Interview with a Baby Boomer


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A report on aspects of 1950s Australia in the form of an interview. Includes information on fashion, transportation and cinema. Word Document. Made for Year 10 History Class (April 2012).

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Interview with a Baby Boomer

  1. 1. Interview with a Baby Boomer Welcome back to The History Show’s 50s Special. I’m with Anne Smith; a retiree at presentwho lived through the interesting decade of the 1950s. Tonight Ann will be feeding ourminds with an insight of what it was really like living through the decade. We thank you foryour presence, Anne. Modern fashion is evidently different to the fashion back in the 1950s. Can youremember what the popular ‘look’ was back then? What sort of frocks were the men,women and teens of the 1950s wearing? Following trends, especially ones originating from leading fashion houses in Europe, was common. Accessories, gloves, hats and suits were popular amongst the middle classes. I used to wear hats like almost everyone else, but hats were much smaller back then than they are today. The older women admired stars like Marilyn Monroe and tried to follow their sense of style- the older men, as always, wore ‘low-key’ clothing of the middle class. Teenagers dressed under the influence of rock ‘n’ roll, though it wasn’t just the music scene that changed their clothing style. Teenagers admired the television and cinemas stars, and they all wanted to wear what the people in the screens wore- and The one-piece costume was the must- not to mention even have hairstyles similar have women’s swimsuit during the to the famous folks. Denim jeans, leather 1950s. jackets and T-shirts were made popular thanks to movie stars like James Dean and Marlon Brando. Fashion companies finally put the spotlight down on the young people, and clothing that was specified for teenagers started to exist. I remember when teenage girls started to wear full skirts and brightly coloured dresses as a result of the rock ‘n’ roll craze. Synthetic materials in clothing changed fashion for good. They were profoundly publicized for their positive characteristics- some synthetic materials were favoured because they were non-creasing. Some were favoured because they were easy to care for. All in all, the 1950s was rather remarkable- on a fashion note, that is.
  2. 2. Interesting. Now on a different note; singers and bands. Who was in the trendy musicscene, and did bands produce songs that couldn’t get out of the people of 1950’s heads? ‘Rock and roll’ was very popular in Australia back in the day, the music genre having beenpopularised by Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly. Rock and roll was heavily favoured by theyounger generation by the end of the 1950s. I remember when events known as ‘rock and rolldances’ were held in Melbourne, and how pub closing times were extended by the NSWgovernment so more rock and roll bands can play in them. Big stars from America like Frank Sinatra and Little Richard were invited to perform herearound state capitals like Melbourne and Sydney- this was because the US and Australia hadmilitary ties through the Korean War. I recall Johnny Ray coming over here in 1952. America rocked the Australian music scene by a great degree. It wasn’t until Bill Haley andhis Comets released Rock Around the Clock when Australia started recording popular music in 1955. In early 1958, Johnny O’Keefe released The Wild One, and that song was an absolute hit in Australia, the song positioned as Number 1 on the music charts. We all know about blenders, toasters, ovens, vacuums, stoves, and all of the other handy appliances that we would at present own in our kitchens and storerooms. Did the 1950s home possess the same range of home appliances that we have today? You can say that. The 1950s was a time of success in the economy, and more people were getting employed into jobs. Technology Slim Dusty – A highly-popularised was getting more sophisticated, as well. Australian country music star in the 1950s. Servicemen would get married and raise families in their own homes. It was a thrillingtime as people started beautifying their homes with all these new home appliances.Back in the 1950s, owning home appliances gave you success; they’d make you feel modern.People would display their home appliances in their lounge rooms so others can go look atthem and have a high regard towards the owners. The classic kitchen changed since the existence of kettles, electric stoves and toasters.Housewives enjoyed more leisure time for themselves as appliances like washing machinesand vacuum cleaners were helpful in doing all the cleaning for them.
  3. 3. I heard that Australia filmmakingwasn’t such a ‘big shot’ when it came tofilm and television displayed in ourcountry. You’d have hardly been able towatch numerous Aussie films back then.What went wrong? The refrigerator was one of the many new The 1950s was by far the lowest point of exciting additions to the family kitchen.time in Australian filmmaking. Filmproduction in Australia hardly existed during the early years of the decade; we thought ournation would lose our filmmaking practices forever. Most of the films that we ever saw wereeither British or American, giving an easy opportunity for America to shape Australia’spopular culture, which some people disliked significantly. You’d barely hear of any Australian-made films throughout the 1950s. Australian actorswere barely recognized and actors from overseas would be in films made here. I rememberSummer of the Seventeenth Doll having four actors from overseas. The Back of Beyond, LeeRobinson’s King of the Coral Sea, Charles Chauvels Jedda and The Glenrowan Affair are afew of the small number of Australian-made films that I can only simply bring to mind. Television was in the same boat as film back in the day. American shows like I Love Lucyand Perry Mason were hits. Australian-made programmes included visual broadcasts of radioshows. Brian Henderson, a former radio presenter, was very popular in the particulartelevision scene. In Melbourne Tonight was another Australian-made programme and lasted atotal of 12 years. It was a variety programme hosted by Bert Newton and Graham Kennedywho performed Australian humour in front of a national audience. In Melbourne Tonight contributed more parts of Australia’s national identity with triumph. Australia clearly would have commenced the transportation industry at some point to make it this revolutionary at present. How would one person in the 1950s travel from A to B precisely? Chips Rafferty in the commercially successful The Phantom Stockman. One of just a few Aussie-made films in the 1950s.
  4. 4. The motor car was a well-liked mode of transport in the 1950s. Thanks to its creation, we could travel to far-away suburbs whenever we wanted to, and we could go to the sporting fields, shops and beaches with the ownership of a motor car. The FJ Holden, heavily regarded as a true Australian national Families who owned cars weretreasure. The car would take several families to and from as a result known to be prosperous. of its popularity. Another form of transport was the steam train. If you wanted to go somewhere pretty far away, the steam train would be your number 1 choice of transport. The diesel locomotive train was in use since 1950; they would carry much more than the old steam engines and they were also much cleaner and faster. Electric trains operated since some time in the 1920s in Melbourne and Sydney. Throughout Australia’s history, if people wanted to take a holiday to Europe or Britain, the ship would be their major means of transport. Migrants coming to Australia also used to prefer arriving in Australia by ship. It wasn’t until the end of the 1950s when more migrants started choosing the aeroplane as their method of transport to Australia. Flying on a plane as an approach to transport wasn’t very well favoured early in the 1950s. The planes just couldn’t fly high enough. They were terribly noisy. They would give passengers a hell of a bumpy ride to their destination with flight durations of what seemed like twenty hours. Frustrating stops for refuelling were frequent. Later in the 1950s, Qantas gave us the Boeing 707- it carried more passengers and it flew faster. It could also fly at a much higher elevation and could even fly above unstable weather. It was in 1959 when Qantas offered flights to London (via New York), America and London (via India). In 1958, Qantas was the first airline in the whole world to have a round-the-world service on a regular basis. . Well we thank you for your company here tonight and for giving us heaps of fascinating insight into the superb decade of the 1950s, Anne!