Remembering the 1950s: Beyond the White Picket Fence

22 Sep

Not having TV is proving such a blessing that I am not sure I will hurry to do anything about it. Again Australia Talks Back on Radio National has really been stimulating: who in their right mind would prefer the slop on Channels Seven and Nine between 6 and 7pm? Or the slop on commercial radio, if it comes to that. (Of course there is SBS-TV.) Tonight’s broadcast was meant to be last night, except the ABC workers were (probably correctly) on strike. Remembering the 1950s: Beyond the White Picket Fence was worth the wait.

Australia during the 1950s is typically portrayed as conservative, prosperous and a little dreary: But is this an accurate depiction? It was also a time when, post war, Australia faced new challenges and opportunities. So was the 1950s a decade of radical political and social change?

I was sixteen at the end of the 50s, so I recall the time well, and this program does justice to the period.

I also picked up during the day a remaindered copy of I Kept on Dancing: A Life’s Journey from Nazi Germany to the Lucky Country (New Holland 2002) by Olga Geddes, who arrived in Australia in 1957. It so happens that she spent many years in Wollongong, where I lived and worked between 1970 and 1980, and I knew of her at that time, may even have met her. She was very much involved in local dance, drama, and teaching. I certainly knew some of the people she talks about in the book, such as the artist David Humphries, who I notice now lives and works not all that far from Surry Hills. Of course it is more than thirty years since we were colleagues at The Illawarra Grammar School. Find out more about him on his Public Art Squad site. In fact, I just emailed him; wouldn’t mind saying hello. We’ll see what happens.


David has replied already!

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Posted by on September 22, 2006 in Aussie interest, Observations, OzLit, Reading, Surry Hills



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