Australia and the Great Depression Essay

1710 Words May 12th, 2007 7 Pages
Why did Australia lead the world into Depression in the late 1920s and suffer its effects so gravely and for so long?

Australia suffered significantly during the Great Depression of the late 1920s. Australia was one of the worst effected countries in the World. This essay will look at why Australia lead the world into Depression in the late 1920s and why it suffered from it's effects for so long. A depression is defined as "A period of drastic decline in a national or international economy, characterized by decreasing business activity, falling prices, and unemployment." 1 During a depression money becomes limited which in turn leads to businesses going bankrupt and causing workers to lose their jobs. This usually leads to a downward
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11 Before the crash, the unemployment rate was already at 10 percent, 11 which was far greater then the other world economies at that time. This represented a 4% increase in unemployment over a short period of time and is one of the reasons why Australia was one of the first countries to enter into the great depression. During the Great Depression, the unemployment increased to a high of 32% unemployment. 11 Australia's unemployment rates were some of the highest in the world. The United States peaked at 24.9% unemployment during the depression. 4 The United Kingdom had unemployment at 20%. 5 Australia suffered far worse then most countries due to its export economy. Due to the fall in demand for exports, downward pressure was placed on worker's wages, especially in industries of raw goods such as agriculture and mining. With the large amounts of unemployment, many Australians left major cities to find work in agricultural areas of Australia. 10 This led to a large depopulation of Australian cities. Due to the reduction in wages, many strikes were carried out by workers who wanted better pay. One of the worst of these strikes was the Coal miner's strikes in the winter of 1929. "There were the attacks on and arrests of striking timber workers in 1929 and the shooting down of coal miners at Rothbury that same year." 3 Australian police shot one of coal miners which caused a lot of unrest. This large amount of unrest in Australia,

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