The Susso – An Australian Poem from the Great Depression

The “susso” was Australian slang for a welfare payment introduced during the Great Depression. Officially known as the Sustenance payment, it was only a fraction of the basic wage at the time and by 1932 more than 60,000 men, women and children were dependent on the “susso” as it became known. Today we know it as Centrelink welfare payments or the “dole”.

The Susso Poem

“We’re on the susso now,
We can’t afford a cow,
We live in a tent,
We pay no rent,
We’re on the susso now.”

The Great Depression affected Australian life deeply and lasted from 1930 to 1939.

Images from The Great Depression in Australia

More reading

  • Working for the Dole: Commonwealth Relief during the Great Depression at NAA.GOV.AU
  • Year Book Australia, 1937 – FINANCIAL CRISES (1929) at ABS.GOV.AU
  • The Depression (and its effect on Australian screen productions) at ASO.GOV.AU
  • What have we learnt? The Great Depression in Australia from the perspective of today [PDF] at TREASURY.GOV.AU

Main Image Source: National Museum Australia


Team Confer
From the writing team at Confer.