Australia in the 1940s


On 12 May 1946, the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) and Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Service (Qantas) Empire Airways joined their businesses to establish the first post-war flying service from England to Australia. In 1947, the Australian government nationalised Qantas by acquiring all shares in the organisation.

In September 1946, the government-owned domestic airline Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) began operation with daily flights between Melbourne and Sydney. By the end of 1946, TAA connected all capital cities with both passengers and freight flights.

Meanwhile, the private entrepreneur Reginald Ansett had entered the aviation arena in 1935 with a service from Melbourne to Hamilton in western Victoria. In the 1940s, he expanded his operation to establish Ansett Transport Industries.

A converted Avro Lancaster bomber used by BOAC post Second World War

A snapshot of 1948

  • January
    • Employees working under the Federal Award System begin working a 40-hour week.

  • May
    • The Housing Commission in Melbourne holds its first ballot to allocate new homes for families of returned servicemen.

  • June
    • The federal government ends the rationing of meat and clothing.

  • August
    • The federal government's legislation to nationalise private banks is declared invalid by the High Court.

  • October
    • The first Australian Holden motor car comes off the assembly line and becomes a symbol of Australian prosperity.

  • December
    • Dr Herbert Vere Evatt (1894–1965), former minister for external affairs and attorney-general, is elected president of the General Assembly of the United Nations.


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