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Research Guides


Land of Opportunity: Australia's post-war reconstruction


Secondary industries

The expansion and diversification of Australian manufacturing industries started in World War I and, assisted by high tariffs, accelerated in the following decade. The value of manufacturing rose from 14 per cent of GDP in 1919 to 23 per cent in 1939. The lead was taken by the iron and steel industry, symbolised by the opening of the BHP steelworks at Newcastle in 1915 and the Australian Iron and Steel Ltd steelworks at Port Kembla in 1928. Other industries that became well established in the 1920s were motor car manufacture, electrical appliances, building materials and textiles. In the 1921 census, the numbers employed in manufacturing (22.3 per cent) exceeded those in primary industry (21.9 per cent) for the first time. Factory employment, which peaked in 1926–27, was heavily concentrated in New South Wales and Victoria.

There was another upsurge in manufacturing during World War II. By 1943 the Commonwealth Government had established 47 munitions factories and establishments, and there were also 178 government-financed annexes attached to private firms and state workshops. A majority of the munitions factories were located outside capital cities, particularly in western New South Wales. In five years manufacturing employment, which included a significant proportion of female workers, rose by 25 per cent, with 753,000 employed in 1944. Two-thirds of civilian employees were engaged in munitions production, shipbuilding, aircraft construction, and the production of tanks and other motor vehicles. Other industries that prospered in wartime were textiles, chemicals, machine tools, electric motors, food processing, rubber and paper manufacture, and the production of steel and non-ferrous metals. New Commonwealth departments were set up to oversee secondary industries: Supply and Development, Munitions, Aircraft Production, and War Organisation of Industry.

Secondary Industries Commission

In May 1942 RV Keane directed the Tariff Board to report on all aspects of the re-establishment of secondary industries as part of the government's post-war reconstruction plans. Over the next year or so the board issued 11 reports on specific industries, ranging from motor vehicles to cutlery and plated ware. Soon after the creation of the Department of Post War Reconstruction, HC Coombs proposed that a Secondary Industries Planning Commission should be one of the commissions advising the minister and the department. He argued that, while the Tariff Board was well qualified to produce impartial reports on the post-war circumstances of particular industries, a separate body was needed to look at wider questions of industry policy, some of which were of a semi-political nature. His long absence overseas delayed a decision, but in October 1943 the government set up a Secondary Industries Commission to review wartime industrial development and 'to plan and recommend measures for the future industrial development of the Commonwealth'. It was chaired by John Jensen, the Secretary of the Department of Munitions, who was well known to Chifley. Two other members, Walter Scott and FT Merrett, were also Munitions men, as was the executive officer, John Knott. The other members were SF Cochran, the Chairman of the Queensland Electricity Commission, and DJ Nolan of the Allied Supply Council. Nolan resigned in 1944 and was replaced by HF Morris, the Chairman of the Tariff Board.

The Secondary Industries Commission differed in a number of ways from the other two commissions set up under the aegis of the Department of Post War Reconstruction. Although it met regularly for several years, and was not formally dissolved until 1950, its members were always part-time. They did not travel widely or hold public inquiries, and they did not attempt to produce a general report on post-war industrial development. They relied heavily on information supplied by their liaison officers in each state, on the reports of the Tariff Board and various industry panels, and on the research assistance of Knott, Bernard Hartnell and other departmental officers. To some extent, the commission was an advisory body, making recommendations on issues such as decentralisation, taxation policy and industrial finance, but in other respects it was an administrative body. It supervised the sale or lease of government factories, approved new manufacturing applications and requests by manufacturers for travel sponsorship, and made recommendations to the Cabinet sub-committee on secondary industries on measures to assist particular industries or companies. They included taxation and import concessions, transport subsidies and the acquisition of reparations equipment.

The commission's secretariat formed the nucleus of the Secondary Industries Division, which was set up in January 1945. The director was Harold Breen, who had been a close colleague of Jensen. He mostly reported to Jensen rather than Coombs and the dividing line between the Secondary Industries Commission and the Secondary Industries Division (renamed the Division of Industrial Development in 1948) was quite blurred. Despite Treasury opposition, the division grew rapidly and by 1948 had a staff of 329. It assumed a large number of functions and provided advice to the Cabinet sub-committee on secondary industries (chaired by John Dedman), the Capital Issues Control Committee, the Industrial Finance Department of the Commonwealth Bank, the Motor Vehicles Advisory Committee, the Department of Trade and Customs and other agencies. It established close contacts with many firms, especially in Melbourne and Sydney, and was a major sponsor of industrial development. It built up a large collection of technical reports for the use of companies and advised them on standards, industry testing, materials handling and other subjects. The division also produced a series of reports on specific industries. They formed the basis of a major report, 'The structure and capacity of Australian manufacturing industry', which was published in 1952.

Future control of government factories

In 1943 there was already much speculation about the post-war use of munitions factories, aircraft production factories and other government establishments. On 23 November 1943 Cabinet had a long discussion on a paper by Chifley proposing a Commonwealth Industries Corporation to operate the factories on a commercial basis. The Prime Minister and Attorney-General reacted cautiously, urging no publicity be given until after the 14 powers referendum. The Secondary Industries Commission subsequently suggested that factories no longer needed for defence purposes could be sold or leased to private industry. By August 1944 Curtin had ruled out competition with private enterprise and it was decided that factories that could be used for the production of civilian goods could be retained by the government or sold or leased to private firms. As it happened, the Secondary Industries Commission generally recommended that the factories be leased. The process took some years: by July 1946, 120 enterprises had bought or leased space in government factories and by August 1949 the figure had reached 293. A degree of decentralisation was achieved, with some firms moving to country towns or the smaller states. Examples were Emmco Pty Ltd at Orange, Bruck Mills (Australia) Ltd at Wangaratta, Philips Electrical Industries Pty Ltd at Adelaide, and Silk and Textiles Pty Ltd at Hobart. The largest complexes, however, were in capital cities, such as Finsbury in Adelaide, and Villawood and St Mary's in Sydney. By 1949 85 firms were leasing space at the vast St Mary's industrial estate.

Car manufacturing

Apart from shipbuilding (see chapter 20), motor vehicle manufacture was the only industry that received continuous attention from the Commonwealth Government. The expansion of the industry would create large-scale employment and reduce the volume of imports from the United States. At its second meeting in December 1943, the Secondary Industries Commission considered the possibility of a complete Australian car being manufactured in Australia. In March 1944 it recommended that manufacturers be invited to submit plans for the local manufacture of car engines and chassis. The recommendation was later endorsed by a Cabinet sub-committee. In 1945 proposals were received from General Motors-Holden (GMH), the Ford Motor Company, Nuffield (Australia), Chrysler-Dodge Distributors and Rootes Ltd, but only GMH and Ford proposed production in the near future. Jensen, who was closely associated with LJ Hartnett, the GMH general manager, was convinced that GMH had the resources and the interest in developing a medium-power, low-price car suitable for Australian conditions. The Ford proposals were attractive, but it sought a capital gift from the government and exemption from Commonwealth price control. In November 1945 Ford was informed that the government could not agree to most of the concessions that it sought. In 1946 a team of 30 GMH engineers and technicians visited Detroit, where the new car was designed, and took part in the testing of three prototype models. Subsequently two locally built prototypes were tested exhaustively and GMH erected new construction plants at Fishermen's Bend in Melbourne and Woodville in Adelaide. The first all-Australian car, the Holden, was shown to the Australian public in Melbourne on 29 November 1948. Manufacturing on a large scale, without bounty or subsidy, began in 1949.

German reparations and German scientists

Under an agreement signed in February 1946, Australia would receive about £3 million reparations in plant and equipment from Germany. The Secondary Industries Division was in close contact with the Australian Scientific and Technical Mission in London, led by JR Cochrane, which selected the reparations in Germany. They included machine tools, electric generators and a huge hydraulic forging press, which was leased to the Newcastle steelworks. The two agencies also collaborated in the recruitment of German scientists and technicians to work in Australia. The scheme commenced in December 1946 and by 1953 about 150 surveyors, chemists, chemical engineers, physicists, metallurgists, food technologists and geologists, together with their families, had been brought to Australia. Of these, 59 were allocated to private companies and the remainder to public authorities, such as CSIR, the Defence Research Laboratories, Bureau of Mineral Resources, Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority, and State Electricity Commission in Victoria.

In 1948 and 1949 Dedman made statements to Parliament on the extraordinary expansion of manufacturing since the war. By June 1949 there were 2618 new firms with an estimated capital expenditure of £52 million. The proposed capital expenditure of established firms totalled £121 million. There were possibly too many new firms: Chifley told Cabinet in December 1947 that the spreading of industrial effort was militating against a rapid rise in productivity. The government was concerned that basic industries, particularly the iron and steel industry, were hampered by labour shortages and the problems of the coal industry. Nevertheless the post-war growth in the value of production in other established industries, such as the metal trades, clothing, chemicals, food processing and textiles, was impressive. By 1951–52 there were 45,840 factories in Australia, compared with 26,940 in 1938–39, and employment in manufacturing had risen from 565,100 to 977,800.

Cabinet
CURTIN, FORDE AND CHIFLEY MINISTRIES: CABINET MINUTES AND AGENDAS, 1941–49
Series: A2700
Secondary industry development after the war, 5 May 1942 235
Concentration of industry and compensation, 20 January 1943 429
Control of Commonwealth factories and other investments, 23 November 1943 564
Post-war control and operation of government factories, 20 March 1945 564A
Post-war control and operation of government factories, 20 November 1945 564B
Post-war control and operation of government factories, 17 December 1945 564C
Australian motor car industry, 24 January 1944 588
Australian motor car industry, 27 March 1944 588A
Manufacture of motor cars in Australia: report of Cabinet Sub-Committee, 12 September 1944 588C
Motor vehicle manufacture, 20 November 1945 588D
Textile industry: facilities for technical education, 20 March 1945 825
Textile industry: facilities for technical education, 17 July 1945 825A
Decentralisation of secondary industry, 30 July 1945 892
Civilian production in government factories, 11 September 1945 926
Peacetime utilisation of government factories, 4 June 1946 1175
Employment of German scientific and technical personnel in civil industry in Australia, 20 November 1946 1266
Development and exploitation of inventions, 11 October 1949 1633
Production Executive
PRODUCTION EXECUTIVE AGENDA PAPERS, 1941–45
Series: A2866
W5
J Dedman. Use of factories released from Munitions, 4 March 1944.
29/1944
W6
J Dedman. Munitions factories in western New South Wales, 15 September 1944.
93/1944
Attorney-General's Department
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, 1929–
Series: A432
Manufacture of motor cars in Australia by Ford Motor Co., 1945–50
Report (9 October 1945) of a committee of the Secondary Industries Commission on proposals for motor car manufacture (chair: W Scott) and correspondence about proposals by the Ford Motor Company for the manufacture of engines and chassis in Australia. The correspondents include JB Chifley, HC Coombs and Sir George Knowles.
1945/1495
Department of Post War Reconstruction
CORRESPONDENCE FILES OF THE ECONOMIC POLICY DIVISION, 1944–49
Series: A9790
Engineering industry, 1944
Correspondence and notes on iron and steel production in the transition period and employment and training in the engineering industry. The correspondents include HC Coombs, BW Hartnell, PWE Curtin and HC Green.
325
Steel, 1949 (2 parts)
Correspondence and statements on the iron and steel industry, the availability of steel products and the purchase of steel from the United Kingdom. The correspondents include JB Chifley, LF Crisp, JJ Sheils and HA Bland.
3251
Division of Industrial Development: miscellaneous correspondence, 1944–49
Correspondence on the movement of British industry to Australia, export permits, investment by overseas firms in secondary industry, the Materials Handling Bureau, the National Association of Testing Authorities, tariffs, the rayon weaving industry, and the overseas trips of HP Breen and LJ Hartnett. The correspondents include HP Breen, CH McFadyen, JJ Sheils and AS Brown.
331
Division of Industrial Development: weekly reports, 1948–50
Weekly reports (December 1948 – January 1950) of the Division of Industrial Development.
332
Division of Industrial Development: employment of scientific and technical aliens, 1948–49
Correspondence concerning the selection and transport of German scientists and their families to Australia, their financial position, and the work undertaken by them in Australia. The correspondents include HP Breen, CH McFadyen and BW Hartnell.
334
Post-war control of government defence factories, 1946–48
Correspondence about the proposed Defence Production Commission and the sale and lease of munitions factories. The correspondents include HC Coombs, CH McFadyen and JK Jensen.
342
Lease or sale of government factories, 1944–49
Correspondence and statements concerning the lease and sale of government factories to private enterprise. The correspondents include JJ Dedman, RT Pollard, HC Coombs, AS Brown, HP Breen and CH McFadyen.
343
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, 1949–50
Series: A9816
Concentration of industry and compensation, 1942–43
Cabinet and Production Executive submissions, correspondence and memoranda on the concentration of industries during wartime and compensation to companies. The correspondents include HC Coombs, GG Firth and ER Walker.
1943/640
Secondary Industries Commission, 1943–46
Correspondence concerning the establishment of the Secondary Industries Commission, its relations with the Tariff Board and the Department of Post War Reconstruction, membership and staff organisation. The correspondents include JB Chifley, RV Keane, HC Coombs, LG Melville, GG Firth and JK Jensen.
1943/685
Research on internal subjects: decentralisation, 1941–46 (2 parts)
Notes of a meeting (9 November 1944) of the Secondary Industries Commission on the location of industry, and correspondence and notes about the decentralisation of industry and regional planning. The correspondents include JG Crawford, G Rudduck, KJ McKenzie, WC Balmford and A Reid.
1943/784
Secondary industries: miscellaneous, 1941–46
Correspondence, memoranda and notes concerning secondary industries, government controls, and the transfer from war to civil production.
1943/841
Secondary Industries Division: international aspects, 1943–47
Correspondence and statements about industrial developments in New Zealand, Britain and other overseas countries, and investment by overseas companies in Australia. The correspondents include AH Tange, BW Hartnell, JL Knott and NG Butlin.
1944/5 Pt 1
Cabinet Sub-Committee on Secondary Industries, 1944–46
Agenda papers and notes of meetings of the Cabinet sub-committee on secondary industries.
1944/42
Secondary Industries Commission: notes on agenda items, 1943–44 (2 parts)
Notes on agenda items of meetings of the Secondary Industries Commission, usually written by JL Knott or BW Hartnell.
1944/72
Secondary Industries Commission: minutes of meetings, 1943–45
Agenda papers and minutes of meetings (March 1945) of the Secondary Industries Commission and minutes of a meeting (2 March 1945) between the commission and state liaison officers (chair: JK Jensen).
1944/73 Pts 2-3
Secondary Industries Commission: monthly reports, 1944–45
Reports (January 1944 – March 1945) on the work of the Secondary Industries Commission.
1944/74 Pt 3
Secondary Industries Commission: Textile Advisory Panel, 1943–45
Minutes of meetings (November 1943 – January 1944) of the Textile Advisory Panel (chair: G Davis), its report (May 1944) on the cotton industry, and correspondence of GG Firth, BW Hartnell and other officials concerning the report.
1944/76
Secondary Industries Commission: general, 1943–44
Correspondence regarding research undertaken for the Secondary Industries Commission, the organisation of its work, advisory panels, imports likely to affect industrial development, and the iron and steel industry. The correspondents include JG Crawford, BW Hartnell, JL Knott and AC Moore.
1944/77
Relations between Secondary Industries Commission and the states, 1944
Draft memorandum (March 1944) on relations between the Secondary Industries Commission and the states and related minutes by JL Knott and BW Hartnell.
1944/142
Secondary industries: Monopolies Bill, 1944
Minutes and memoranda by HC Coombs, GG Firth and other officials about a possible Monopolies Bill.
1944/211
Courtaulds Rayon Factory, Newcastle, 1944–45
A memorandum (4 May 1944) and correspondence on a proposal by Courtaulds Ltd (UK) for the erection of a rayon yarn and staple fibre factory in Australia. The correspondents include JB Chifley, RV Keane, GG Firth, BW Hartnell and F Williams.
1944/293
Transport and decentralisation of industry, 1943–46
Correspondence and notes on freight rates and the decentralisation of industry. The correspondents include JB Chifley, EJ Ward and KJ McKenzie.
1944/301
Secondary Industries Commission: motor vehicle manufacture, 1944–46 (3 parts)
Interim report (6 April 1944) of the Secondary Industries Commission on the motor car industry and a Cabinet submission and correspondence on proposals for the manufacture of cars in Australia. The correspondents include RV Keane, JG Crawford, HP Breen, JL Knott, CE Palstra, JK Jensen and WD Scott.
1944/362
Decentralisation: policy, 1945–48
Memoranda on the decentralisation of industry submitted to Cabinet and the Secondary Industries Commission.
1945/279
Minutes of meetings of Secondary Industries Commission, 1946 (2 parts)
Agenda papers and minutes of meetings (June–October 1946) of the Secondary Industries Commission.
1946/283
Secondary Industries Commission: reports, 1944
Reports and agenda papers (January–August 1944) of the Secondary Industries Commission.
1946/356
MISCELLANEOUS PAPERS RELATING TO SECONDARY INDUSTRIES, 1941–56
Series: B6410

Miscellaneous files mostly relating to meetings of the Secondary Industries Commission and its advisory panels, the Cabinet sub-committee on secondary industries, the Production Executive, International Trade Organization negotiations, and the 1948–49 dollar savings budget.
Secondary Industry Commission agenda, 1943–46 1-10
Secondary Industry Commission minutes, 1943–48 13-14
Cabinet Sub-Committee on Secondary Industries: agenda and decisions, 1945–48 159-81
Furniture Industry Advisory Panel: first interim report, 1945 248
Mining Industry Advisory Panel: reports 1–6, 1944–46 272
CORRESPONDENCE FILES OF THE DIVISION OF INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT, 1941–52
Series: MP61/1

Correspondence files of the Department of War Organisation of Industry, the Secondary Industries Division and the Division of Industrial Development. The subjects include industrial information, requests for technical information, factory sponsorship, imports and exports, financial assistance to industry, foreign investment, and German and Japanese reparations.
MEMORANDUM ON THE WORK OF THE SECONDARY INDUSTRIES COMMISSION, 1949
Series: MP252/9
Memorandum on the work of the Secondary Industries Division 1943–49
Memorandum (October 1949) on the work of the Secondary Industries Commission 1943–49, prepared by the Division of Industrial Development.
4
CORRESPONDENCE FILES OF THE DIVISION OF INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT, 1946–57
Series: MP267/1
Services to be rendered to the Industrial Finance Department of the Commonwealth Bank by the Division of Industrial Development, 1945–54
Correspondence, minutes and newspaper cuttings concerning applications by companies for assistance, relations between the Commonwealth Bank and the Secondary Industries Division, and the work of the Industrial Intelligence section. The correspondents include HC Coombs, HP Breen, CH McFadyen, JJ Sheils and AN Armstrong.
2/300/1915
Motor car industry, 1944–48 (3 parts)
Correspondence, minutes, speeches, notes for speeches and newspaper cuttings on the manufacture of motor vehicles in Australia, a survey of the production of automobile products in Australia, the repeal of the Motor Vehicle Engine Bounty Act, motor vehicle manufacturing in other countries, and the proposals of Nuffield, Ford, General Motors-Holden and Chrysler-Dodge. The correspondents include JJ Dedman, HP Breen, BW Hartnell, CE Palstra, CH McFadyen and GA Rattigan.
5/5/400
Automobile industry: investigations, 1946–52
Parliamentary questions, correspondence and newspaper cuttings on the establishment of the motor vehicle manufacturing industry in Australia and the motor car industry in other countries. The correspondents include RV Keane, JJ Kennedy and JL Knott.
5/81/16
Nuffield (Aust.) Pty Ltd, 1946–56
Includes proceedings of a meeting (25 May 1945) between the Secondary Industries Commission and representatives of the Nuffield Organisation on plans of Nuffield (Australia) to manufacture cars in Australia.
5/81/158
GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE FILES OF TRADE SERVICES AND INDUSTRIES BRANCH, 1942–58
Series: MP394/1

Files of the Secondary Industries Division and the Division of Industrial Development relating to industry generally and the motor vehicle industry in particular.
General Motors Holden Ltd, 1943–56 (6 parts) 5/81/102
Chrysler Australia Ltd, 1944–58 (2 parts) 5/81/122
Hartnett Motor Car Project, 1947–49 5/81/24 Pt 1
Hartnett Motor Car Project, 1949 5/81/28 Pt 2
Hartnett Motor Car Project, 1949–56 5/81/141 Pts 3-4
Ford Motor Company: manufacture of motor vehicles in Australia, 1944–53 5/81/151
CORRESPONDENCE FILES OF THE SECONDARY INDUSTRIES DIVISION, 1943–49
Series: MT42/1
Employment: post-war prospects in secondary industries, 1944–45
Minutes (June – November 1944) of the Department of Post War Reconstruction Employment Estimates Committee (chair: PWE Curtin), correspondence, memoranda and statistics on post-war employment in secondary industries, problems in the transition from war to peace, and the White Paper on full employment. The correspondents include HC Coombs, BW Hartnell, JL Knott and JF Nimmo.
1944/364
Australian investment bank: establishment, 1944
Notes (August 1944) by BW Hartnell on the establishment of an Australian investment bank to provide long-term capital for small business ventures.
1944/434
GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE AND ADMINISTRATIVE FILES OF THE DIVISION OF INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT, 1942–52
Series: MT105/8

Files of the Department of War Organisation of Industry, the Secondary Industries Division, and the Division of Industrial Development relating in particular to the recruitment of German and Austrian scientists and technicians for employment in Australia, German and Japanese reparations, Australian scientific missions overseas, and Australian companies and industrial estates.
State Electricity Commission: use of German scientists, 1946–50 1/6/5247
German scientists: publicity, 1947–51 1/6/5564
Australian Scientific Mission Overseas: inter-departmental conferences and reports, 1946–47 2/308/341
Japanese reparations: policy, 1945–46 2/308/1494
CSIR: import of Jokro Mill from Germany, 1948–49 4/5/240
Department of Trade and Customs
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, W (WAR) PREFIX, 1939–50
Series: A1539
Post war reconstruction: industries deserving assistance to continue after War, 1942
Correspondence between the Department of Trade and Customs and the Tariff Board on post-war reconstruction and development of secondary industries, including the listing of manufactures which should be maintained in peacetime in the interests of national security.
1942/W/2072
PAPERS RELATING TO POST-WAR ECONOMIC MATTERS, 1927–56
Series: A9879
Tariff policy: secondary industries, 1949–50
Includes an address (28 July 1949) by B Courtice to the Australian Industries Protection League.
2941
Australian trade policy: development of secondary industries, 1943–45
Includes an address (2 February 1943) by LJ Hartnett on the development of Australian industry.
2961
Department of War Organisation of Industry
SECRET CORRESPONDENCE (S SERIES), 1940–46
Series: CP80/1
Development of secondary industry in Australia after the war, 1942–43
Report (23 July 1942) of the Tariff Board on post-war reconstruction and correspondence regarding the inquiry by the Tariff Board, proposals for compensation for restricted industries, and relations between the Department of Post War Reconstruction and the Department of War Organisation of Industry. The correspondents include JJ Dedman, RV Keane, GT Chippindall and R Wilson.
Bundle 2/S195
Prices stabilisation: Clothing and Textiles Committee, 1943–44
Minutes of meetings (November 1943 – January 1944) of the Prices Stabilisation Clothing and Textile Committee (chair: G Davis), a Cabinet submission (13 February 1943) and correspondence on the stabilisation of clothing prices.
Bundle 4/S291
Concentration and compensation, 1942–45 (3 parts)
Cabinet and Production Executive submissions and correspondence about compensation for companies involved in rationalisation schemes and the Concentration of Industry (Maintenance and Compensation) Bill. The correspondents include GT Chippindall, ER Walker, Sir George Knowles and PW Nette.
Bundle 4/S300
Wartime production in preparation for post-war, 1944–45
Memoranda and correspondence on the control of new manufactures and the role of the Secondary Industries Commission in the granting of new permits. The correspondents include GT Chippindall, EHB Foxcroft, AC Moore, HC Coombs and JK Jensen.
Bundle 10/S580/2
Cabinet Sub-Committee on Secondary Industries: rayon yarn and staple fibre, 1944
Correspondence concerning a submission by Courtauld Ltd for the establishment of a rayon yarn and staple yarn factory.
Bundle 10/S580/3
Scientific research in relation to secondary industry, 1944
Memorandum (19 October 1944) by JK Jensen on scientific research and secondary industry and correspondence on the role of the Scientific Liaison Bureau.
Bundle 11/S580/9
Prices stabilisation: Clothing and Textiles Committee, 1944
A report and minutes of meetings (March–June 1944) of the Prices Stabilisation Clothing and Textile Committee (chair: G Davis).
Bundle 12/S619
Use of factories released from Munitions, 1944–45
Production Executive submissions and correspondence regarding the use of factories no longer needed for munitions production and workforce problems arising from the closure of factories.
Bundle 13/S365
Manufacture of motor cars in Australia, 1939–45
Includes a summary of principal events in motor car manufacture (1936–44), notes of a meeting (4 September 1944) of a Cabinet sub-committee on motor car manufacture (chair: RV Keane), and a letter (3 February 1945) from J Curtin to LJ Hartnett on development of the motor car manufacturing industry in Australia.
Bundle 15/S694
Report of Mining Industry Panel, Secondary Industries Commission, 1945
First report (2 October 1945) of the Mining Industry Panel of the Secondary Industries Commission (chair: HG Raggatt).
Bundle 24/S1086
Prime Minister's Department
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, 1934–50
Series: A461
Western Australian Industry Expansion Commission, 1945–47
Correspondence of JB Chifley with FJS Wise, FRE Mauldon and others on the work on the Western Australian Industry Expansion Commission and its termination in 1946.
J353/1/1
Development of Australia's secondary industries and decentralisation of industry, 1940–48
Correspondence of J Curtin and JB Chifley with state premiers and organisations on policies and measures to promote decentralisation of industries, disposal of government factories and related matters.
F353/1/3 Pts 2-3
Post war reconstruction: secondary industries, 1942–55 (2 parts)
Correspondence of J Curtin and JB Chifley mainly with state premiers about an inquiry by the Tariff Board on the re-establishment of industries after the war, the formation of the Secondary Industries Commission, and decentralisation of secondary industries.
P387/1/1
Post war reconstruction: German scientists and technicians – employment in Australia, 1946–49
Correspondence between JB Chifley, JJ Dedman, HP Breen and state premiers concerning the engagement of German scientists and technicians to work in Australia.
AB387/1/1
Treasury
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, 1901–76
Series: A571
Conference with manufacturers, 1944–45
Correspondence between the Treasury and the Department of Post War Reconstruction regarding a conference (5–6 February 1945) with representatives of the Chambers of Manufactures and Commerce and statements on monetary policy, tariff policy, export trade, capital issues, and the cancellation of war orders.
1944/4395
Post-war management of government factories, 1943–52
Cabinet submissions, correspondence and minutes on the post-war control and operation of government factories, lease of munitions factories, and disposal of assets. The correspondents include GPN Watt, AC Joyce, J Brophy and PW Nette.
1945/877
Cabinet Sub-Committee on Secondary Industries, 1945–50
Correspondence and minutes on the agenda of the Cabinet sub-committee on secondary industries and a Cabinet submission (April 1950) by RG Casey on the termination of the Secondary Industries Commission.
1945/3588
Establishment of a commission for post-war control and operation of government factories, 1945–48
Cabinet submissions, correspondence and minutes on a proposed government holding company or production commission to operate government factories and the decision not to proceed with the Defence (Supply and Development) Bill. The correspondents include JK Jensen, AC Joyce, J Brophy and PW Nette.
1945/3900
Direction of private investment: expansion of secondary industry, 1946–50
Reports of the Division of Industrial Development on various industries and correspondence and minutes on the direction of private investment, an investigation of the expansion of secondary industry, and the dangers of over-investment. The correspondents include JB Chifley, RJ Randall, WC Balmford, HP Breen, HT Armitage and LG Melville.
1946/3926 Pt 2
Secondary Industries Commission: meetings, 1947 (2 parts)
Reports and minutes of meetings of the Secondary Industries Commission.
1947/2733
HP Breen
PERSONAL PAPERS OF HP BREEN, 1912–62

Personal papers, mainly dating from the period when HP Breen was Director of the Division of Industrial Development in the Department of Post War Reconstruction (1945–49), Secretary of the Department of Supply (1949–51) and Secretary of the Department of Defence Production (1951–57).

Series: MP1038/2
Government policy on American capital investment in Australia, 1948–49 Drawer 2/23
German scientists story, 1946–57 Drawer 2/28
Industrial expansion (private) proposed in future, 1947 Drawer 2/36
Division of Industrial Development long-term policy, 1948–52 Drawer 2/41
Plans for transfer of industry and men from the United Kingdom, 1947–50 Drawer 2/45
Iron and steel making in Australia, 1948–57 Drawer 2/47
Proposal for export trading corporation, 1946 Drawer 2/53
Letters during Breen's absence abroad, 1948 Drawer 4/4
Applied science and technical service to industry, 1944–45 Drawer 4/18
Staff lectures: Division of Industrial Development, 1946–49 Drawer 4/29
UNPUBLISHED AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF HP BREEN

The autobiography of Harold Breen, written in about 1962, deals predominantly with the period in which he was Director of the Secondary Industries Division (1945–48) and Director of the Division of Industrial Development (1948–49) within the Department of Post War Reconstruction. In particular, he deals with the work of the Secondary Industries Commission, the scientific and technical missions to Germany and Japan, reparations, his visit to Germany in 1948, discussions in London on the transfer of British industries to Australia, shipbuilding, car manufacture, and the quest for plant and equipment. He also records his impressions of JB Chifley, Essington Lewis, T Playford, J Storey and WS Robinson.

Another copy of the autobiography is held at A6456, R087/213-15.

MP1737/1
JB Chifley
CORRESPONDENCE OF JB CHIFLEY AS PRIME MINISTER, 1945–49
Series: M1455
Correspondence J, 1946–47
Extracts from letters (December 1946 – February 1947) from JTO Loorham in Germany and Belgium to JK Jensen and HP Breen relating to the selection and despatch to Australia of German reparations machinery and industrial designs.
139
Correspondence B, Pt. 3, 1946–48
Includes letters (January–February 1948) from HP Breen to Chifley concerning interest in the transfer of industry from Britain to Australia and the prices of British goods exported to Australia.
242
Sir John Jensen
SUMMARY OF ACTIVITIES OF THE SECONDARY INDUSTRIES COMMISSION AND THE SECONDARY INDUSTRIES DIVISION, 1946

Summaries (3 April 1946 and 16 August 1946) of recent activities of the Secondary Industries Commission and the Secondary Industries Division, including a short historical survey of early activities.

Series: MP730/6
PAPERS OF SIR JOHN JENSEN, 1945–49
Series: MP730/20
Post war reorganisation of departments, 1946
Includes personal and official correspondence, reports and newspaper cuttings on the proposed Production Commission, industrial development work of the Secondary Industries Commission, and the Defence (Supply and Industrial Development) Bill. The correspondents include Jensen, NJO Makin, HC Coombs, BW Hartnell, HP Moss and LJ Hartnett.
1
Post war organisation of the department of Supply and Development, 1947
Includes personal and official correspondence, minutes, notes and newspaper cuttings on meetings of the Secondary Industries Commission, British views on Australian industrial expansion, Geneva trade negotiations, and the Prime Minister's conference on industrial relations (2–3 August 1947). The correspondents include Jensen, JB Chifley, NJO Makin, HC Coombs, HP Breen, JL Knott, WD Scott, HP Moss and WE Dunk.
2
Development of industry in the post-war period, 1948
Includes personal and official correspondence, notes and newspaper cuttings on importing of industrial equipment, the use of munitions factories, German reparations, activities of HP Breen in Britain and Germany, the movement of British industry to Australia, CSIR and defence research, and the appointment of Jensen as Secretary of the Department of Supply and Development. The correspondents include Jensen, JB Chifley, HP Breen, JR Cochrane, AP Rowe and WD Scott.
3

Further reading

Butlin, SJ and Schedvin, CB, War Economy 1942–1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1977.

Fitzpatrick, Brian, 'Secondary industries in the economy', in Hartley C Grattan (ed.), Australia, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1947, pp. 204–12.

Homeyer, Uta von, 'The Employment of Scientific and Technical Enemy Aliens (ESTEA) in Australia: a reparation for World War II', Prometheus, vol. 12, no. 1, 1994, pp. 77–93.

Jones, Evan, 'Post-World War II industry policy: opportunities and constraints', Australian Economic History Review, vol. 42, no. 3, 2002, pp. 312–33.

Jones, Jack, 'Secondary industry', in AF Davies and G Serle (eds), Policies for Progress: essays in Australian politics, Cheshire, Melbourne, 1954, pp. 72–82.

Walker, E Ronald, The Australian Economy in War and Reconstruction, Oxford University Press, New York, 1947.


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