Warning: This resource may contain references to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who may have passed away.

Australia in the 1910s

Early flights

On 30 June 1910, a prize of £5,000 was offered by the Australian Government to the inventor of a 'flying machine'. In July 1910, the first Australian-built aircraft was launched and flown at Mia Mia by designer and builder John Duigan.

In 1910, Harry Houdini, the US escapologist, made the first flight in Australia in his plane at Diggers Rest, north of Melbourne.

In July 1914, a Frenchman, Maurice Guillaux, left Melbourne for Sydney in a Bleriot monoplane carrying Australia's first airmail. He arrived in Sydney two days later, after a total flying time of 9 hours and 15 minutes. He carried 1,785 specially printed postcards, letters of greeting to various officials and some private parcels.

In 1920, the air flight company Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services (Qantas) was founded in Winton, Queensland. It began operation as a government-subsidised airmail service linking railheads in western Queensland.

John Duigan in the first Australian-built biplane, which he built

A snapshot of 1918

  • January
    • The Australia Corps formed out of five separate Australian divisions fighting in France during the First World War.

  • April
    • A factory opened in Caulfield, Victoria, to manufacture artificial limbs for returned soldiers.

  • September
    • The first direct wireless message was transmitted from Britain to Australia.

  • November
    • On the '11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour', the Armistice between the Allies and Germany flagged the cessation of fighting on the Western Front.
    • Preferential voting was introduced for the first time in elections for the House of Representatives.
    • Two significant children's books were published: The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay and Tales of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie: Their Wonderful Adventures by May Gibbs.


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