It is worth remembering that even though the war permeated everyday life, the world Queenslanders in 1914 did not begin and end with the conflict in Europe. Momentous and mundane events did not conveniently cease to make room for the war. An already battered Europe was subject to further hardship and suffering with the unexpected passing of Pope Pius X to sudden illness. In death, Pius reminded the world that life goes on—despite the war.
At home in Australia, the European campaign had to contend with political campaigning for the forthcoming Federal election. Prime Minister Cook was adamant in reminding Australians of their civic duties and responsibilities in the lead up to the September election. Regardless of what might be happening in France, on polling day Australians would have to confront the very ordinary responsibility of electing a new government. Just because there was a war on everyone was not suddenly excused from meeting their basic obligations at home.
But, that’s not to say that things in Australia were strictly business-as-usual. The climate of war had not been kind to Austrian and German nationals abroad, and difficult questions were raised about how we should be treating with the ‘enemy’ at home. A growing unease and distrust had developed among Australian businesses, and bankers went so far as to directly question if German customers should have any rights to access to their money.
Each week we will be sharing news stories from the week 100 years ago, and we invite you to add your thoughts and comments.
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