Rationing introduced

December 27, 2017

More then 60 per cent of the energy value of the British diet depended on imported food.

More then 60 per cent of the energy value of the British diet depended on imported food.

To safeguard this, the British Government had introduced maximum pricing for food during the first weeks of the war.

By 1916, it had begun compulsory purchases of foodstuffs.

With pressure from shipping losses and price increases, the government at first relied on voluntary rationing and enhortation.

Despite the King’s support and every publicity device, it was unsuccessful.

This week, in 1917, Britain’s Food Controller, Lord Rhondda, announced the introduction of compulsory rationing initially covering sugar, butter and margarine.

It would grow to include bacon and ham and then all meat, lard and finally tea.

After rationing’s introduction, attention was focused on assuring maintenance of the population’s bread supply in order to provide dietary filling.

This was a critical issue for all nations during the Great War as the Czarist Government learnt to its cost.

The government also established 336 National Kitchens.

Community centres run for profit that provided a good meal for a modest charge, they were discouraged from anything that suggested a soup kitchen.

Fifty-thousand people a day were fed at one in Hammersmith.

Food exporters like Australia, Canada and the United States did not introduce rationing during the war, but all encouraged frugality and self-sufficiency.

In 1915, Australia also introduced price fixing on essential foodstuffs, such as wheat.

This week, the American Federal Government took control of all US railways and their operation for the war’s duration.

The intention was that this would increase efficiency of transport for food, matériel and soldiers.

In World War II, Canada and Australia would introduce a price fixing regime and a coupon-based rationing system for most food and textiles.

These would be similar to the British price and rationing systems of the Great War.

This week four British destroyers steaming close to the Dutch coast hit a minefield.

Three were destroyed and 250 men died.

Meanwhile, this week, Beechworth became the latest railway station in the area to get a platform barrier.

Benalla and Wangaratta already had theirs.

Until platform barriers arrived, the three railway stations had been favourite places to promenade.

Promenaders and their dogs obstructed both passengers trying to board trains and railway officials going about their duty.

The Crown Law Department announced this week that the Supreme Court would no longer sit in Benalla.

It would continue to sit in Wangaratta.

Twenty-five-year-old Robert Hyland from Benalla was staying in Yarrawonga this week for a fishing Christmas on the Murray.

Asleep, he walked through his bedroom’s open window at 4am and fell nearly eight metres before impaling himself on a picket fence.

Dazed, he tore himself free, but died three days later from peritonitis.

He is buried in Benalla cemetery.

— John Barry, ANZAC Commemorative Working Party, Coo-ee — Honouring our WWI Heroes

More in Benalla Ensign News
Login Sign Up

Dummy text