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Analyze The Effects Of The Great Depression On Australia In The 1930s

1231 words - 5 pages

The Great Depression had an immense effect on Australia both economically and socially. During the time of the Great Depression Australia's economy was largely dependent on wool and wheat exports thus when the Depression hit and the exports lessened in value many industries were consequently effected, leaving many out of work. Due to the increasing unemployment rate there was a sense of insecurity and hopelessness throughout Australian society which came to a shock to many whom were unprepared, especially the middle to lower working class families. In contrast, however, a silver lining in the darkening cloud of the Depression was seen by some and many today. The wealthy and employed remained ...view middle of the document...

Wool exports made up two-thirds of Australia's total exports and in itself was not secure as it risked being replaced by synthetic substitutes. As the Depression progressed there was little demand for these commodities resulting in devaluation in the world market and was followed by the suffrage of many industries' income. As the industries income decreased due to price cuts, in 1930 the income was half of that of 1930, the number of unemployed Australians increased. As a result, by 1931 the Australian dollar was devalued from 1.25 pounds sterling to 1-pound sterling.The Great Depression also came as a surprise to Australia's society as to be unemployed in a society which one would expect full employment was quite traumatic for some. Unemployment affected the working class, farmers and middle class small business owners. This caused great distress among many fathers who had fought for their country and families in the war and were now out of work and unable to provide for their families. Many left their families to come back when they found work or just took to the bottle, some even ended up committing suicide. With mothers left alone to take care of their family there were feelings of hopelessness. Working class children as young as thirteen or fourteen years of age also felt the repercussion of the Depression. Many left school in search of jobs feeling guilty so that they could help support their family. Families also who rented houses could be evicted if they were unable to pay the rent. Loans that couldn't be payed also resulted in farmers losing their farms and hence jobs and homes. Many were homeless because of the Great Depression and sought refuge in public parks or public homes such as Happy Valley. Those employed also faced guilt and fear as they could be jobless overnight and have to live on the streets like those who made them guilty for their lifestyle and those who could often contributed to charities. The Great Depression not only lightened the Australia's pockets but also greatly affected the mentality of many.To support those affected by the great depression charities existed however due to the overwhelming number of unemployed they could not always cope. Charities like the Salvation Army provided the unemployed with simple meals, clothing and shelter. Settlements in public parks and borders of cities were also a popular place for the unemployed to reside. An example of one of these is Happy Valley which was a group of makeshift houses accommodating around three-hundred men and children. However, as charities and hostels were not...

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