Published Date

October 1, 1944

Resource Type

GI Roundtable Series, Primary Source

From GI Roundtable 44: Australia: Our Neighbor Down Under (1944)

The material in Australia, Our Neighbor “Down Under” gives an interesting account of social and historical facts about Australia. In proportion to its population, Australia has made large contributions to the war.

Australia is an important base for our military operations. Thousands of Americans have thus learned to know a region hitherto completely removed from their experience. Many American soldiers have developed close personal ties with the people “down under.” Added to these facts, the postwar importance of the Pacific area looms larger in the minds of Americans than was dreamed of by most of us before 1941. As a result discussion of questions that concern the Pacific and our neighbors in the Southwest Pacific should be of genuine interest to soldier groups.


How to use this pamphlet

Into this small pamphlet has been compressed much pertinent information about Australia. In planning one or more discussions based upon this information, you may find the following suggestions helpful. You are of course quite free to adopt any other procedures that may appeal to you as more practical.

  1. After careful study of the pamphlet, select a major question that offers a basis for discussion. Choose one such question for each meeting to be planned. If you use a small committee to shape your discussion program, this is where the committee can assist you. Some possible discussion topics are:
    Should the “doctrine of trusteeship” be applied to islands of the Pacific?
    Would the Australian “living wage” work in the United States?
    Can Australia attract American immigrants after the war?
  2. In your five or ten minute introductory talk, plan to give reasons for discussing the chosen subject together with such information from this pamphlet as forms essential background for the discussion. If, for example, you are to discuss the doctrine of trusteeship, you would need to indicate how Australia administered the Dependency of Papua (page 47) and suggest questions which would develop the differences between this colonial policy and that of other colonial powers. To introduce the subject of the Australian living wage you will find good material under the heading, “The Basic Wage” (page 45). Scattered through the whole text are facts about climate, population, agriculture, industry, and labor in Australia; from these facts you should be able to select major points essential to introducing a discussion about immigration to Australia.
  3. Prepare a series of questions which you will ask during the discussion (if someone doesn’t anticipate you). A few ideas for such questions are given below under “Questions for Discussion.”
  4. Reproduce such tables from the text as are appropriate to your subject. Reproductions may be made on a blackboard or on large sheets of paper. Be sure to have the tables made so that they are legible to persons sitting at the rear of the audience.
  5. If possible, make one or more copies of this pamphlet available for advance reading by men who will attend your meetings. Put the copies in whatever central reading room is most accessible. Men in possession of background facts will carry on a more effective discussion than those who lack facts.
  6. You should have a copy of EM 1, G. I. Roundtable: Guide for Discussion Leaders. This pamphlet contains much helpful information on how to organize and conduct informal discussions, panel discussions, forums, symposiums, and debates.

Questions for Discussion

  1. Should the Australian “doctrine of trusteeship” be applied to Pacific dependencies? Is this doctrine in line with U. S. policies? With Dutch policies? With British policies? French? Portuguese? Would all dependent peoples in the South and Southwest Pacific develop well under trusteeship? If some would not, why wouldn’t they? Should responsibility for the dependent lands be divided between various United Nations or be discharged jointly by them? Is it right for Australia and New Zealand to have a share in establishing policies for dependencies within what they consider their “zone of defense”?
  2. Would the Australian “living wage” work in the United States? How does Australian wage regulation differ from similar laws in the United States? Can you suggest reasons for the difference? Have the reasons something to do with the relative strength of the labor movement in the two countries? How do our living standards differ? How does the Australian “basic wage” compare with our “minimum wage”? What is the attitude toward wages for women in our two countries? Are wage adjustments based on an index number satisfactory? How are salaries for white-collar workers regulated in Australia?
  3. Can Australia attract immigrants from America after the war? What would make Americans want to go there? Employment opportunities? Living conditions? Australian government policies to promote the economic welfare of its people? Have the Australians had success in solving their land problem? Would the strength of labor in government attract American immigrants? Would the national policy for a “White Australia” be a consideration? Have the personal ties developed between some Americans and Australians encouraged immigration? Is it likely that Australians may wish to come to America? Is it possible that, Americans’ lack of interest in Australia has been because America has itself been a “frontier” country? What about northern Australia as a possible postwar frontier?


Suggestions for Further Reading

These books are suggested for supplementary reading if it so happens that you have access to there. They are not approved nor officially supplied by the War Department. They have been selected because they give additional information and represent different points of view.

Introducing Australia. By C. Hartley Grattan. Published by John Day Company, 2 West 45th Street, New York 19, N. Y. (1942). How an American analyzed the country.

Lands Down Under. By C. Hartley Grattan. Published for the Institute of Pacific Relations by Webster Publishing Company, St. Louis, Mo. (1943).

Australia. By W. K. Hancock. Published by Charles Scribner’s Sons, 597 Fifth Avenue, New York 17, N. Y. (1931). How one of the most brilliant of living Australians analyzed his own country.

Meet the Anzacs! By W. L. Holland and Philip E. Lilienthal. No. 7 of Far Eastern Pamphlets published by Institute of Pacific Relations, 1 East 54th Street, New York 22, N. Y. (1942).

Australia and the Australians. By Harold J. Timperley. No. 23 of America in a World at War, pamphlets published by Oxford University Press, 114 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y. (1942).

Pocket Guide to Australia; Pocket Guide to New Zealand. Pamphlets prepared by the Information and Education Division, Army Service Forces, United States Army. War and Navy Departments, Washington, D. C. (1943).

The following pamphlets are available from Australian News and Information Bureau, 610 Fifth Avenue, New York 20, N. Y.

Agreement between Australia and New Zealand. Text of the January 21, 1944 agreement.

Facts and Figures of Australia at War, no. 3. Issued by Commonwealth Department of Information (December 1943).

The Job Australia Is Doing.

Australia at Home to the Yanks. Issued in cooperation with the National Headquarters of the American Legion.

The Real Australian Soldier. A pamphlet by Gavin Long. Reprinted from The Infantry Journal, June 1943.

Australia Looks to the Future. Excerpts of speeches by Prime Minister John Curtin and External Affairs Minister Herbert V. Evatt.