Outbreak - Australia supports the Empire
"To the last man and the last shilling."
Andrew Fisher, Australian Opposition Leader, 31 July 1914
Australia in 1914 was a young nation, its colonies having federated little more than a decade earlier. Its almost 5 million people were spread across the country in the handful of developing cities and in the bush. With a culture firmly rooted in the traditions of the British Empire, Australia was still strongly tied to the mother country for trade and defence.
Many Australians followed news from abroad with interest as relations between the major European powers worsened during mid-1914. When Britain declared war on Germany on 4 August, Australia quickly pledged its support for Britain. As Andrew Fisher said shortly before he was elected prime minister, “Australians will stand beside our own to help and defend her to the last man and the last shilling.”
Volunteers queuing to enlist.
Read more about recruiting the AIF...
John Simpson Kirkpatrick, standing fourth from the left, at Blackboy Hill camp in 1914.
Read more about Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick...
Charles Blackman, one of the earliest known indigenous Australians to enlist in the First World War.
Read more about indigenous Australians joining the AIF...
Charles Bean, a journalist, became Australia's official war correspondent in August 1914.
Read more about Charles Bean...
On 11 September 1914 six members of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force were killed and four wounded, becoming Australia's first casualties of the war.
Read more about early naval actions...