the well being of the residents was dependant on everyone getting along. The Great Depression made many wealthy and helped produce the resilience, generosity, mateship and resourcefulness commonly seen in Australians today.
How was Australia affected by depression in 1920's? Australia was one of the countries deeply affected by the Depression. This was due to the fact that Australia heavily depended on the imports, trade and investment intake from overseas. The economy was already unstable and was in trouble during the 1920's. The wealth of the economy was only based on the high prices of Australia's exports and ...
The Great Depression had a dramatic effect on Australia both economically and socially. It brought about negative effects such as depression, loss and the breaking up of families while also bringing about some goodness like profit for the wealthy and the creation of the Australian attitude which is common today.
Spencely G, 1981, “The Depression Decade”, Nelson, MelbourneLouis LJ and Turner I, 1988,”Depression of the 1930’s”, Cassel, MelbourneMason KJ, 1975, “Experience of Nationhood – Modern Australia since 1901”, Mac Graw-Hill Australia, NSWPaul A, 2004, “Australia in the 20th Centaury”, Macmillian Education, MelbourneDepartment of Communications Information, 2007, The Great Depression, viewed 17th September 2007,