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William Morris Hughes 27 Oct 1915 7th Prime Minister
After the forced resignation of Andrew Fisher, Labor parliamentarians elected WM Hughes as Party leader.
William Morris Hughes 01 Dec 1915 Australian Wheat Board created
This Commonwealth body coordinated State wheat boards to ensure equitable marketing of the Australian wheat crop under wartime conditions. The Prime Minister chaired the Board, which ceased operations in 1923.
William Morris Hughes 29 Apr 1916 Irish rebellion crushed
A pro-independence Easter rebellion in Dublin was violently suppressed by British troops. Protest demonstrations in Australia caused some Australians to be suspicious of the loyalty of people of Irish descent.
William Morris Hughes 28 Jun 1916 National ships
The government established a Commonwealth Shipping Line with the purchase of fifteen seagoing steamers from Britain.
William Morris Hughes 28 Oct 1916 Conscription referendum
The first referendum on compulsory military enlistment failed. The issue bitterly divided communities and created a rift in the Labor Party. On 13 November the Party expelled Prime Minister WM Hughes over his support for conscription.
William Morris Hughes 17 Feb 1917 New Cabinet
WM Hughes formed a new ministry and retained the prime ministership despite his expulsion from the Labor Party. Ten days earlier he had formed the Nationalist Party, merging other expelled Labor members and some former Liberals.
William Morris Hughes 06 Apr 1917 United States at war
President Woodrow Wilson declared war against Germany. The United States joined the Allies in defending Atlantic shipping and on the frontline in France.
William Morris Hughes 05 May 1917 7th federal election
House of Representatives and 18 Senate seats
William Morris Hughes 17 Oct 1917 National railways
The Commonwealth completed construction of the 1690 km Port Augusta to Perth section of the TransAustralia Railway, linking Perth to Sydney. In the Northern Territory, the Commonwealth government had added only 85 km, from Pine Creek to Katherine, to the 235 km line from Darwin to Pine Creek, built by the South Australian government.
William Morris Hughes 07 Nov 1917 Revolution in Russia
Bolshevik revolutionaries occupied the Russian capital, St Petersburg (then Petrograd). They overturned a provisional government established after the forced abdication of Tsar Nicholas II in March.
William Morris Hughes 20 Dec 1917 Peace Army riots
The second conscription referendum failed. The ‘No’ majority was more than double that of the first referendum in 1916. Campaigns were bitterly fought throughout Australia. Women’s Peace Army protestors were arrested in Melbourne. In Warwick, Queensland, an egg thrown at Prime Minister WM Hughes led to his setting up a Commonwealth police force.
William Morris Hughes 10 Jan 1918 Prime ministerial promise
Prime Minister WM Hughes was again sworn in as Prime Minister. He had vowed to resign if the conscription referendum failed. It did, so he had resigned on 8 January. The Nationalists held a two-thirds majority in the House of Representatives, and Hughes was not replaced as party leader. The Governor-General thus swore Hughes in again.
William Morris Hughes 03 Aug 1918 Australia House opened
King George V officially opened Australia House on The Strand. Andrew Fisher, the first occupant, had been High Commissioner since 1916.
William Morris Hughes 22 Sep 1918 Prime Minister calling
In the first direct radio telephone call from the United Kingdom to Australia, the Prime Minister spoke from Caernarfon in Wales to Sydney. WM Hughes and Minister for the Navy Joseph Cook were away from Australia for sixteen months from April 1918.
William Morris Hughes 11 Nov 1918 Armistice Day
Germany’s surrender ended World War I. Australia had nearly 60,000 official casualties. This loss was commemorated with the establishment of Armistice Day in 1919, observed each year at 11 am.
William Morris Hughes 17 Dec 1918 Darwin rebellion
Some 1000 demonstrators marched to the Residency in Darwin. They burnt an effigy of Northern Territory Administrator John Gilruth and demanded his resignation. Their grievances were against the two main Territory employers, Vestey’s meatworks and the Commonwealth. Gilruth left Darwin soon after, while Vestey’s meatworks closed in 1920.
William Morris Hughes 06 Mar 1919 Homes for heroes
The Commonwealth War Service Homes Commission began operations. It provided low-interest home loans for returned servicemen.
William Morris Hughes 09 May 1919 Seamen’s strike
Australia’s seamen went on strike for better wages and conditions. The immediate interruption of fuel and coal supplies created a serious crisis that worsened as job losses mounted. The strike lasted the whole winter before the demands were met.
William Morris Hughes 28 Jun 1919 Treaty of Versailles
At the end of the six-month Peace Conference in Paris, Australia’s Prime Minister WM Hughes and Minister for the Navy Joseph Cook signed the Peace Treaty at Versailles that established the League of Nations. With Britain’s other dominions, Australia established its status as an independent member of the world’s first international organisation of governments.
William Morris Hughes 02 Jul 1919 The Nauru mandate
Britain, New Zealand and Australia signed an agreement for Australian administration of Nauru, located 4000 km northeast of Sydney. Australia had captured the island from Germany in 1914 and in 1920 the League of Nations designated it an Australian mandate.
William Morris Hughes 10 Dec 1919 First flight
Ross and Keith Smith won the prize money offered by the government for the first flight from Britain to Australia. They landed their Vickers Vimy aircraft in Darwin after a 28-day flight from Hounslow in England.
William Morris Hughes 13 Dec 1919 8th federal election
House of Representatives and 19 Senate seats
William Morris Hughes 13 Dec 1919 Referendum
Held with the 8th federal election, neither of the two proposals related to legislative powers and the nationalisation of monopolies (this being the third referendum at which the latter was put to the electorate) was carried.
William Morris Hughes 22 Jan 1920 Country Party
The Australian Country Party was officially formed by members of the Farmers Federation. The new party benefited from the introduction of preferential voting for both Houses of parliament. At the 14 December 1919 election it won 8 seats in the House of Representatives.
William Morris Hughes 27 May 1920 Prince of Wales tour
Prince Edward (later briefly King Edward VIII) arrived in Australia. The 26-year-old travelled overland from Adelaide to Wallangarra, on the Queensland border. The royal visitors were provided with ‘a varied programme of kangaroo and emu hunting, buckjumping, with exhibitions of shearing etc’. Hugely popular, the Prince of Wales left Australia on 18 August 1920.
William Morris Hughes 31 Aug 1920 Engineers case
The High Court decision in the case Amalgamated Society of Engineers v Adelaide Steamship Co Ltd was a milestone in constitutional interpretation and in Commonwealth-State relations. In holding that Arbitration Court decisions were binding on State governments, the Court took an expansive view of how Commonwealth powers derive from the Constitution.
William Morris Hughes 06 Oct 1920 7th Governor-General
Lord Forster served as Governor-General until 8 October 1925.
William Morris Hughes 30 Oct 1920 Communist Party of Australia
The Party was first formed at a Sydney meeting. It later divided into two groups. One favoured adherence to doctrine, the other a practical trades union approach.
William Morris Hughes 31 Dec 1920 Trouble in Canberra
Prime Minister WM Hughes removed Walter Burley Griffin as director of construction at Canberra after disagreements over his supervisory role. Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahoney Griffin had won the competition to design the national capital on 14 May 1912.
William Morris Hughes 07 Mar 1921 Health a federal concern
The Commonwealth Department of Health was formed. It took over the quarantine service of the Department of Trade and Customs, the Australian Institute of Tropical Medicine and the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories. It also became responsible for national health functions such as the treatment of infectious diseases in returned soldiers.
William Morris Hughes 12 Aug 1921 Australian Federation of Women Voters
Bessie Rischbieth founded this federated body of Australian women’s political associations. Their aim was to participate in the international federations and establish credentials as lobbyists and advisers at the League of Nations. As a result of their efforts, each Australian delegation to the League of Nations General Assembly included a woman member.
William Morris Hughes 01 Feb 1922 Red flag for merchant ships
The red Australian flag, authorised by the British Admiralty for merchant shipping in 1902, became compulsory under the 1920 Navigation Act.
William Morris Hughes 21 May 1922 Empire settlement
The Empire Settlement Act enabled the intake of large numbers of British immigrants. Over 200,000 assisted settlers arrived in Australia between 1922 and 1929.
William Morris Hughes 03 Nov 1922 QANTAS
Australia’s first airline, Queensland and Northern Territory Air Service began regular passenger services with two war surplus biplanes. The first flight was from Charleville to Cloncurry, Queensland.
William Morris Hughes 16 Dec 1922 9th federal election
House of Representatives and 19 Senate seats