Joseph Lyons's new year address during the Great Depression

Excerpt from ABC radio broadcast

Title: Joseph Lyons's new year address during the Great Depression
Subtitle: Excerpt from ABC radio broadcast
Date: 12 December 1934
Content creator: Prime Minister Joseph Lyons
Keywords: economic depression, radio broadcasting, public radio
Record creator: Australian Broadcasting Commission, Head Office – Radio Archives
Reference: C102, 1552431

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Joseph Lyons: Good evening, listeners. The wheel of time has turned another cycle. We turn our backs on a year that has passed and we face the year that is to come.

For the old year most of us I suppose will have our regrets. Regrets and unavoidable happenings, regrets at things which we, had we known better, might have avoided. We have made our mistakes. Every one of us, else we would not be human. But I trust that in the balance of things it will be found that the good we have done – or striven to do – has outweighed the errors. In any case we should cast regrets aside, for they help us little and may do us great harm.

For many, I know only too well, 1934 has been a year of trial. To many it has brought suffering; to these, words can be of small comfort, but I cannot refrain from expressing my unbounded admiration for the manner in which thousands of our people have borne their sufferings with fortitude, have faced life and its problems so courageously. The world these days seems to be out of joint in many respects and the economic crisis through which we have been passing has left its mark.

But I believe that the Australian people by their determination to face facts, by their refusal to take the easy road, by their sacrifices have won to a position which is the envy of the world.

To them, to you who are listening tonight, we owe our thanks. The road to economic recovery is painful but I have not a doubt that the road the Australian people have taken is the correct one and that its goal will be worth the effort of attaining it.

We have done much but every day new problems face us and the coming year will bring new anxieties, new tangles of the threads of economic life which have to be unravelled. It will bring problems which will tax all the ingenuity and patience of Australia’s leaders. And to the people I say, have faith in your leaders and by your confidence in them inspire them to do great things for your country. With the people behind them they can achieve much. Let the people then show to the world that Australia, as a nation, faces unitedly the issues ahead.

I trust that God will shower upon the people individually all his choicest blessings and that true happiness will be the lot of each.

For those who have known sorrow in the past year I pray that there will be better times ahead. For those who have been more fortunate I pray that there will be a continuance of good fortune. And I would conclude with the words of Robert Louis Stevenson ‘To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive and the true success is to labour’.

Good night and a happy new year to you all.


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