The Depression

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Australia was not spared the effects of The Great Depression. It had a similar impact here to that around the rest of the world. In addition, there were several peculiarly Australian aspects such as the role of Jack Lang and the payment of NSW debts [or not], the rise of the New Guard and its role as an opposing force to his actions.

This page looks at specific people and events as well as the general impact of the Great Depression on everyday people.

Journals, databases, primary documents, reference material and other information are included where these are relevant.

Specific People

Lang, John Thomas [Jack]

NSW Premier, Federal Labour politician.

Joseph Aloysius Lyons

Prime Minister.

  • Joseph Aloysius Lyons
    Lyon’s entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography.
  • Joseph Lyons PM
    Information about the man who became Prime Minister in 1932 and his role during this period.

James Scullin

Prime Minister.

  • James Scullin
    Scullin’s entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography.
  • James Scullin PM
    Information about the man who became Prime Minister in 1929 and his role during this period.
  • Edward Granville Theodore
    Theodore’s entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography. Federal Treasurer at the time of the Great Depression.

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Other Information

  • 10 June 1931
    Inside Story. ‘Never again ? The Great Depression changed a generation, writes Erik Eklund, but can we be sure that all the lessons were learnt ?’
  • 1930s Depression [The Dictionary of Sydney]
    A range of links to information about many aspects of The Depression in Australia. Hoover on the link for a brief summary of what is included.
  • 1930 to 1939 - Depression and Crisis
    Information from the NSW Parliament covering Jack Lang, the role of the Governor, the Depression, social disruption.
  • 1932 Starvation Debenture
    ‘The content featured is no longer current and is being made available to the general public for research and historical information purposes only’. Still, quite extensive and fascinating.
  • Australia, 1930
    A lecture by L.F.Giblin [Ritchie Professor of Economics in the University of Melbourne] in 1930, looking at the problems that existed.
  • Australian in the 1930s - The Great Depression
    Teacher information from My Place.
  • Australia’s Greek moment during The Depression
    ‘The Depression in Australia. Parallels and differences with modern Greece ’.
  • Brazen Hussies and God’s Police
    One of a series of articles looking at the role of women, in this case during the Depression. Looks at several common views and emphasises their multi-faceted role in society.
  • Bread and Dripping
    ‘Unemployed people were forced to build their houses out of scrap and discarded materials. They established a trading post where clothing was donated. Indigenous Australians were not able to receive the dole and were issued meagre rations’.
  • Great Depression
    National Museum of Australia. ‘The Australian economy collapsed and unemployment reached a peak of 32 per cent in 1932. It took Australia almost a decade to recover from the Great Depression’.
  • Great Depression in Australia - WikiMili
    Multiple aspects are covered [see Content near the top of the screen] as well as links to other information.
  • Great Depression in Australia
    Looks at the 1920s, 1929, Scullin and Lang, the recovery, the legacy of the Great Depression, references, further links. Wikipedia.
  • Listening to the Great Depression
    Brief article with links to further information from Dictionary of Sydney.
  • Memories of the Great Depression
    Everyday stories from an Australian who lived through the Great Depression. Links.
  • Skint ! Making do in The Great Depression
    Sydney Living Museums. 5 sections providing information and images.
  • South Australia, The Depression Years - 1930 to 1936
    Provides extensive references to newspaper articles, most of which could be gained from National Library sources. Links are grouped in areas such as Females, Finance, Industrial Relations, more.
  • The Depression Years’ Trail
    Graphic images of the Depression years, as collated by Picture Australia [now part of Trove].
  • The Great Depression [2]
    Australian Screen provides a range of clips and ‘the clips have teachers’ notes related to this topic’. 10 clips listed, with the possibility of accessing more.
  • The Great Depression [3]
    Listing of items held by the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences Museum in Sydney about the Depression era. Most provide a sizeable image with notes explaining what they are and how they were used. Other museums likely to have similar collections.
  • The Great Depression, 1929-1935
    Resource unit from the History Teachers’ Association of NSW. You need to be a member to access this. Select “Member Resources” from the top menu.
  • The Great Depression Australia
    ‘This video is based on The Great Depression in Australia in the 1930s. It is used for history and educational purposes only’.
  • The Great Depression and The Battle for Inflation
    Political, social and economic events of the period, including hindsight views. Part of downloadable book called ‘Giblin’s Platoon - The trials and triumphs of the economist in Australian public life’. Download the whole book or just this chapter.
  • The Great Depression in Australia
    A Library Guide from Marian College. Links to text, videos, more.
  • The Depression in Australia - Parallels and differences with modern Greece
    ‘During the 1930s Depression, Australia was facing the same kind of dilemma that Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy are facing today’.
  • The Myth Of The Great Depression
    A new account of the Great Depression in Australia. ‘Based on interviews with hundreds of families over many years, Potts’s big claim is that while the Depression was very bad, it wasn’t all that bad. The considerable interest of the book is that it offers another take on the accumulated oral history of the Depression, this time with the accent on the positive’.

The New Guard

  • Eric Campbell
    Leader of the New Guard. Biography.
  • The New Guard
    Historical context, New Guard and Jack Lang, membership, activities, civil unrest, decline. Wikipedia.

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