Romsey Australia

Melbourne Australia
Flinders Street Railway Station circa 1927 Melbourne Australia

"Another thing that strikes me in Melbourne is this,—that I have not seen a beggar in the place. There is work for everybody who will work; so there is no excuse for begging."  Samuel.Smiles 1869 

Life in Australia during the past 100 years.

" The class of inhabitants that have been born in the Colony affords a remarkable exception to the moral and physical character of their parents: they are generally tall in person and slender in their limbs, of fair complexion and small features.
They are capable of undergoing more fatigue and are less exhausted by labour than native Europeans; they are active in their habits, but remarkably awkward in their movements.
In their tempers they are quick and irascible but not vindictive; and I only repeat the testimony of persons who have had many opportunities of observing them, that they inherit neither the vices nor the feelings of their parents. "  1822
Report of Commissioner Bigge.  1822  About the steadily increasing numbers of Australian-born.

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The Australian breakfast rush   circa 1890
The first meal of the day.
With the great bulk of our population sufficient heed is never given it, and yet it is of infinite consequence.
By far the greater number of people dawdle in bed till the last possible moment, when all at once they jump into their bath--that is, if they take a bath--swallow a hasty breakfast, and make a frantic rush for their steamer, train, or tram, in order to begin their daily work.

How very much better than all this bustle, hurry, and scuttle an hour's earlier rising would be!
It would afford ample time for the bath, which should be a bath in the truest sense of the term.
It would, above all, give a proper opportunity for a leisurely breakfast, which is in every respect the most important meal of the day; and lastly, it would save that wild dash at the last, which is so fatal to proper digestion and well-being.
Source: The Art of Living in Australia  1893 by Philip E. Muskett (?-1909)

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Recommendation for physical exercise circa 1890
It is a fortunate thing, then, that most people have to earn their own living, for the exertion thereby entailed is actually necessary for health.
Yet, while this is the case with those who live by their bodily labour, it hardly applies to those who are more dependent upon mental work.
For instance, the latter include literary men and journalists, the members of the professions, and those of the vast commercial world--all, indeed, who have brain strain and clerical occupations.

In their case the great fault is that they use their heads too much and their limbs too little. For them walking is one of the very best means of obtaining health, and it should be regularly and systematically practised.

It has been said that no man under sixty, unless he be kept walking while at his work, should walk less than six or eight miles a day, if he wishes to keep well and have healthy children. In the cooler weather in Australia these are certainly suitable distances, but in the hot months half these amounts will be found sufficient, and they had better be carried out in the cool of the evening. Then again, for those over sixty it has been well observed that a daily walk is still the best means of promoting health. But the walk must always be proportionate to the strength, and should be done at nothing more than a moderate pace, if a man wishes to take care of his blood vessels.
Source: The Art of Living in Australia  1893 by Philip E. Muskett (?-1909)

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The indifference to domestic life   circa 1890
Every one who has the welfare of Australia and of Australians at heart must feel some concern at that growing indifference to domestic life which is so much the characteristic of our girls.
Once a girl has left school, she seems to think that the household is no longer any place for her; she consequently ceases to take any interest whatever in the many matters which constitute the management of a home: her one aim is to get into "business," as it is called.
It appears to be immaterial whether she is to be a dressmaker, or milliner, or saleswoman, or employee in a large establishment, as long as she gets away from home.

Now, all this is greatly to be deplored, and has a disastrous influence over the whole of Australian family life, because it must happen that many of these girls eventually marry, and commence their new existence under the most unfavourable conditions.
In the first place, they are totally ignorant of everything connected with household management, and what is far worse, they have almost a contempt for it.
What the result is, in too many cases, I have already dwelt upon,-- either the husband and the family suffer from the effects of bad Cookery, and unhappiness and ill-health follow, or else the bread-winner flies to alcohol in order to forget his troubles.

It must not be imagined however, that this condition of affairs is altogether beyond remedy, and that our Australian girls are hopeless in this respect.
No, on the contrary, those of whom I have just spoken are as attractive and fascinating--as Australian girls always are; but it is a thousand pities that they do not possess a greater appreciation of the importance of home life.
Source: The Art of Living in Australia  1893 by Philip E. Muskett (?-1909)

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Disorder and Drunkenness in the Northern Territory  1870 - 2008

" what a pity drunkenness and Godliness are so mixed up among us.... " Source: Northern Territory Times and Gazette, 25 June 1881.
" What with the way members of the local oligarchy continue to flout both law and bylaw, comprising some of their own making, including riding bicycles on footpaths, taking dogs on the wharf,..... discharging firearms etc, they will soon have to be searched for opium.. "
Source: Northern Territory Times and Gazette, 8 October 1914.
Reference to the Administrator’s Annual Reports suggests that there were about 100 people apprehended for drunkenness during 1918.
It is estimated therefore, that Aboriginal people comprised less than ten per cent of those apprehended for drunkenness in the early years of the twentieth century.
Very few Chinese people were apprehended for drunkenness.
Drinking to excess was therefore singularly a problem confined to Europeans.
Source:* A disorderly frontier:.
In today’s Northern Territory, drunkenness, social disorder and the prevalence of illicit drugs such as cannabis all make headlines.

There are calls from the public, commentators and the media for the police to ‘do something about the problems’ as if these offences have only recently become widespread.

The reality is different.
Ever since Europeans permanently settled the Northern Territory in 1870, drunkenness, social disorder and drug offences have all posed problems for law enforcement officers.

Source:* A disorderly frontier: An analysis of drunkenness, disorder and drug offences in the Northern Territory 1870 - 1926 Bill Wilson Northern Territory University, NT
Paper presented at the History of Crime, Policing and Punishment Conference convened by the Australian Institute of Criminology in conjunction with Charles Sturt University Canberra, 9-10 December 1999

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Health  1870 - 2000
After 1900 the public health concern for infant welfare expanded to preschool and school aged children. School Medical Services were operating in all States by 1920.
Education was given about personal hygiene, cleanliness, physical education and fresh air, good food and healthy thoughts.
School doctors and nurses inspected children for spinal curvature, visual defects, dental caries and other abnormalities.
Science and domestic economics were taught to girls to enable them to be good mothers.

At the time of Federation the majority of deaths occurring in Australia were caused by infectious disease. However there was an increase throughout the century in the proportion of deaths due to degenerative disease.

Improvements in life expectancy at older ages were not as great. For example, the life expectancy of Australians over age 50 changed little over that period, improving 1.6 years for men and 4.2 years for women between 1870 and 1970 (Hugo 1986, 21).

However, between 1970-72 and 1998 the improvement was 4.69 years for men and 4.87 years for women. This was largely a result of the reduction in death from ischaemic heart disease.

What this meant was that there has been in Australia an unanticipated greater degree of survival of our elderly population.

Moreover, service providers have been dealt a ‘double whammy’: not only have they been confronted with a situation in which there are an unexpectedly large number of older people surviving, but the survivors may be ‘sicker’ on average than in the past.

The people ‘rescued from death’ by the new developments in medicine etc., who previously would have died, are generally not rescued in full health.

Accordingly, the incidence of illness and disability among the elderly population has increased.

Hence the incidence of disability and hardship among the older population has increased in Australia.
Reference:  1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2001

Healthy life expectancy (HALE) at birth (years), 2002

Definition: Healthy life expectancy (HALE) is based on life expectancy (LEX), but includes an adjustment for time spent in poor health.
This indicator measures the equivalent number of years in full health that a newborn child can expect to live based on the current mortality rates and prevalence distribution of health states in the population.
Healthy life expectancy (HALE) at birth (years)   for Australia
Males  71 Years  Females 74 Years
Source : World Health Organization

The disability adjusted life expectancy

The disability adjusted life expectancy, is the equivalent number of healthy years a person can expect to live from birth.
The total life expectancy for men now is about 75.5 years, the disability adjusted life expectancy is 69 years.
The loss of healthy life as a percent of the total life expectancy is about 9%.
Women live longer, 81 years, and their disability-adjusted life expectancy is also longer, at about 74 years.
But again, the proportion of their total life expectancy is effectively lost due to disability and death is around 9%.

Reference: Mathers C. et al. The Burden of Disease and Injury in Australia. Australian Institute of Health & Welfare 1999.

Dementia New South Wales Australia

" Between 1970 and 2004, life expectancy for men aged 65 in NSW rose from 76.6 years to 83.3 years, and for women from 80.4 to 86.8.
Of course living longer is a good thing.
But after the age of 65, the likelihood of a person having dementia doubles every five years.
Twenty four per cent of people over 85 years have dementia.
Our longer – indeed record – life expectancy coupled with the demographic ageing of the population means that we are now facing a significant increase in the number of people living with dementia. "
Reference. Launch of the Dementia Collaborative Research Centre

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Summary 1900 to 2000
As we begin a new century, certain problems in child and adolescent health are presenting us with a set of challenges similar to those of the social and environmental situations in 1901.
Coincident with the changes in our modern society in family life, in employment and in the economy, and the inequalities in wealth which have occurred particularly over the past four decades, we are observing epidemics of mental health problems such as suicides, risk taking behaviours, depression and eating disorders in our young people.

" One in five teenage school children will have a mental health problem and most will not seek or receive treatment. "

As families break down and reform, we are seeing increases in violence against and abuse of children, which resonates with the abuse of children 100 years ago.
More and more young people are seduced to watch television, sit at computers, eat and drink unhealthily, smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol excessively and drive dangerously, and so we have the adverse effects of these lifestyles to combat as well.

" Also of concern are some unhealthy lifestyle practices common to all Australians..... 52 per cent of the population aged 15 or over have been classified as overweight or obese. "
Excerpt from a speech  24 January 2007   His Excellency Major General Michael Jeffery AC CVO MC Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia

Issues in relation to poverty and child health have not left Australia’s shores in the new century either, in spite of us being one of the most developed countries in the world.
Many Indigenous families with children are living in conditions of real deprivation, not unlike those in the 19th and beginning of the 20th century.
We are faced with more children of all kinds living in relative poverty, with observable disparities in health status between the 'haves' and the 'have-nots'. This is a common problem in wealthier countries all over the world.

Today's social and environmental influences, as with those 100 years ago, are far more powerful in child health and disease than are the drugs or medical care facilities we have at our disposal to treat them.
Are we going to respond to change our social, emotional and economic environments to improve child health as effectively as did our forebears in the years after Federation?

There are changes starting to happen generally in society as a reaction to the excesses of this era, such as the desire of the people to protect the environment, to be better parents and value families, to work less for our own income and more for the community.
Will these start to improve child health the way that decreases in poverty, better food and access to fresh water and sewage disposal affected malnutrition and infectious disease in the 1900s?
We must all work to make it happen. Reference: Professor F. J. Stanley  Scientific Director of the TVW Telethon Institute for Child Health Research

Food Poisoning in Australia  2008
Estimated number of cases of food poisoning 5.4 million every year.
Estimated number of new cases of food poisoning 11,500 every day.
120 People die due to food poisoning each year in Australia.

Around sixty to eighty per cent of foodborne illness arises from the food service industry.
Fast food restaurants and salad bars, rare 50 years ago, are today a primary source of food consumption for many Australians.

It is estimated that the number of food service outlets in Australia, has grown 57 per cent with Australians spending 30 per cent of their food budget on take away food and dining out .
Food Standards Australia New Zealand Incidence of Food Borne Illness  2008

"I still find it amazing that something as basic and natural as eating can be such a threat to our health and well-being.
Despite our food history and the efforts of food regulators, we have to be forever vigilant in the fight against food poisoning,"
Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Aged Care, Senator Grant Tambling 2000
Read about the Worldwide increases in Food Poisoning

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Call Centre circa 1904

Call Centre circa 2001

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Consumer Living Standard  1900 - 2000
This article takes a brief look at how the relative prices of many of today's common items have changed since Federation. To assist in making comparisons, 1901 prices have been multiplied by a factor of 50 to take account of general inflation. The purchasing power of one pound (or $2.00) in 1901 is equivalent to about $100 in 2001. The 1901 prices in this article (which were originally measured in pounds, shillings and pence) have been converted to decimal amounts. Likewise, imperial measurements of quantity have been converted to their metric equivalents.

In 1901, the average weekly wage for an adult male was about $4.35 for a working week of almost 50 hours, which after inflation equates to $217.50. However, wages have grown much faster than inflation, with the average weekly ordinary time earnings for adult males in May 2000 being about $830.00 for around 37 hours work, in far better conditions.

The price of gold has often been used as a measure of inflation. At Federation, the price of gold was $8.50 an ounce, or $425.00 in today's money. The actual price of gold in 1999- 2000 averaged about $460.00 an ounce, showing that it has generally maintained pace with inflation.

Basket of Items
The basket of items used in 1901 to calculate the equivalent of today's CPI consisted of a number of food items, a few laundry products such as starch, 'blue' (a laundry whitener) and soap, candles for lighting, kerosene for heating and house rents. Although the brands and range of products have changed over time, many of the items commonly used at the turn of century are still everyday items. However, in many cases there will have been changes in quality, presumably for the better.

A look at some common food items shows that some are relatively more expensive today, some are relatively cheaper and some are about the same.
In 1901 a loaf of bread cost about 2 cents (equivalent to $1.00 today), while the actual price today is about $2.30;

Milk was 3 cents a litre ($1.50) compared with $1.40 today;

180 grams of tea cost 6 cents ($3.00) compared with $3.40;

Potatoes were 2 cents ($1.00) a kilogram compared with $1.30;

Eggs were 12 cents a dozen ($6.00) compared with $2.90,

Rump steak was 14 cents a kilogram ($7.00) compared with $12.50.

A man's cotton business shirt cost about 85 cents (or $42.50 today after inflation), while a pair of ladies shoes was about $1.45 ($72.50).

These items could be purchased for comparable prices today.

The average weekly rent for a three bedroom house in 1901 was $1.30 equivalent to about $65.00 today.

The actual value today varies depending on location but the average of 8 capital cities for a three bedroom house is about $250 a week.

In the house, a metal-framed double bed, mattress, a pair of blankets and two pillows cost about $12.10 ($605.00) in 1901.
Today, you could expect to pay upwards of $830.00.

At the time of Federation, most people relied on public transport or walking to get around.
A return train trip, travelling first class, from Sydney to Penrith was 60 cents ($3.00). Today, the same return trip costs $12.80.

In 1901 such a journey was considered to be a day excursion, whereas today people commute regularly between Penrith and Sydney for work.
Bicycles were starting to be seen on the streets, but were a luxury item for most people.

A new bicycle at about $31.00 ($1,550.00) cost the equivalent of more than seven weeks wages, whereas today you can buy a good quality bicycle for about $320.00, less than half a week's wages.  ( the motor car has replaced the bicycle as a luxury item )

Entertainment and leisure.
Although wine was not as popular in 1901 as it is today, people still enjoyed a drink.

A bottle of whisky cost 38 cents, or $19.00 after inflation. Today you would pay about $26.00 for a bottle of popular brand scotch whisky.

For beer drinkers, only full strength beer was available.
A carton of a dozen bottles cost 70 cents in 1901, or $35.00 after inflation, whereas the actual price today is about $28.00.

For recreation, there are far more choices today than there were a hundred years ago. Nevertheless, there are still some common forms of amusement.

A newspaper cost 1 cent in 1901, or 50 cents after inflation, whereas the actual cost of a daily newspaper today is about $1.00.

A new release novel cost about 25 cents ($12.50) compared with an actual price of about $45.00 for a hard cover new release today, although of course paperbacks are often available at cheaper prices.

A concert at the Tivoli cost was 75 cents ($37.50) in 1901, much the same as the cost of a concert today (about $40).

Admission to a game of football in 1901 was 10 cents ($5.00), considerably cheaper than the $21.70 you would pay today.

28.7 Wages and price - 1901 and 2000

1901 prices

1901 prices
after inflation

actual prices

Average weekly wage, adult males

Gold (1oz)
Loaf of bread
Flour (2kg)
Sugar (2kg)
Coffee (150g)
Tea (180g)
Rice (1kg)
Butter (500g)
Potatoes (1kg)
Onions (1kg)
Rump steak (1kg)
Eggs (1 dozen)
Bacon (1kg)
Jam (500g)
Milk (1 litre)
Men’s cotton shirt
Men’s trousers’
Women’s shoes (1 pair)
Rent on 3 bedroom house (1 week)
Double bed, mattress, blankets and pillows
Train trip
Whisky (1 bottle)
Carton of beer (1 dozen 750ml bottles)
Packet of cigarettes
Soap (600g)
Cough medicine (200ml)
Daily newspaper
New release novel
Game of football

Reference:  1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2001

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Water Conservation ( Henry Lawson  1900  )
Help is needed.

..... These Bush people must be helped wholesale- by the Government, by the public, by the people. Every spare penny should be spent on water conservation and irrigation......
To attend to these things is a national work, for the benefit of the whole nation; to neglect them is a national crime - it is suicidal.
Excerpt from Drought-Stricken ( Henry Lawson  published in " The Worker, 1900 " )
Read about the Australian Drought ( Henry Lawson 1900 )

Water Conservation 1887
Threatened failure of the Yan Yean water supply for Melbourne.
The Age newspaper published this statement in 1887,
"  It might be as well, therefore, for householders to consider the desirability of their adopting some tank system for storing rain water during the summer months. "    Source: : The Age  10 January 1887

Water Conservation 2006
Victoria State Government  Water Minister  John Thwaites said ,
" By installing a rainwater tank, householders can help protect our drinking water supplies....."
Source:  Media Release  From the Minister of Water  Victoria,  October 12, 2006

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Water Crisis  1838
Sir George Gipps ( Governor of New South Wales ) in 1838, when the colony of New South Wales was experiencing a severe drought which created a water crisis, had proclaimed November 2nd as a national day of  'fasting and humiliation'.
Fifty seven years later on the 11th September,1895 a day of prayer was again called in similar circumstances.

Water Crisis  2007
We are informed by our Prime Minister ( Mr Howard ) that   "We must all hope and pray there is rain " and   "this is very much in the lap of the gods", to solve our current water crisis.
Source:  Australia's epic drought The situation is grim -  20-04-2007

Melbourne 1835
" The banks of the Yarra were fringed with feathery scrub, and the stream itself, as yet untainted by the sewage of a populous city, glided downward to the sea in its pristine freshness and purity. .... "

Melbourne 1841
" the water supply of the inhabitants had to be carted in casks from the already polluted Yarra river.... "
Source :  "Picturesque Atlas of Australasia" a three-volume geographic encyclopaedia of Australia and New Zealand compiled and published in 1886. Descriptive Sketch of Victoria  

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Early signs of public concern over land degradation. 1865
In 1865 the Argus newspaper published a statement that excessive land clearing leads to timber scarcity, soil erosion and stream damage.
"Over and over again we have urged that steps should be taken to protect our forest lands."   Excerpt from  Argus newspaper 1865

Early signs of public concern over land degradation. 1901-1907
" Though in Australia large areas of virgin forests still remain, the inroads made by timber-getters, by agriculturalists, and by pastoralists-who have destroyed large areas by 'ring-barking'-are considerable; and it is not unlikely that climatological changes are caused hereby. "
Official Year Book of the Commonwealth of Australia, 1901-1907

Public concern over land degradation. 2001
" Although we have (hopefully) learnt from the mistakes made in the past, soil erosion continues to be a serious environmental problem in many regions of the Murray-Darling Basin, and this requires ongoing attention. "
" Caring for the land is the responsibility of the farmers,
  the governments and the whole community."

Source: CSIRO Land and Water, Canberra Technical Report 43/01, November 2001
Water erosion in the Murray-Darling Basin: Learning from the past By Anthony Scott

Land degradation in Australia  2008
" Since European settlement, half of Australia’s forests and three quarters of its rainforests have been cleared, plus over 90% of old growth forests have been logged. "

" Every year 200,000 hectares, or the equivalent of two million ¼ acre suburban household blocks, of Australia’s native forests are logged. " Source:

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" A Song for the Sydney Poor "  by  Henry Lawson.   1890

"Long the rich have been protected
By the walls that can't endure;
By the walls that they erected
To divide them from the poor. "

Source:    A Song for the Sydney Poor " in Henry Lawson Collected Verse, p. 87.

2001  Australia's working poor going without meals
" Australia's working poor were going without meals, heating, holidays and new clothes in order to survive, according to research by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

An unpublished ABS survey conducted last September examined Australia's 800,000 low-paid working households and found 30,000 went without meals due to a shortage of money and 30,000 could not afford to heat their homes.  "
The survey, released by the ACTU in support of its annual Living Wage Case, ... Source: Heather Gallagher, Industrial Correspondent

2001  Is the Government deserting Australia's poor?
Not so according to Government Minister Tony Abbot.
" We can't abolish poverty because poverty, in part, is a function of individual behaviour.
We can't stop people drinking, we can't stop people gambling, we can't stop people having substance problems, we can't stop people from making mistakes that cause them to be less well off than they might otherwise be. " Source: The World Today Archive - Tuesday, 10 July , 2001

2007  The "working poor" in Australia:
There are about 1 million "working poor" in Australia.
They are the people who have some work, but not enough income to sustain a way of life that would be regarded as normal for this society.

Part of the problem is "after-housing poverty" experienced by those who struggle to meet mortgage payments, or rent, and are then left with so little that they live like those below the poverty line. That's the real meaning of "mortgage stress".

According to economic analysts and forecasters IbisWorld, the top 20% of Australian households have an average annual income of $225,000 while the bottom 20% average just $22,000. Excerpt from The Age Newspaper  November 24, 2007

" 2004-05 a surprisingly high 16.1 per cent of the working poor held a university degree, about the same as the 16.3 per cent with a Year 12 education. ... " University of Wollongong Economics Working Paper Series 2008

2008  Is there affordable Food for everyone ?
In one of the richest economies in the world it is difficult to conceive of two million people in Australia not having enough to eat, and deeply sad to think that over a million of them are children.

Australia is not immune and, despite a strong economy, hunger exists in surprising numbers in every state, in urban as well as rural communities, in all age groups, and in nuclear families as well as single parent households.

One million children every day go to school without breakfast or to bed without dinner and 15% of Australians living in poverty are families in which both parents work.

Last year Foodbank distributed 16 million kilograms of donated food, which met only part of the need. Foodbank’s target for 2013 is 50 million kilograms, which we hope will bring us closer to achieving our vision of an Australia without hunger.
Source:  Foodbank Australia 2008

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The Homeless in the 21st century
Snapshots of experience of a homeless person:
" I was sound asleep in an inner city location, outside, in the early morning in my sleeping bag. I felt this huge shadow approach me, but I couldn’t do anything about it. It was a policeman, and I thought he wanted to move me on, but he just asked “Have you seen a man with a knife around here?” Now, that made me want to move on!."
Source: State Homelessness Conference March 2003

September 4th 2008
195,000 people were homeless in 2006, up by about 6,000 people from 2001 - Data from the 2006 Census by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Welfare organisation Mission Australia said the figures were bad news because when population growth was taken into account, the rate of homelessness had remained static.

"The years between 2001 and 2006 were some of the best economic times Australia has experienced and it was still not enough to reduce homeless numbers," Mission Australia's chief executive Toby Hall said.

The number of homeless families increased by 10 per cent to 7,483 in 2006 and included about 10,000 parents and 16,000 children.

Excerpt from :  "

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Reminiscences of Melbourne suburbia circa 1960
Those of us old enough to remember the 1950s and 1960s, or earlier, will be well aware that the structure of family and working life in Australia has changed dramatically over the years.
Most families consisted of a working father, a stay-at-home mother and several children. Divorces and separations were rare.

A neighbourhood included a collection of streets around the family home and a small shopping centre, probably consisting of a milk bar ,
a butcher and greengrocer, where shop owners knew most of their customers by name and the family doctor worked out of a room in his house.
( The Milk bar, was similar to the modern day 7 eleven store, where biscuit were sold loose and packaged in a brown paper bag and children could buy a paper bag full of broken biscuits for 5 cents.
Today you pay at the supermarket $4 or more for packaged biscuits of which half could be broken.)

Children walked or cycled to school or took the bus, only the youngest were accompanied by their mother. There were certainly no “Toorak-tractors” clogging up the roads. After school and on weekends for entertainment children kicked the football or played cricket in the street or neighbourhood park.

The women mixed with other women at the shops or, as they were at home during the day, chatted over the back fence.
Many households did not own a car so the “head of the household”, the father, walked, cycled or took public transport to work.
Those who owned a car had the convenience of the fully personalized customer service offered at the petrol station.
Your windscreen was cleaned, oil, water, battery and tyres were checked whilst you purchased your petrol. Should there be a power outage you need not worry as this was a hand operated pump, with a few pulls of the handle and you had about 30 litres of fuel in the glass dome located on top of the bowser which was then gravity fed to your tank.

Shops and pubs were scattered across the suburbs.
Fresh bread that was baked on the morning of delivery, milk in glass bottles that had real cream floating on top , real cream without thickeners in bottles , soft drinks and ice were still being delivered to some homes in the mid-1960s.

Shopping was done daily, by the stay-at-home mother, at shops within easy walking distance of home.
The first large, off-street shopping centre, The Mall in West Heidelberg, did not open until the early 60s.

Everyone knew everyone else in the street and there would be immediate concern if a neighbour had not been sighted without reason.
Your street formed a caring community that was similar to country communities.

Things changed dramatically in the latter decades of the 20th century. The advent of the affordable motor vehicle immediately expanded the household’s horizon. And women started to enter the workforce.

Suddenly neighbours were no longer needed, the need for social chit-chat was fulfilled at work.
Most homes had at least one, and often two cars.
Shopping became a weekly event and trading hours were extended.
Pubs were allowed to remain open until 10:00 and new pubs sprang up in the suburbs surrounded by massive car parks.

Now, no-one knows their neighbours, virtually every child is driven to school and no-one in any shop anywhere knows your name.
If you talk to the check-out person in the supermarket you get a weird look.

Your doctor is one of a dozen working out of a state of the art medical centre that often includes pathology, dental and other services.

As new technology and social arrangements evolve we have changed the basis of social connection- out with neighbourhood proximity and in with the shared experiences of workmates and those in special interest groups.

As you walk down the street or shopping in the supermarket you are met by an increasing number of retired pensioner surrogate mothers wheeling prams containing an infant which at first sight gives the impression that older people of pensionable age are now having children.

The era has arrived where the retired grandparents leisure time is being spent by looking after their grandchildren whist's both the parents are working, thus the grandparents are yet again repeating their role as parents in their latter stages of their life.

Some would argue that old neighbourhoods have been replaced by stronger, more robust models of social interaction which are based on common interest rather than common geography.

A better world, now or then?
Something to contemplate whilst you're sitting in the traffic and your identity is being continuously monitored by those elusive cameras lurking at every conceivable vantage point.

The bureaucracy is watching us, but who watches our neighbours when their neighbourly help is needed.

Recent studies based in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne have found an association between air pollution levels and mortality and/or hospital admissions
It is estimated that motor vehicle pollution accounted for between 900 and 2,500 cases of cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and bronchitis during the year 2000, and between 900 and 2,000 early deaths (BTRE 2005).
Source:  (EPA Victoria 2000, 2001; Morgan et al. 1998a, 1998b; Petroeschevsky et al. 2001;
Simpson et al. 2005a, 2005b).

Have we really changed that much?

I leave it up to the reader to render their own deduction , as this article is a " food for thought " exercise .

Other Articles
1:  Early Settlers in Victoria Australia.
2:  Drought and Bush Fires in Victoria 1851 Black Thursday.
3:  Chronology of Australian Major Bush fires.
4:  Chronology of Australian Major Droughts.
5:  Archaeological site at Mount William Stone Hatchets.
6:  Megafauna bones found at Lancefield - Giant Kangaroo.
7:  Is there a risk of a volcanic eruption in Australia ?

Life in Australia during the past 100 years.  ( 22 pages )

by Romsey Australia
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia License.


Revised January 2012