History: Great Depression and Australian Society Essay

Submitted By sarina12345
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The Great Depression (1929–32) was a time of extreme hardship for people in Australia. The depression had a rippling and devastating effect on the economy of every country and market. In Australia unemployment more than doubled to twenty-one per cent in mid-1930, and reached its peak in mid-1932 when almost thirty-two per cent of Australians were out of work. Because of the great depression hundreds of men were forced to go get their dole. Relying on the dole men only were given a small amount of money that was not enough for their family which lead to suicide rates increasing as people thought that their life would be better than reality. The great depression forced people to work harder in order to get their needs.
On October 24, 1929 in Australia more than 12.9 million shares of stock were sold in one day, triple the normal amount. Over the next four days, prices fell 23%, this was known as the stock market crash of 1929. Most people in Australian society did share the view that they were relieved to have made it through the War years and were looking forward to the future with optimism. Little did they know about the Depression which lay ahead? The great depression in Australia leads to unemployment in which had risen from 3% to 25% of the nation’s workforce. Wages for those who still had jobs fell 42%. Australian businesses either small or big lost most of their money and did not have enough to pay their employees which caused them to lose most of their workers and even had to fire some. The main problem with being unemployed in the 1930s was that there was tough competition to get a job or even find a vacant position, because nearly a third of the population was in the same predicament. Many people could not afford extra expenses such as newspapers in order to look for work. Consequently, they walked for miles, hoping that if a job came up they could be the first to claim it. In Australia 1933, 17 percent of people earned less than four dollars per week. Paid employees had to take pay cuts and also were forced to look after relatives who were unemployed. Every day was a struggle. The most demoralising factor was that for all of their hard work, they received an income which was below the basic wage. The Depression also forced other companies and industries to introduce cutbacks, making it almost impossible for unemployed workers to obtain jobs elsewhere. Unemployment was the result of a number of factors during the Great Depression. Some of the factors included that the complete stock market crashed worldwide, this then lead to cut back on businesses and government expenditures and lead to low credit availability in australia.
With more companies lying off employees than hiring new ones, thousands of unemployed men and women turned to government relief for help during the Great Depression. Known as the dole, these payments were small and only provided about half of a person’s total nutritional requirements. . Applicants did not receive money to buy what they wanted, and instead had to accept items from a list.. Many people resented the dole. They believed it did not provide them with enough food to live on and felt they should have the right to select their own groceries. The government, meanwhile, had little money to spend on relief because of a large national debt and shrinking income. Malnutrition became a problem and led to several deaths; poor diets and widespread poverty also contributed to a rising infant mortality rate and to the spread of tuberculosis. Long dole queues were found across the land. Men had to walk for miles to a central station to receive money. Only men were allowed to get the dole which meant that women who were not married would not receive any money or food. The susso was a card which was a sort of currency which allowed the people to buy food. However the amount was also limited during the great depression.

The suicide rate increased dramatically