Australia in the 1900s

Defending Australia

In August 1908, the United States navy arrived in Sydney to begin a month's visit on invitation from the prime minister, Alfred Deakin. Its purpose was a worldwide training exercise and to display a naval presence in the Pacific region.

In 1909, the Defence Act Amendment Act 1909 introduced compulsory service for the defence of Australia only. Two years later, the first compulsory military training program for boys was established.

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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