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Australia in the 1910s

Making a national railway

In 1917, the Trans-Australian railway opened between Kalgoorlie in Western Australia and the South Australian town of Port Augusta. It had been built across the Nullarbor Plain, with one stretch featuring 478 kilometres without a single curve.

The railway finally fulfilled an agreement between the states at the time of Federation to link the western coast of Australia to the eastern coast. It was now possible to travel on land from Perth to Brisbane (via Sydney), thus reducing the 'tyranny of distance'.

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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