It wasn't long after the federation of Australia that this new nation would have the most formative experience in its entire history. In 1914 at the outbreak of world war one Australia couldn't have possibly for seen what this would do for their country and how much it would change their national identity forever.
It was only in 1901 that Australia had federated, a new nation, a new economy, a new political system governing the entire country. Australia at this time were still very loyal to their mother country (Britain) although they had their own country to deal with now. It was Britain's side of the world that was involved in this war and it wasn't long before the almighty empire tried to intervene and of course the inevitable occurred and they got up to their necks involved in the Great War. Australians had incredible connections of loyalty and patriotism when it came to Britain and it was at this time that the William Hughes said "Australia is part of the empire to the full, when the empire is at war so is Australia at war.” And this was the beginning of Australia's involvement in WWI.
The number of young men enlisting was phenomenal and there were just as many reasons a quest for man hood, money in the pocket, loyalty to the queen and some purely out of boredom. But it was these men that were to shape the Australian identity for years to come.
War isn't a cheap process. The soldiers needed weapons and uniforms not to mention food supplies as well as other basic commodities. This gave Australia's industry a tremendous boost initially but it wasn't enough so as well as backing the mother country they were also borrowing from the mother country which would come back to hurt them as debt after the war.
As the war continued stories returned home of soldiers abroad and the conditions they had to survive under. The rate of men enlisting dropped and this worried Prime Minister Hughes as he didn't want the world to see Australia as weak and scared.