Australia First Movement

The Australia First Movement was a far-right political movement that was active in 1941 and 1942.


The Australia First Movement grew out of strong anti-British sentiment and vigorous Australian nationalism. 

The Australia First Movement existed for five months until its leaders and some members were secretly interned in March 1942. This was due to a suspicion that the movement might provide help to Japanese invaders.

The internment led to a Commonwealth Commission of Inquiry, which sat between 19 June 1944 and 17 May 1945.

Two prominent figures in the movement were writer Percy Stephensen and Sydney businessman William Miles. Between 1936 and 1942 they published 16 volumes of a newsletter titled The Publicist. The newsletter featured prominently in the Commission of Inquiry due to its seemingly pro-Japanese stance at a time when Australians feared a Japanese invasion. 

Records dealing with the Australia First Movement

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Commission of Inquiry into the internment

Commonwealth Investigation Service

Investigation Branch, Central Office

Security Service, Central Office

Attorney-General's Department

Australian Security Intelligence Organisation

Prime Minister's Department

War Cabinet Secretariat

Department of Defence [III], Central Office (CA 46)

Security Service, New South Wales

The Hon. Sir Thomas Stuart Clyne

Records held at the Australian War Memorial