Canberra at war

Eighteen months after the official announcement of Canberra as Australia’s new national capital, the nation was plunged into a conflict the scale of which had never been witnessed before. During those years of the First World War, the military continued to play an important role in the national capital’s development.

As the years passed and a second, more formidable conflict loomed, Canberra’s landscape changed significantly as new government departments and major military establishments for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Royal Australian Navy (RAN) took up residence in the city. Other already established institutions were expanded to take on roles specific to the war effort.

As the seat of the federal government, Canberra was the centre of key political events that affected the conduct of the nation’s military commitment. The Second World War also brought noticeable changes to the daily lives of Canberrans. Although the city was never directly attacked the citizens were very much involved in establishing precautionary measures to protect the city in case of air raid.