Sir Robert Menzies

Posted in 1940

  • Prime Minister Robert MenziesMenzies places a ban on the Communist Party for security reasons. It is removed late in 1941 after Communist assurances of cooperation in the war effort are accepted by Labor's Attorney-General Evatt.
  • March: The Country Party re-enters a coalition with the UAP after withdrawing the year before when Page refused to work with Menzies.
  • March 11: Coal miners strike for higher pay and a 40-hour week - 200 mines across Australia stop production. The government orders mines to reopen using volunteer labour. The strikers return to work two months later after agreeing to abide by any Arbitration Court award.
  • September: The Menzies coalition government is weakened after losses to Labor at the general election.

Speaking to striking miners

Australian Events

Posted in 1940

  • Howard FloreyHoward Florey leads the team that develops penicillin as an antibiotic.
  • Australia opens its first embassies, in Washington and Tokyo. Mr R G Casey (later Lord Casey) becomes Australia's first ambassador to a foreign country when Australia and the USA exchange ambassadors.
  • Australian troop convoys sail to the Middle East; troops see action near Bardia, North Africa.
  • Communist and Fascist parties are banned.
  • After the fall of France, the Commonwealth government takes control of Australia's resources, production, manpower and people. The ALP and trade unions adopt a win-the-war policy.
  • Prime Minister Menzies and Ambassador CaseyAn all-party war council is formed to work with the war cabinet. The government and opposition each have four representatives.
  • Newsprint is rationed: daily papers to be less pages.
  • Germans, Austrians and Italians arrive from Britain on the Dunera. Sent to Australia as "enemy aliens", they will be interned in camps outside Melbourne and Sydney.
  • Petrol rationing begins.
  • PM Menzies meets soldiers and sailors at the Overseas Club, St  JamesSingle men up to 33 years of age are included when call-up is extended.

World Events

Posted in 1940

  • Winston Churchill (right) with Anthony Eden and Regent of Greece, Archbishop DamaskinosChurchill becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
  • Germany invades Denmark, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and France. The Nazis warn that listening to foreign radio is an offence punishable by death.
  • The Dunkirk evacuation: 299 British warships and 420 other vessels under constant attack evacuate 335,490 British and French troops.
  • King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visiting bombed areas of London Italy declares war on Britain and France.
  • Germany, Japan and Italy sign an economic and military pact.
  • Germany launches a bombing blitz against Britain.
  • Battle of Britain: the RAF prevent a German invasion of Britain.
  • Italy invades Greece.
  • Japan invades French Indo-China.
  • Blood plasma is first used in blood transfusions.