Australia in the 1900s

Economic growth

In 1905, a renewed period of economic growth began and was sustained until 1914. Prices for Australian exports began to recover from the 1890s slump and overseas investors recognised Australia as a viable market for growth. Australia's primary and mainly agricultural industries flourished. For example, butter exports in 1891 were 1.8 million kilograms, and by 1911 were 46.2 million kilograms. Trade within Australia showed the benefits of Federation and was typified by interstate tariffs being removed. The economic life of Australia in many ways continued as if the states and territories were still colonies. In 1906, a Royal Commission into shipping found it was more expensive to ship goods between Adelaide and Melbourne than it was between Melbourne and London.

Shipping wool, Circular Quay

A snapshot of 1908

  • March
    • Mawson and David scale Mount Erebus in Antarctica.

  • May
    • The first official Australian Coat of Arms is granted.
    • Alfred Deakin's government is defeated and Andrew Fisher becomes prime minister.

  • July
    • The Invalid and Old Age Pensions Act 1908 (Cth) is passed

  • August
    • The Great White Fleet sent by President Roosevelt arrives in Australia at Alfred Deakin's request.

  • September
    • 'My Country', Dorothy Mackellar's poem, is published in London's Spectator.

  • October
    • Canberra is selected for the site of a national capital city.


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