Britain declares war on Germany

16 July 2014

As a dominion of the British Empire, Australia automatically entered the First World War when Britain declared war on Germany at 11pm on 4 August 1914 London time (8am 5 August Melbourne time). In the weeks beforehand, both sides of parliament had pledged full support for Britain. At a meeting at Colac in Victoria on 31 July, the opposition leader Andrew Fisher announced that ‘Should the worst happen … Australia will stand beside [Britain] and help defend her to our last man and last shilling’. When the news reached Australia on 5 August, the Prime Minister Joseph Cook stated that ‘when the Empire is at war, so is Australia’.

Read more about Australia's involvement in the First World War.

Crowds outside The Argus newspaper office, Melbourne, 5 August 1914


Cablegram from London, dated 5 August 1914, to the Governor-General of Australia, advising, “War has broken out with Germany”.