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
Commission of Inquiry into the internment
- Transcript of evidence, 1944-45 (series A1107)
Commonwealth Investigation Service
- Correspondence files of the Commonwealth Investigation Service, 1916-60 (series A8911)
- Correspondence files, 1941-48 (series A373)
Investigation Branch, Central Office
- Report of Commission of Inquiry into the detention of certain members of the Australia First Movement Group, 1945 (A374, 1)
Security Service, Central Office
- Press cuttings relating to Australia First internees, 1942-44 (A375, NN)
- Correspondence files, W (War) prefix, 1939-49 (series A472)
- Special correspondence files, 1905-51 (series A467)
Australian Security Intelligence Organisation
- Australia First Movement (The Publicist), 1939-42 (A6335, 3)
- Australia First Movement – 'The Publicist', 1940-46 (A6126, 30)
Prime Minister's Department
- Australia First Movement, 1946 (A461, U327/1/4)
- Australia First Movement part 1, 1941-49 (A1608, S39/2/3)
War Cabinet Secretariat
- War Cabinet Minute nos 2067 and 2095 – Australia First Movement, 1942 (A2676, 2067 and 2095)
Department of Defence [III], Central Office (CA 46)
- Australia First Movement, 1942-45 (A5954, 431/10)
Security Service, New South Wales
- General summary of the Australia First Inquiry, 1944 (series C419)
- Transcripts of the Australia First Inquiry, 1944-45 (series C418)
- Correspondence concerning the Australia First Inquiry, 1944-45 (series C421)
The Hon. Sir Thomas Stuart Clyne
- Personal notebooks of His Honour Judge TS Clyne, 1939-62 (series MP688/1)
Records held at the Australian War Memorial
- Official History, 1939–45 War, Series 4 (Civil) Volumes I & II: Records of Paul Hasluck, 1945-69 (series AWM68)