Interview with Ralph Doig (When the war came to Australia).

Accession Number F04060
Collection type Film
Object type To be confirmed
Physical description Betacam SP/Colour/sound
Maker Look Television Productions Pty Ltd
Place made Australia: Western Australia, Perth, Claremont
Date made 22 February 1991
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Period 1990-1999
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC

In 1940 Ralph Doig was the Private Secretary to the Premier of Western Australia. He joined the Citizen's Military Force and became a platoon commander. After six months' service he had to return to the Premier's Department. He comments that Australia was very British in its outlook at this time. Reflects on Robert Menzies as leader, and John Curtin. Discusses the Australian reaction to Pearl Harbour and the fall of Singapore. Prime Minister Curtin informed the State Premiers immediately of the situation, and it was decided to concentrate on Air Raid Precaution. Mr Doig mentions that the civil population of Perth was evacuated away from the metropolitan area. Mentions the plan to evacuate to Kalgoorlie, and protect the pipeline. Discusses the scorched earth policy to be used in WA. Comments on the propaganda campaign against the Japanese - it increased the apprenhension of the population, stimulated the war effort and war loans. Mentions Curtin's opposition to Churchill in getting the troops back from the Middle East, and comments on Churchill as a leader. He discusses the defences of WA, including the home defence units. He mentions the relocation of Fremantle Gaol. Discusses the bombing of Broome and the reaction of the local population to the arrival of the Americans. The Battle of the Coral Sea as a turning point and the end of the Japanese advance. Comments on the Dutch refugee situation in Perth - the care and processing of them. The story of Lt General Gordon Bennett, GOC Western Command in WA is related and the views held at the time are mentioned. Industry is discussed - the gold mining industry and the unpopular decision to close it down and redirect the workers. John Curtin's death is mentioned and his status as wartime leader is discused. Concludes with a comment on the Australian opinion of Britain after the war and Australia's change of dependance from Britain to America.

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