100 Moments in Australian History

Australian History

By Karin Saliba

This month the class discussed Ben Chifley, Australia’s 16th Prime minister from 1945-1949.

Ben Chifley, a Labor Party Prime Minister, came from humble beginnings. Born in 1885, Bathurst, NSW, Chifley became a railway engine driver after leaving school and was elected to Parliament in 1928. He became prime minister following Curtin’s death in 1945.

While Prime minister, his Government passed 229 Acts in just 4 years, all around economic and social reforms, many of which we take for granted today. These reforms included: Universal Health Care, the Pharmaceutical Benefits scheme, Family allowance, Wife allowance now to include de facto relationships, Maternal and Child allowance, provided Federal funds for social housing, set up the Commonwealth Bank and much more.

All this information was unknown to me until I did a little research on my tablet. At this time in our history it is worth reflecting on what has gone before, so we can appreciate how we became the country we are today. This Australian History class is a relaxed, safe place to discuss issues relating to our past, it is wonderful to have a chat and see each other, not face to face at the moment, but the closest thing to it for now. Come along and have your say.

The History class meets every third Friday of the month, now via Zoom.

Dates for 2020: 21 Feb, 20 Mar, 17 Apr, 15 May, 19 June, 17 July, 21 Aug, 18 Sep, 16 Oct, 20 Nov.