AUSTRALIA IN THE 1950’s
1950’s in Context
After decades of suffering through the Great Depression and World War 2, the 1950s were prosperous years for Australians. Employment was high and people were encouraged to spend their money more freely.
Technology advanced rapidly after the war, transforming the lives of many Australians. Televisions provided a link to the rest of the world and cars gave people a new mobility that would change the nation’s patterns of leisure and living.
In 1956, Melbourne hosted the Olympic Games for the first time in the Southern hemisphere. This fostered a great sense of national pride and casted international spotlight onto Australia like never before. Advances in technology also allowed the Melbourne Olympics Games to be the first Olympics broadcasted on television.
Women in the 1950s
For women during this decade, life was centred on the family and domestic duties. Women who had held wartime jobs were expected to abandon their career to provide employment for men returning from war. Women were encouraged to stay at home, raise children and care for their husbands. New home appliances were developed to assist their housekeeping duties.
Some women, however, challenged traditional values and remained in the paid workforce. They were usually paid less than the men performing the same work, and were often employed in low-status positions.
Australia’s ties to Britain in the 1950s
Thousands of people queued to see Queen Elizabeth II when she visited Australia in 1954. Many Australians sill considered Britain to be their homeland and were loyal to the British culture and values.
Australia’s cultural ties to Britain, however, were challenged by the influence of American culture through cinema, radio and television. Technological innovations broke down geographical barriers and allowed new and exciting forms of popular culture e.g. rock ‘n’ roll to penetrate Australian life.
Migrants from Britain or European countries...