Sir Robert Menzies

Posted in 1931

  • Becomes president of the Young Nationalists organisation in Victoria.

"On 17 April, under severe pressure and after complex discussions, Latham resigned the leadership of the federal Opposition in Lyons's favour. Menzies, as fellow barrister, leading member of the Group and key Victorian Nationalist was at the heart of these negotiations."
A W Martin, Robert Menzies A Life Vol 1 1894-1943, 1993 p 89.

Australian Events

Posted in 1931

  • Joseph Lyons (with cane) and UAP colleaguesSir Isaac Isaacs becomes the first Australian-born Governor-General.
  • Joseph Lyons forms the United Australia Party: "May 5-7: The United Australia Party was formed by the merging of the Nationalists with the Lyons' group, the Country Party declining to be involved. Lyons was elected leader unopposed, with Latham his deputy."
    The Macquarie Book of Events, 1983 p 347.
  • Swagman  Economic depression continues: Unemployment in Australia is at its peak of 30%. The desperate poverty of the unemployed brings about public demonstrations over their plight. Itinerant workers sling their swags and tramp the countryside in search of work.
  • The Statute of Westminster passed by the British Parliament in December abolishes remnants of the imperial parliament's power to legislate for the Dominions. The next Labor government enacted it in Australia in 1942.
  • Lyons Government, December 19: "Depression and the unpopularity of the Premiers' Plan swept Scullin from office."
    The Macquarie Book of Events, 1983 p 347.
  • Douglas MawsonExplorer Douglas Mawson returns to Antarctica with an expedition that charts 6430km of polar coastline.
  • Opera singer Dame Nellie Melba dies.

World Events

Posted in 1931

  • Empire State, New YorkThe great economic depression is at its worst.
  • Collapse of the German banking system: 3,000 banks close.
  • Unemployment in Germany reaches 5.66m.
  • The passing of the Statute of Westminster in the British Parliament recognises the independence of the Dominions.
  • Japan invades Manchuria.
  • The Empire State Building in New York is completed.
  • First experimental air mail from Europe to Australia arrives in Darwin on 25 April, delivered by Australian aviator Charles Kingsford Smith in his Southern Cross aeroplane.

Charles Kingsford Smith (left, holding mailbag) with the first mail by air from Europe to Australia