The Great Depression, 1929To Economy
Australia's Great Depression began in 1929 on the back of the Stock Market crash in America. With unemployment at a record 29% in 1932 a great deal of Sydney residents lost their houses in this period leading to families needing to set up alternative accommodation, variously utilising caves along the New South Wales coast, setting up tent squats in unused land and forming makeshift houses in coastal scrub areas. The infamous coastal shanty town Happy Valley at La Perouse saw dispossessed Sydneysiders setting up makeshift shacks on the suburbs golf course and housed 73 families at its peak.
It's effect on Australian society extended well beyond the decade within which Australia was in the grips of poverty; children regularly left school at the age of 12 leading to a vastly undereducated generation and the predilection of migrant workers to accept less pay for work further instilled white Australia's prejudices against foreigners. Whilst a debilitating time in Australian History, it spurned several important legislative changes including the set up of Federally funded social welfare organisations.