1914 in Australia

1914 in Australia was dominated by the outbreak of World War I. Andrew Fisher, who became Prime Minister a month after Australia entered the war vowed that Australia would "stand beside our own to help and defend Britain to the last man and the last shilling." [1] In 1914, the Australian war effort was dominated by recruiting and equipping a force to fight overseas.


  • 1890s
  • 1900s
  • 1910s
  • 1920s
  • 1930s
See also:
1914 in Australia
MonarchyGeorge V
Governor-GeneralThomas Denman, 3rd Baron Denman
Ronald Munro Ferguson
Prime ministerJoseph Cook
Andrew Fisher
ElectionsFederal, Victoria, Western Australia

The southern winter rainfall zone of the continent suffered its worst rainfall failure until 1982. This led to record low wheat yields and exacerbated the problems caused by outbreak of World War I.


State premiers

State governors


  • 27 January – Thomas Denman resigns as Governor-General.
  • 9 February – Ronald Munro Ferguson, a landholder and provost of Kirkcaldy appointed as the new Governor-General.
  • 16 February – Charles Heydon of the New South Wales Industrial Court finds that a "living wage" for a family of four would be 48 shillings a week but more than a living wage should be paid. His recommendation was a minimum wage of 8s 6d for unskilled workers and 9s for heavy work.
  • 1 March – The first military aircraft in Australia are flown.
  • 18 May – Sir Ronald Munro Ferguson commences duties as Governor-General.
  • 8 June – Joseph Cook persuades Ferguson to hold Australia's first double dissolution election after the Government Preference Bill prohibiting preference to unionists in Australian Government employment was twice rejected by the Senate of Australia.
  • 16 July – Maurice Guillaux leaves Melbourne to fly to Sydney in a Blériot monoplane in the first delivery of airmail. He arrived in Sydney on 18 July after nine and a half hours of flying time.
  • 31 July – As the likelihood of Britain being involved in a European war became more likely, the leaders of both major parties pledge their support. Opposition Leader Andrew Fisher states in a speech at Colac, Victoria Australians will stand beside her own to help and defend her to our last man and our last shilling. Prime Minister Joseph Cook states in Horsham, Victoria "All of our resources in Australia are ... for the preservation and the security of the empire".
  • 4 August – The United Kingdom declares war on Germany – as a consequence Australia enters the war.
  • 5 August – Australia fires its first shot in World War I at Fort Nepean in Victoria. The German merchant ship Pfalz was leaving Port Phillip Bay at 12.10am when news of involvement in the war had just reached the fort. The battery fired shots across its bows forcing the ship to surrender. This is believed to be the first shots fired in anger by British Empire forces during the war.
  • 10 August – Recruiting begins for the First Australian Imperial Force. Australia had offered a force of 20,000 troops.
  • 18 August – The Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force of 1500 men leaves Sydney to capture German New Guinea.
  • 5 September – The Australian Labor Party led by Andrew Fisher wins the Federal election of 1914 winning 42 out of 75 seats in the Australian House of Representatives and 31 out of 36 seats in the Australian Senate.
  • 9 September – The light cruiser HMAS Melbourne captures the German radio station in Nauru.
  • 11 September – Australian troops land in German New Guinea.
  • 13 September – Rabaul occupied.
  • 14 September – The Australian submarine HMAS AE1 lost with all 35 men while patrolling New Britain.
  • 17 September – The acting governor of German New Guinea surrenders.
  • 29 October – The War Precautions Act 1914, which gave the Government of Australia special powers for the duration of World War I and for six months afterwards, was passed by the Parliament of Australia.
  • 1 November – The first contingent of the First Australian Imperial Force leaves for Egypt.
  • 6 November – Australian forces occupy Nauru.
  • 9 November – Australia's first naval victory as HMAS Sydney defeats SMS Emden in the Battle of Cocos.
  • 30 November – The first aviation unit to leave for active service is sent to New Guinea.
  • 21 December – Lieutenant-General Sir William Birdwood arrives in Egypt to take command of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

Arts and Literature




See also


  1. Unidentified newspaper clipping, 1914, from 'Press Clippings of WW1' in Papers of Atlee Hunt, National Library of Australia, NLA MS 1100 cited on ABC Online "A Place in the World" .Australians:A Historical Record uses the words her own instead of our own
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