The ‘Born in’ series of books, because that is what they are, has on the back page of each edition the line, ‘Most people know nothing about their year of birth’, which is sadly, terribly true. It is not until reflection you realise that much more did happen in that year other than simply your birth, as joyous as that may have been.
For instance, if you were born in 1946, which just happens to be book number 8 in the series of 28, it was considered to be a year of hope after the long, horrific events of World War II. The Germans had been defeated, the Japanese had surrendered and the world was beginning to emerge to a brighter future. Society’s rules and strictures were changing rapidly. Penicillin, the new wonder drug, was being used to treat more than war wounds and the transport system was in chaos, nationwide.
Army Disposal stores were becoming commonplace, as tones of surplus goods were dumped on the marketplace. January 3, 1946 saw Lord Haw Haw (William Joyce) executed at Wandsworth Prison for Treason.
Tea was rationed to half a pound per person per week and Coal Miners were causing great problems for industry by going on strike for better conditions and paid sick leave. The year drew to a close with the worry that Ray Lindwall, Australia’s Fast Bowler had played the first test with chicken-pox and would not be able to play in the second Test, while Don Bradman scored 187 and Lindsay Hassett scored a mere 128.
Wool was selling at 71 pence a pound at the Sydney auctions.
1956 heralded in a new era once again with the Queens New Year’s Honours List including 13 Australians and doubts about whether the new Olympic Stand would be ready for the Games in November as the unions required more n money to ensure overtime could be paid.
In June the Synod of the Church of England heard a plea from a representative of the parish in Scone for the ‘church to bring single women from overseas to marry lonely migrants’, as Scone had 350 men who were the loneliest in the world’.
Australia was feeling the post war pinch and had arranged a bank loan for 50 million dollars from the US-based International Bank. The Sydney Olympic Games opened on November 22nd and television came to Australia in November.
1966 happens to be number 28 in the series which span the years 1939 to 1968 all of which look back at the social history of Australia, all of which reflect a society that was finding its way; a fledging society was emerging from one based on the old British ways. With change came all the conflict and challenge that goes with both the good and the bad of an ever changing society.
The Vietnam War was beginning to have a strong influence on Australia. Conscription was introduced and 20 year olds, via a birthday lottery, were trained and sent to fight in Vietnam. This continued until Australia withdrew in 1972.
Joseph Utzon, architect and designer of the Sydney Opera House quit due to rising costs, resulting in a protest march of 4,000 strong in protest of his resignation. Utzon was later reappointed.
Jack Brabham won the British Grand Prix and Australia’s first Shipping Container Port opened in Sydney, The population of Australia reached 2.5 million people and in Darwin, Max Daniels, an apprentice carpenter, became the first indigenous man to be awarded the prestigious Churchill Scholarship.
The Beatles were number 2 on the ‘Top of the Pops’ beaten only by Nancy Sinatra with ‘Boots are for Walking’.
To quote the legendary Folk group, ‘Peter, Paul and Mary’, although not Australians, ‘the times they are a changin’, and they were! Yet again!
Each of the books in the series are set out in a easy to read manner, great for dipping into and quick fact finding.
The contents have been gleaned by hour upon hour of research thorough countless newspapers, archival records and anecdotal evidence, collated into a wonderful collection of Australian and in reflection, world history in a very easily digestible format.
As a quick reference guide to what changed societies rules, the items that made the news, the events which have laid the groundwork for much of today’s world events, presented with humour where required and gravity when necessary, the books are both a nostalgic look back over the years and a must have, as a timeless tribute to those who have gone before, pushing the boundaries to create along the way, the country we now call Australia!