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Isolation 1929

First Air Service, 1921

In 1929 Western Australia was a small isolated community and Perth, its capital, was the most isolated city in the world. This sense of physical and psychological isolation was part of the Western Australian identity. While the pro-Federation campaigners of the nineteenth century had proclaimed "A Nation for a Continent and a Continent for a Nation", Western Australians were separated from the rest of Australia by the continent they shared. Interstate travel was costly and inconvenient.

It is difficult to imagine the sense of isolation from information, ideas and places. In 1929 talking pictures had yet to be shown in Western Australia, and television had not been invented. The first local radio station to broadcast was 6WF in 1924, and it wasn't until 1933 that the first Australia-wide radio broadcast took place.

First air-mail service, 1929The opportunities for Western Australians to take part in national pursuits were few and far between. Given what historian Geoffrey Blainey called "the tyranny of distance", sporting and social activities were locally run and organised. While Western Australians followed the exploits of Australia's cricketers under Don Bradman, the State did not have a team in the Sheffield Shield competition in cricket until the 1950s.

In the thirty years since Federation Western Australia had grown and changed, but its geographic and psychological isolation still remained. Little wonder that a sense of distance fostered a distinct identity and, in the difficult years of the Depression, fuelled those secession sentiments which ran deep throughout the State.


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