ABSTRACT

The economic crash of 1929 had far-reaching consequences for Australia, with unemployment estimates for the worst year of the Depression, 1932, lying between a quarter and a third of the workforce. 1 The Depression was deeply traumatic for many Australians and was categorised by reduced living conditions for families and, in the worst cases, homelessness, ill health and malnutrition. 2 The experience of economic hardship was largely class-specific, Jan Kociumbas points out, showing that ‘as many as two-thirds of families were virtually unaffected by the current economic catastrophes, but eviction for non-payment of rent was a common experience for others’. 3