100 years ago: High unemployment in Bundaberg

A report from The Daily Mail in February 1919.

A century ago in February 1919, high unemployment was emerging as a problem in Bundaberg.

With men coming home from the World War, and the economy sliding before the Great Depression, it was recorded that 338 men were out of work.

Many had families and there was little in the way of welfare assistance to sustain them.

The Daily Mail reported on 5 February 1919 that a deputation of unemployed men wanted to meet the Mayor, Alderman Dunn, “to urge that a number should be put on to clean the water hyacinth from the Baldwin Swamp”.

The Council considered the matter and agreed to employ 20 men for breaking stone at three shillings per yard, “preference to be given to the most deserving of the local married men”.

The stone was to be used for making metal roads and the labour helped ease the pressure of unemployment.