Sir Robert Menzies

Posted in 1949

  • Robert Menzies is re-elected as Prime Minister of AustraliaMenzies returns from six months overseas on 6 January and announces plans to speak at all capital cities before Parliament resumes the next month.
    (Argus 6 Jan 1949)
  • December 10: R G Menzies is elected Prime Minister of Australia. The coalition government with Country Party leader A W Fadden as Deputy Prime Minister is sworn in on December 19 by Governor-General William McKell.
  • Robert Menzies speaks on Communism:

"All I need say is that Australia is British. It has a great and tried and common family allegiance under the Crown. But Australia knows, and so do the Communists, that the closest concert between the United States and the Commonwealth is vital to the common defence.

We will work incessantly to strengthen this great association, just as the Communist powers and their overseas friends will work incessantly to divide and destroy us."

Family movies - from "Menzies in his Time" 

Australian Events

Posted in 1949

  • Work on the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme beginsPetrol rationing ends in June.
  • July: The Chifley Government establishes the Snowy Mountains Authority to develop and construct the Snowy Mountains Scheme.
    The Macquarie Book of Events, 1983 p 350.
  • Work begins on the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme, one of the world's most ambitious engineering feats and Australia's single biggest building project. The principal aim is for electricity production, but water would also be used for irrigation along the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers. It would take 100,000 workers from 30 countries 25 years to complete.
  • Aboriginal people who had served in the war are permitted to vote.
  • "Troops in the mines: In a major coalmining strike between June 26 and August 15, 1949, eight union leaders were gaoled and fines of more than 5,000 pounds were imposed and collected. There were severe power cuts and 123,000 workers were stood down. The original issues were increased wages for the miners, long service leave and a 35-hour week. The strike collapsed when troops were brought in to operate the mines: it caused deep divisions in the trade union movement."
    The Macquarie Book of Events, 1983 p 265.
  • Menzies Government, (see Australian Prime Ministers) December 19: The Liberal and Country parties form a coalition government after being swept to power in the general election on 10 December.
  • Population 8 million.
  • Soprano Joan Sutherland (later Dame Joan) wins the Sydney Sun Aria contest. This is the beginning of a remarkably successful international opera career until her retirement in 1990.

World Events

Posted in 1949

  • Chairman Mao Tse-tung and his third wife, Jiang QingIndonesia's independence is recognised.
  • Apartheid is introduced in South Africa.
  • Communists take over China: Mao Tse-Tung (Zedong) and his followers defeat the Nationalists in the war of liberation (1937–49) and establish a People's Republic and communist rule in China.
  • Cultivating the land in the People's Republic of China Anti-communist North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is formed bringing together the USA, Canada and ten nations of western Europe in a defensive alliance.
  • First atomic bomb test by the Soviet Union results in escalation of the arms race with the USA.
  • Germany is divided into the Federal Republic (West) and the German Democratic Republic (East).