Australian Government Decisions about Civil Aviation to 1923

I’ve been working on this project since before I left the Public Service in 1987. While I was doing some research for my Honours Thesis in the Australian Archive (now National Australian Archive) I came across a shelf of folders which were photocopies of all the Cabinet decisions made by the various Commonwealth governments since Federation. These interested me because they were where all the key decisions relating to the development of Australia civil aviation industry were made.

This was interesting stuff so I started collecting the decisions that related to civil aviation. However, many of the decisions did not make much sense without seeing the documents that led to the decision so I started collecting them too. This became quite a large project and I must have spent a lot of time on it because the complete project runs from 1918 to 1956 (which was when the embargoed period on Cabinet documents then started) and ran to over 100 pages.

Having a day or two spare I thought I might consolidate the work I’d done and add in some of the minutes and memoranda that would help to explain the decisions. I find, in hunting through old computer files and photocopies, that I’ve had at least three goes previously at doing this – which must have been a lot of hard transcribing work in the days before decent OCR software. So what I’ve spent my time doing this time around is consolidating all that previous work into one file which I will come back to at some time in the future to develop and expand, I hope, if I remember.

This is only a part of the overall project, covering the period from when the Commonwealth began to show an interest in civil aviation to the end of the Hughes Ministry in February 1923. It’s not complete but it gives a general picture of what the government of the day was thinking about civil aviation. I’m putting it here just in case it is of interest to other people but mainly because I might remember that I’ve already done this work and not have another go at it in a few years time if I see it on my own web site.


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