Sir Robert Menzies

Posted in 1902

  • Horsedrawn wagon with solid wheels, Jeparit c1900Continues to attend school in Jeparit.
  • Drought comes to the Jeparit district:

"In 1902, there came the Great Drought. Our district had 2½ inches of rain for the year, and all at the wrong time. What grass there was withered, and was blown away, so that the soil lay burnt, and pale brown, and vacant. A farm in the Jeparit District, c1900The river receded into a series of unrelated and stagnant pools. The lake dried up, the sandy floor naked to the sun. All seemed lost. I was seven years old; and it remains a vivid memory. Then an astonishing thing happened. Up from the bed of the lake there came a green tuberous growth, fibrous but succulent. Cattle were brought in by the hundred."
Sir Robert Menzies, Afternoon Light, 1967 p 8.

Australian Events

Posted in 1902

  • In the government debate on the Franchise Act, Senator O'Connor argues for the government's proposal for uniform franchise, with no distinctions on the basis of race, ethnicity or place of birth:

"It would be a monstrous thing, an unheard of piece of savagery on our part, to treat Aborigines, whose land we were occupying to deprive them of any right to vote in their own country simply on the grounds of their colour." This view which was supported by Senator Playford, did not prevail. The motion to exclude "Aboriginal natives of Australia" from the Franchise Act in the lower house was passed by 27 votes to five. It was 1962 before Aborigines were given the right to vote in federal elections.
M Gordon, The Age, 9 May 2001.

  • The Uniform Franchise Act giving non-indigenous women the right to vote in Federal elections passes both Houses of Parliament with a large majority. Sir William Lyne said:

"Instinctively a woman knows the character of a man better than a man does and I believe women will be able to record a better vote in the selection of the best men to represent the community."

  • Nellie MelbaAustralian opera star Nellie Melba begins her first Australian concert tour after 16 years in Europe.
  • Australian troops begin to return home after peace in the Boer War in Africa.
  • The emergence of Japan as a strong power is a major concern for Australia. Britain is looked to for protection against this new threat and the Anglo-Japanese alliance provides some reassurance.

World Events

Posted in 1902

  • The Peace of Vereeniging ends the Boer War: The Boers become British subjects and self-government is promised.
  • British-Japanese Alliance for mutual defence is signed.
  • A ship progressing through locks of the Panama CanalUSA acquires perpetual control of the Panama Canal.
  • Italian tenor Caruso makes the first of 154 gramophone recordings.
  • The Tales of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter is published.