Australian Events

Posted in 1939

  • Deputy UAP leader Billy Hughes on the hustingsJanuary 13: Bushfires devastate Victoria. The fires claim 71 lives on Black Friday when the temperature in Melbourne reaches 114°F.
  • Page Government, (see Australian Prime Ministers) April 7: After the death of Lyons, Country Party leader Earle Page is temporary Prime Minister for 19 days until a new leader is chosen by the UAP.
  • Menzies Government, (see Australian Prime Ministers) April 26.

"... Menzies won leadership with Hughes as deputy. Page attacked Menzies bitterly and resigned, taking the Country Party to the cross-benches."
The Macquarie Book of Events, 1983 p 348.

  • Earle Page immediately attacks Menzies in parliament bitterly accusing him of disloyalty to Lyons and the government and suggesting Menzies was a coward for not serving overseas during WWI, although he was an officer in the Army reserve. After refusing to work with Menzies, Page takes the Country Party out of coalition with the UAP.
  • September 3: Prime Minister Menzies declares that Australia is at war with Germany (Radio Broadcast). This reflects the attitude of the majority of Australians who considered that Britain's declaration of war on Germany automatically committed Australia to the conflict in their desire to provide traditional support for Britain.
  • Prime Minister Menzies forms a War Cabinet on September 15 and estimates the government will spend £40,000,000 during the first year of the war.
  • Conscription for Home Defence is announced.
  • The first warplane made in Australia, the Wirraway, makes a successful maiden flight.

† Behind the scenes Australia's wartime decision-making 1939-45