Department of National Development (1950–72)

This article is about the Australian Government Department of National Development that existed between 1950 and 1972. For the later Department of National Development that existed between 1977 and 1979, see Department of National Development (1977–1979).
Department of National Development
Department overview
Formed 16 March 1950[1]
Preceding Department
Dissolved 19 December 1972[1]
Jurisdiction Commonwealth of Australia
Department executives

The Department of National Development was an Australian government department that existed between January 1951 and December 1972.


The Department of National Development was established in March 1950, with Richard Casey, Baron Casey as its Minister. Media reported that the new Department would plan for the supply of basic commodities, promote decentralisation and regional development and plan for the development of primary and manufacturing industries and the stimulation of housing construction.[2]

By 1969, the Department consisted of five divisions: the resources policy division; the northern development division; the Bureau of Mineral Resources; the Forestry and Timber Bureau; and the division of national mapping.[3]

The Department was one of six abolished by the Whitlam Government in December 1972.[4] It functions were split between four new departments, namely the Department of Environment and Conservation, the Department of Minerals and Energy and the Department of Northern Development, as well as two established departments—the Department of Works and the Department of Primary Industry.[1]


Information about the department's functions and/or government funding allocation could be found in the Administrative Arrangements Orders, the annual Portfolio Budget Statements and in the Department's annual reports.

At its creation, the Department was responsible for the following:[1]


The Department was an Commonwealth Public Service department, staffed by officials who were responsible to the Minister for National Development.[1] In order of appointment, the Department's Ministers were: Richard Casey, Bill Spooner, David Fairbairn, Reginald Swartz and Lance Barnard.[1]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 CA 56: Department of National Development [I], Central Office, National Archives of Australia, retrieved 4 December 2013
  2. "National Development: New Department gazette". Kalgoorlie Miner. WA. 21 March 1950. p. 5.
  3. Juddery, Bruce (19 November 1969). "Sitting on a gold mine: Bruce Juddery looks at what could become of the Department of National Development". The Canberra Times. ACT. p. 2.
  4. "Portfolios announced". The Canberra Times. ACT. 19 December 1972. p. 1.
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