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The 1950's

Australia's Social and Cultural History in the Post War Period

James Fares

on 7 September 2014

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Transcript of The 1950's

Australia's Social and Cultural
History in the Post-War World
The 1950's

The 1950's
The 1950's were a decade of immense change in Australian Society. The Introduction of various technologies affected and altered many aspects of Australian lifestyles.

Changes in the 1950's mainly involved the areas of Entertainment and Popular Culture, Fashion and Youth Culture, Communication and Advertising, Technology and Home appliances and Sport.

Australia was heavily influenced by American throughout the 1950's
Entertainment and Popular Culture
Retroactive 2- Stage 5- Australian History
Technology and Home Appliances
Woman in the 50's with her new kitchen appliances
Melbourne Olympics Poster
Bodgies and Widgies
Some of the Many Space Themed films of the 50's
Some of the Many Rock and Roll Legends of the 50's
From Left to Right- Elvis Presley,Bill Haley and Johhny O'Keefe
Famous Actors in the 1950's
Marlon Brando and James Dean
Films from the 1950's
Marilyn Monroe: Films and Fashion
Bodgies and Widgies would often copy Elvis Presley
Australia was heavily influenced by America
TV Shows from the 50's were AMERICAN
Space Thrillers
Space travel, atomic warfare, the power of modern science and the Cold War world provided the raw material for American cinema that used fantasy to explore the real-life concerns of the decade. Thrillers like ‘The flying Saucer’, ‘the thing from another world’ and ‘Flight to Mars’ changed the way people perceived the future.
Music- Rock n Roll
Rebellious Youth in the Film industry
Another branch of film also began in the 1950’s which saw the start of a rebellious Youth; film stars such as Marlon Brando and James Dean changed the way teenagers would live their lives. These films involved the Films 'The Wild Ones' and 'Rebel without Cause'.
Outline the Changes made
in the 1950's in regards to Entertainment and Popular Culture
The Changes made in the 1950’s era in regards to entertainment and Popular Culture involved a very diverse entertainment industry of sci-fi space thriller motion pictures and a rebellious new music scene which saw the birth of the King of Rock and Roll- Elvis Presley.
Whether it was Bill Haley’s ‘Rock around the clock’ or Elvis Presley’s ‘Greyhound’ one thing was for sure Rock and Roll dominated the 1950’s. The ‘boogie woogie, swing and jitterbug’ were some of the many forms of Dance created in this era. History was made when Australia’s very own rock n roll star ‘Johnny O’ Keefe’- The Wild One launched the first Teenage Music Program called Six O’clock Rock.
The Rock and Roll Legends of the 50's
Australia's very first Teenage Music Channel
Describe the Impact these Changes had on Australian Peoples Lifestyles....
The 1950’s era was a time of change and this is especially evident in the Entertainment and Popular culture industry.
Space Thrillers
Sci-fi thrillers changed the views of Australians on the future. It created concern and fear, this is evident in the film- The Twonky, the story of a television that came to life and had the ability to hypnotise its human victims.
Music Industry
The church and community shared their concern for the felonious behaviour of the young teenagers and warned them not to be listening to the peculiar music of Elvis Presley. The 50’s encouraged a rebellious lifestyle- Bodgies and Widgies were now listening to their favourite Rock n Roll tunes which involved inappropriate and sexually suggestive behaviour. Elvis had a hip swivel and gyrating dance style which was so sexually suggestive to the point that when Elvis Presley was televised they would film him from the waist up.
Film Industry
The main cause for a change in Australian lifestyle was when the ‘Teenager Emerged’- this was seen in Marlon Brando’s film Wild One which saw young male teenagers changing their fashion and began wearing levis, rippled sole shoes, leather jackets and rode their motorbikes also James Deans film ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ which sought to reject the conduct and values of their parents. Girls were heavily influenced by Marilyn Monroe and her films like ‘How to Marry a Millionaire’ and ‘don’t bother to knock’- this saw young girls copying her distinctive fashion. Their clothes, language and attitudes offended the older generation, who saw their rebellion as a sign of juvenile delinquency. They rode motorbikes and dressed in tight black pants and bright shirts.
Photograph from the film 'Twonky'
Elvis heavily influenced teenagers in the 1950's
Marilyn Heavily influenced Young Teenage Girls
Marlon Brando James Dean
Assess the influence of American Culture on Australia’s social and cultural history
Whilst some Australians thought that America’s influence was causing a loss of national identity it was one of the most significant changes to have taken place in Australian society since the end of WWII our towards American, it would rapidly alter the ways we spent our money, entertained ourselves, dressed and socialised.
Americas Influence in the Music Industry
In 1955, American Bill Haley's hit song Rock Around the Clock swept Australia, and the airwaves were soon full of other American acts like Elvis Presley. These American rock n roll legends influenced Australia’s biggest rock n roll star Johnny O’Keefe. America therefore introduced Rock n Roll to Australia which would later become a huge part of the History of the 1950's.
Americas Influence in the Film Industry
Now that the world was interconnected with the increase of television and radio American movies and music were being shared to the rest of the world. Australian teenagers especially were attracted to this new craze in the 50’s. Film in the 1950’s was heavily dominated by America as 74% of the films brought into Australia were American made. These Hollywood movies saw the birth of Stars such as Marlon Brando and James Dean as well as Marilyn Monroe and this resulted in Australian teenagers imitating their fashion. American film-making technology was the most advanced in the world, making it possible for them to produce many more high-quality films at a faster rate than others. Television shows such as I love Lucy, 77 Sunset Drip and Perry Mason were all American made. It is certain that the entertainment industry was heavily influenced by America.
Postage Stamp from the 1950's
'America influenced Australia'
The many other Rock n Roll Singers of the 50's
The Biggest American Stars of the 1950's were soon on the big screens in Australia
Outline the Changes made in the 1950's in regards to Technology and Home Appliances
Describe the Impact these Changes had on Australian Peoples Lifestyles....
Assess the influence of American Culture on Australia’s social and cultural history

Full employment and rising living standards were responsible for the affluence of the 1950’s and with Australia’s rise in population especially after post war migration, advancements in technology and home appliances were made. Modern electrical appliance such as vacuum cleaners, air conditioners, toasters, refrigerators and washing machines became affordable. The Hills Hoist clothes line and the lawnmowers were new features in the backyard.
“Hello and Welcome to Television”- on the 15th of September 1956 Australians were finally able to watch television from the comfort of their own home. Channel 9 was the first channel ever to air on television. The high upper classes were able to have their own television and the working class would usually be watching from store front windows. The black and white screens presented some of the best Television shows of the decade- including 77 Sunset Strip and Perry Mason. By 1959 over half of Sydney owned a TV. The portable radio was also introduced.
Australia’s own car ‘Holden’ began its mass production in the 1950’s and became the first Australian car. The development of this motor industry was part of the government’s ambitious post-war reconstruction plan. Jet Travel was also introduced in the 50’s which was very significant as travel was becoming more and more interesting and efficient.
Home Appliances
Home appliances and technology had a very big change on Australian people’s lifestyle because Hire-purchase schemes allowed people to take products home and pay for them in installments, which meant that most people could afford the new home appliance and technology. Life became so much easier with new appliances to use around the house. Australians in the 1950s had more buying power to purchase the new domestic appliances that were released onto the market; these new appliances reduced the amount of time spent on household chores. These new developments saw the end of the Icemans, woodmans and fisho's.
Another big impact was the television. Television brought the moving picture into people's homes it also transformed the way Australians received information. It increased mass population form of mass communication, taking over from radio and cinema and posing a challenge to print media. Technology brought families from around the world closer together and it has led to both the growth and decline of many different types of transport in Australia.
Owning your own car was a symbol of prosperity and an important way of getting around in the new suburbs and because of the massive mass production; Middle class people could then own a car, which meant that they didn’t have to travel by trains anymore due to cars now being more affordable. New transport also had some negativity like road deaths, overcrowding and aircraft noise. Hours spent in traffic congestion can have a considerable impact of people's quality of life and exhaust emissions can pose a major threat to public health.
Home Appliances and Technology
Owning a Car
Families Gathered to Watch the Television in the 1950's
The First man to ever appear on Televisions in Australia
Australias very own car
Some of the many advertisements for home appliances
An advertisement for a refrigerator
An artists impression of what a 1950's kitchen looked like
A 1950's Westinghouse Television
An 'iceman' from the 1950's
Australia may have come up with some great ideas like the Hill’s Hoist it was definitely America which was a major influence on Australia in the post war period. This is particularly evident in the Technology and Home appliances field.
Most of the appliances that became popular in the fifties were American made and imported into Australia. This includes ovens, mixers, Air Conditioners, fridges, vacuums and fridges. American inventions like Electric stoves, refrigerators, toasters and kettles revolutionised the kitchen, and vacuum cleaners and washing machines shaved hours off time spent cleaning.
America was an influence in other areas such as transport this is seen due to Australia’s very own car ‘Holden’ being just a small branch of the large and highly successful American company known as General Motors.
Not only home appliances and cars were American but Television also was soon brought into Australia in the 1950’s. To a certain extent America’s influence has played a major role in defining the shape of Australia that we know today and contributed to the development of Australian identity.
Dream Kitchen
Holden General Motors American
Done By-
James Fares and Jessica Lahoud
Full transcript