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Australian History

Friday, September 11, 1914. :   Australian troops land in New Guinea in the first significant Australian action of World War I.

     The assassination by Serbian Nationals of His Imperial and Royal Highness Archduke Franz Ferdinand of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in June 1914 caused a chain reaction, as countries throughout the world allied themselves with either Serbia or Austria-Hungary. Great Britain’s formal declaration of war on Germany on 4 August 1914 also brought its dominions and colonies into the war.

Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand and South Africa were among the first to offer military and financial assistance. The day after Britain’s declaration of war, Australian Prime Minister Joseph Cook pledged support, offering Britain 20 000 troops, and stating that "...when the Empire is at war, so also is Australia." Britain was quick to accept this offer, with the Secretary of State for the Colonies sending a telegram stating “His Majesty’s Government gratefully accept offer of your Ministers to send to this Country force of 20,000 men and would be glad if it could be despatched as soon as possible”. A recruitment drive to form the first Australian forces was underway within days, using anti-German propaganda posters and recruitment songs.

Australia’s first significant action in World War I occurred when the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (ANMEF) landed in New Guinea. This volunteer expeditionary force of 1500 men departed Australia on the troop ship ‘Berrima’ in early September. It was the first force ever to leave the country on an Australian ship, under the command of Australian officers. The ANMEF landed in Rabaul at dawn on 11 September 1914. German New Guinea was taken without opposition six days later, and the neighbouring islands of the Bismarck Archipelago the following month.


Today in History

Thought For Today
When I am afraid, O Lord Almighty, I put my trust in you.
Psalms 56:3 (c) GNB
Never doubt that your Heavenly Father has your eternal care in mind.

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