Australia's Great Depression

How a nation shattered by the Great War survived the worst economic crisis it has ever faced

Joan Beaumont
AUD $49.99

How a nation still in grief from the Great War found the courage and resilience to face a new tragedy, the Great Depression.

Some generations are born unlucky. Australians who survived the horrors of the Great War and the Spanish flu epidemic that followed were soon faced with the shock of the Great Depression. Today we remember long dole queues, shanty towns and destitute men roaming the country in search of work. With over a third of the workforce unemployed in 1932, Australia was one of the hardest hit countries in the world. Yet this is not the complete story.

In this wide-ranging account of the Great Depression in Australia, Joan Beaumont shows how high levels of debt and the collapse of wool and wheat prices left Australia particularly exposed in the world's worst depression. Threatened with national insolvency, and with little room for policy innovation, governments resorted to austerity and deflation. Violent protests erupted in the streets and paramilitary movements threatened the political order.

It might have ended very differently, but Australia's democratic institutions survived the ordeal. Australia's people, too, survived. While many endured great hardship, anger, anxiety and despair, most 'made do' and helped each other. Some even found something positive in the memory of this personal and communal struggle. Australia's Great Depression details this most impressive narrative of resilience in the nation's history.

'A magisterial account of an immense tragedy, told with authority, poignancy and drama.' - Frank Bongiorno, Professor of History, The Australian National University

'A masterpiece by one of Australia's most esteemed historians' - David Day, historian

'Beaumont's brilliant study is the comprehensive history of the Great Depression that we have been waiting for.' - Stephen Garton AM, Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, The University of Sydney

Author bio:

Joan Beaumont is Professor of History at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University, and author of the magisterial and multi-award winning account of Australia's experience of World War I, Broken Nation.

Category: History
ISBN: 9781760293987
Table Of Contents: Introduction

Part I Legacies of War
1 The soldiers come home
2 Politics reshaped
3 War and the economy

Part II Recovery, Visions and Recession, 1919-29
4 Recovery and development
5 The voracious borrower
6 Recession
7 Over the cliff

Part III Depression, 1929
8 What caused the Great Depression?
9 Scullin's poisoned chalice
10 The unemployed
11 The voluntary sector to the rescue

Part IV Maelstrom, 1930
12 The tightening band of policy options
13 Losing control

Part V Surviving
14 Sustenance
15 Community and family
16 Health and resilience

Part VI Work of a Kind
17 Searching for work
18 Relief works
19 Protest and grievance

Part VII The Nadir, 1931
20 The battle of the plans
21 Populism and secession
22 Taking up arms
23 In office but not in power
24 The Premiers' Plan
25 Scullin's end

Part VIII On the Margins
26 Women at risk
27 Losing your home
28 Without a home
29 On the track
30 Aboriginal Australians
31 The new immigrant

Part IX Climax, 1932
32 Lyons' first six months
33 Debt, imperial preference and cricket

Part X Recovery, 1933-37
34 Economic recovery
35 An emergency government without an emergency

Epilogue: A resilient nation
Appendix: Federal and state elections, 1927-37
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Imprint: Allen & Unwin
Pub Date: March 2022
Page Extent: 576
Format: Book
Age: 0 - 0
Subject: Economic history