EM 44: Australia: Our Neighbor Down Under (1944)

AustraliaBy Herbert Heaton
Professor of History, University of Minnesota
(Published October 1944)



  • Getting acquainted
  • How are we alike?
  • Comparisons and Contrasts
  • What about aims and outlook?
  • Australian English
  • Australian Slang
  • Only seven millions
  • It’s either too hot or too dry
  • Gamblers all

What Do They Do for a Living?

  • The discovery of wool
  • The gold rush
  • Industry on the home front

Important Events

What Are the Effects of Isolation?

  • You can be choosy
  • What did they choose?
  • White and British
  • The empty spaces
  • From the mother country
  • Is “Britishness” good or bad?

Self-rule and How It Grew

  • Seeds of democracy
  • Checks and balances
  • Democratic aims

The Land Problem

The Industrial Problem

The Labor Problem

Labor in Politics

  • Socialism and state enterprise
  • The labor platform
  • The labor machine
  • Regulating wages
  • The basic wage

Australia and the Outside World

  • The last war and after
  • When this war came
  • Work or fight
  • Lend-lease in reverse
  • Cooperation in the future
  • Enemy territories

Portfolio: Australia

To the Leader

  • How to use this pamphlet
  • Questions for discussion

For Further Reading


Australian SoldiersOn March 11, 1942 General Douglas MacArthur and substantial American forces arrived in Australia, and a little later we learned that our men were in New Zealand as well.

For many of us this involved one more course of study in the history, geography, and social conditions of a foreign land. Till that moment few of us knew much about life “down under.” Some were probably little better informed than was the American who, discovering that the woman across the table in the diner was an Australian, immediately said, “But wherever did you learn to speak English?”

From countless books and press dispatches we have learned what our men saw, heard, and thought of their “Pacific partner.” If they expected to find Australia a facsimile of home, with plenty of ice cream, hamburgers, iced drinks, and coffee, and with highly plumbed camp quarters, they were speedily disappointed. But when the first strangeness had worn off, American soldiers discovered, as did their fathers in World War I, that the Australian was like the American in many ways.

WarshipOne American officer who watched part of the New Guinea campaign reported that the Australian soldiers were “even rougher and tougher than our own Marines.” Australian hospitality has been bountiful and Australian girls are attractive. Mutton stew is not likely to be a popular dish in the future among those who are now being overdosed with it in Australia. Steak and eggs became such a favorite combination among troops sent to New Zealand, however, that it displaced ham and eggs for the last meal before the landing at Tarawa.