Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Release Date
1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2001  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/01/2001   
   Page tools: Print Print Page RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

THE DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE OVER THE CENTURY - A CHRONOLOGY


1901The Departments of Trade and Customs, and External Affairs are among the seven foundation departments of the Australian Federal Government in 1901. The Department of External Affairs is initially responsible for immigration and territories, with external affairs largely conducted by the United Kingdom.
1903-11Trade Commissioners are appointed to Europe and the 'Far East' by Prime Ministers Deakin and Reid and the Victorian Government.
14 Nov 1916The Department of External Affairs is abolished, with functions adopted by the Prime Minister’s Department.
1919Cabinet approves resolution of Commonwealth Board of Trade that "An Australian Trade Commissioner should be immediately appointed in Egypt and anywhere else in the Near or Far East and other places where opportunities for trade appear to offer". Board recommends appointment of trade commissioners to the East Indies, Mesopotamia, China, Japan, India, South Africa, South America and Siberia.
1921Department of External Affairs is re-established. Its main responsibility is to handle matters associated with Australia’s membership of the League of Nations.
1 Oct 1924R.G. Casey is established in London as Liaison Officer. He has unrestricted access to classified Foreign Office and Cabinet information and communicates with the External Affairs Branch within the Prime Minister's Department as well as maintaining direct communication with Prime Minister Bruce.
1925Australia signs a trade agreement with Canada.
Mar 1926The term of A.E. Hyland as Director of Trade Publicity in the United Kingdom (1926-39) sees a new professional approach to publicity and a marked increase in sales of Australian produce in the United Kingdom. Government funds for this activity are supplemented by the exporting industries themselves.
1930L.R. Macgregor takes over as ‘Trade Commissioner’ in Canada - he also performs some diplomatic and consular functions.
1933-34The Trade Commissioner Act creates an overseas service and regulates its operation. Trade Commissioners appointed to Shanghai, Tokyo and Batavia.
19 Nov 1935W.R. Hodgson becomes the first Secretary of the fully separated Department of External Affairs, which becomes a separate foreign office and - -from 1939 - administers an overseas diplomatic service.
1939Department of Information is established in Acton, Australian Capital Territory, the first institutionalised effort to promote Australia internationally.
1939At the outbreak of WWII the Department has 29 permanent staff. Overseas representation comprises an officer attached to the British Embassy in Washington and another who liaises with the Foreign Office in London.
1 Feb 1940The first Legation opens in Washington DC under R.G. Casey. Raised to an Embassy on 19 July 1946.
28 Mar 1940 The first High Commission is established at Ottawa under Sir William Glasgow.
19 Nov 1940Legation at Tokyo opens under Sir John Latham. (Closed on 8 December 1941 and reopened with a Political Advisor (B.C. Ballard) on 4 November 1945. Raised to a Mission on 1 April 1947 and to an Embassy on 28 April 1952.)
1 Sep 1941An Official Representative (V.G. Bowden) established at Singapore. Post evacuated on 14 February 1942, reopened as a Commission on 2 December 1945.
10 Dec 1941A post is established at Dili under D. Ross. Evacuated in June 1942 and reopens as a Consulate on 1 Jan 1946 (C. Eaton). Closed 31 August 1971. Reopens in June 1999.
1943Diplomatic Cadet Scheme commences. First intake includes three women and nine men.
2 Jan 1943Legation at Moscow opens under J. Slater. Raised to Embassy on 16 February 1948.
15 Dec 1943High Commission at Wellington opens under T.G. D’Alton.
23 Mar 1944High Commission at New Delhi opens under Sir Ivan Mackay.
1945At the end of WWII the Department of External Affairs has grown to 106 permanent staff, of which 39 are diplomats serving overseas. The immediate post-war years bring a rapid expansion of posts, with nearly 30 new diplomatic missions opened between 1945 and 1950.
1946-47Trade Commissions established at Paris, Bombay, London, Ottawa, Washington, Vancouver, Santiago, Johannesburg, Canton, San Francisco and Hong Kong.
Jan 1950Australia expands its aid projects overseas under the Colombo Plan.
1951By May 1951, the Department of External Affairs has 7 Embassies, 7 High Commissions, 5 Legations, 4 Consulates-General, one Commission, 2 Consulates, and 4 Missions. There are 80 diplomatic staff overseas and 62 in Canberra. In addition there are 35 non-diplomatic staff overseas (plus 298 locally engaged staff) and 227 officers in Australia. There are 6 female diplomatic officers in Canberra and 6 overseas.
1963First External Affairs trainee of non-English speaking background is recruited. The Trade Commissioner Trainee Scheme commences.
1964The Department of External Affairs establishes separate Consular and Administration streams.
1966By January 1966, the Department of External Affairs has 48 missions abroad, including 25 Embassies and 11 High Commissions. It employs 1,558 officers, 602 of whom were in Australia, 316 were overseas and 640 were 'exempt' staff (locally employed and casuals).
1970The Department changes its name from the Department of External Affairs to the Department of Foreign Affairs.
1971The first woman to be appointed Head of Mission, Dame Annabelle Rankin, is appointed High Commissioner to New Zealand.

1974 - The first female career diplomat to be appointed Head of Mission, Ruth Dobson, is appointed Ambassador to Denmark.

1977 - Ros McGovern becomes the first woman in the Department of Foreign Affairs to enter the Senior Executive Service.
1 Nov 1972The Department of Foreign Affairs takes over responsibility for relations with the United Kingdom from the Prime Minister's Department.
1973The Australian Development Assistance Agency (ADAA) is established. Commences operations on 1 December 1973 and is confirmed as a statutory authority in December 1974.

The ADAA is incorporated into the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1976 and renamed the Australian Development Assistance Bureau (ADAB). Becomes an autonomous bureau within the Department in 1984. Name changes to Australian International Development Assistance Bureau (AIDAB) in 1987 and to AusAID in 1995.
1974The Department of Foreign Affairs is reorganised. The new structure reflects issues rather than just geography.
1975The Department of Foreign Affairs takes over the passport function from the Department of Labor and Immigration.
1983Full-time Ambassador for Disarmament is appointed in Geneva.
1987The Departments of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Promotion Australia are amalgamated as part of broader machinery of government changes. Some 2,300 Foreign Affairs, 350 Trade and 140 Promotion Australia staff are involved in the merger.

The Australian Trade Commission (Austrade), placed initially in the Industry, Technology and Commerce portfolio, moves to the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio in 1991.
1989Ambassador for the Environment appointed.
2000Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade staff number about 1,950; AusAID more than 500. DFAT operates 82 posts around the world.


Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window

Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.