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About the Video Clip:

Video Clip Synopsis:
When our troops were sent off to war in 1914, industry in Australia boomed. Steel was necessary for guns and ships.

1min 17sec

The Effects of World War 1 on the Australian Economy is an excerpt from the film Cavalcade of Australia 1901-1951 (34 mins), produced in 1951.

Cavalcade of Australia 1901-1951: Produced by the Australian National Film Board to celebrate the Jubilee of Federation, Cavalcade of Australia 1901-1951 provides an historical review of the development of the nation between 1901 and 1951. The film opens with the visit of the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George V and Queen Mary) to Australia in 1901 to open the first Commonwealth Parliament. Through the use of historical footage, the film not only covers notable events in the Commonwealth story but also social development, fashions and economic growth over the period.

Cavalcade of Australia1901-1951 was produced by the Department of the Interior.

Study Module

Curriculum Focus: SOSE/HSIE
Year: 9-10
Strand: Time, continuity and change
Theme: Wartime Work

Key Concepts

Representations of war; Construction of national identity; Economy and society

Curriculum Applicability Notes

ACT:Time, continuity and change
Place and space
NSW:History 7-10, Topic 3
NT:Social systems and structures
Qld:Civics, TCC5.1, 5.3
History, TCC5.4
Geography, TCC5.1, 5.3
SA:Time, continuity and change, 5.2
Place, space and environment, 5.4
Tas:Communicating—Being literate, Standard 5
Social responsibility—Understanding the past and creating preferred futures, Standard 5
Vic:History 6.2
Geography 5.2, 5.3

Context / Background Information

In 1914 Australia entered World War I.

During 1915 Australia's main involvement in the war was at Gallipoli, in Turkey, where Australian troops were part of an Allied invasion designed to force Turkey out of the war. The invasion failed, but many people in Australia saw Gallipoli as proof that Australians had passed the 'test' of nationhood.

At the start of the war Australia was a nation whose main economic activity was agriculture and natural resource production. During the war the disruption of international shipping and the channelling of materials to war production meant that many imports to Australia were reduced, or no longer available. Australia began expanding its own secondary manufacturing industries as a result, including the development of steel production. Much of this was focused in the Newcastle area of New South Wales.

In this video clip we see a government information film presenting a narrative that explains the development of Australia's steel industry in this war context.

Discussion Pointers

  1. In this video clip the filmmakers are emphasising the benefits that have come from Australia’s First World War experience. What difficulties or sensitivities might they face in doing this?
  2. What is the image of war that is presented in the video clip? Consider what words are used, what images are presented. Consider also what typical images are not presented.
  3. Look at the variety of footage that is presented to show the Gallipoli experience. Discuss what elements might be real footage from the time, and what might be a later reconstruction. Explain how you distinguish between the two.
  4. Why would there be a connection between war and industrial or economic change in Australia?
  5. Gallipoli is an essential element of Australian identity. If you ONLY had this video clip about Gallipoli, what would you say was the impact of this event on Australia?

Suggested Classroom Activities

  1. Brainstorm the impact and effects of the First World War on Australia. Divide these into positive and negative elements. Compare this to the emphases in the video clip and comment on your findings. How well or badly do you think the video clip covers this issue?
  2. Research a piece of war technology over time. Describe the impact that the change had on individuals, the nature of war, and the society involved in its use and manufacture.
  3. Research the impact of the war on an industrial area of Australia, such as Newcastle or Broken Hill. Describe what changes occurred as a result of the war and the impact that had on the local area and on the national economy.
  4. Research the image of Gallipoli in Australian national identity. What is stressed or emphasised, and what is not? How has it been presented in Norman Lindsay’s recruiting posters from the time, in literature such as Albert Facey’s A Fortunate Life and Alan Seymour’s The One Day of the Year, and in Peter Weir’s film Gallipoli.
  5. Study an ANZAC Day ceremony. Look at such aspects as:
    • Who is actively involved
    • Who watches
    • What symbols are present
    • Where events are focused
    • What music is associated with it
    • What words are used
    • How it is commented on by the media
    • What ideas are associated with it.
  6. If a visitor to Australia were to see all this, what conclusions could they draw about the meaning and values associated with ANZAC Day for Australia?

Modules That Use This Clip

SOSE/HSIE Year 9-10, Science Year 7-8, English Year 9-10