The Great Depression was a period of severe economic downturn that lasted from 1929 to 1939. It began in the United States with the collapse of the stock market on October 29, 1929, known as Black Tuesday, and quickly spread to other countries around the world. The Great Depression had a profound impact on the global economy, causing widespread poverty and unemployment, and leading to political and social unrest.
In Australia, the effects of the Great Depression were severe. The country’s economy was heavily dependent on exports, particularly of primary products such as wool, wheat, and minerals. When the global demand for these products dropped, the Australian economy was hit hard. The unemployment rate soared, reaching a peak of 30% in 1933. Many businesses went bankrupt, and many people lost their homes and farms.
The Great Depression also had a significant impact on the social and political landscape of Australia. The government of the time, led by Prime Minister Joseph Lyons, was unable to provide adequate support to the unemployed and struggling farmers. This led to widespread discontent and protests, as well as a rise in support for left-wing political parties such as the Australian Labor Party.
To try to combat the effects of the Great Depression, the Australian government introduced a range of policies and measures. These included public works programs, such as the construction of roads and dams, which provided employment for some of the unemployed. The government also introduced a system of subsidies and tariffs to protect Australian industry, which helped to boost the economy.
Despite these efforts, the Great Depression had a lasting impact on Australia. Many people lost their jobs, homes, and farms and were unable to recover. The country’s economy did not fully recover until the outbreak of World War II, which led to increased demand for Australian goods and services. The Great Depression also led to long-term changes in the country’s political and social landscape, as support for left-wing political parties and government intervention in the economy grew.
In conclusion, the Great Depression was a major economic downturn that lasted from 1929 to 1939 and had a severe impact on the global economy, including Australia. The country’s economy, which was heavily dependent on exports, was hit hard and the unemployment rate soared to 30% in 1933. The government introduced policies and measures to combat the effects of the Great Depression but despite these efforts, the Great Depression had a lasting impact on Australia’s economy, society and politics.