When asked who were the best soldiers in the desert by a nazi lacky who expected him to say, the 21 Panzer or some such, Rommel replied the Australians were the best fighters. he added that the New Zealand Maori soldiers were probably the finest in the world but thank god there wasnt many of them. When the shocked lacky said so you would have an army of Australians, Rommel replied no, you could only have a division as it would take the rest of the army to keep them under control. He was aware that the 9th division was all volunteers, big men who were brawlers and thugs at home and liked to use the bayonet, which to the average german was a very frightening situation to be in. They were very unruly, the sort of men you put in prison in peacetime. Most of the 9th not only survived North Africa but also the war.
The only australian military to fight on the mainland of europe in WWII were in the retreat from Greece and Crete. The australians were recalled from North Africa to fight at Finschafen in PNG under the control of Australian commanders. Some volunteers remained to fight in the British air force, most of whom had been there since the outbreak. It was the New Zealanders who remained behind to fight up Italy.
After the first voluteers were sent overseas, the draft was introduced in Australia to the point where a million men were in uniform. The work force was so depleted a division had to be disbanded to add to the civilian workers.
By pure accident, the Australians were then when the Germans were stopped at Tobruk and again when the Japanese were stopped at the Kokoda trail, the first major defeats for both axis powers.