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FIFTIES














THE 1940's: Page 0ne | THE 1950's: Page Two | THE 1960's: PageThree | HARD COVERS: Page Four






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In 1950, Dugan and Mears used a hacksaw to break out of gaol, robbed banks, shot people and went back to gaol. The War finished five years ago, so it was time to stop petrol rationing. War criminals were hanging out at Nuremberg. Dancing pumps were tripping the light fantastic at The Plaza. Whaling in Australia was big; square dancing was bigger.

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In 1953, pets in churches were welcomed with open arms. Painless childbirth was popular, especially among women. Be warned - the coronation of Elizabeth will soon be in the news. Edmund Hillary reached the top. Thallium became popular, as a footballer found out. Lots of Pom migrants had done their time, and went back to Mother England.

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In 1956, the first big issue was the Suez crisis, which put our own Bob Menzies on the world stage, but he got no applause. TV was turned on in time for the Melbourne Olympics, Hungary was invaded and the Iron Curtain got a lot thicker. There was much concern about cruelty to sharks, and the horrors of country pubs persisted.

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In 1959, Billy Graham called all of us to God. No exceptions. Perverts are becoming gay. The Kingsgrove Slasher was getting blanket press coverage. Tea, not coffee, was still the housewife's friend. Clergy were betting against the opening of TABs. Errol, a Tasmanian devil, died. So too did Jack Davey, Hi Ho. There are recommended three ways to kill a snake. Aromarama is coming to your cinema. Bill Dobell, a Friday-night Wang1 Wangi drinking mate, made the cover of this book.

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In 1951, the coal miners' funds were declared black. The great mower war disturbed Sunday's peace. General MacArthur was given the boot. Hire purchase was buying vacuum cleaners, motor cars, toasters and fridges. Sunday films and sport were driving clergy frantic. Farmers were hopping mad over a kangaroo glut.

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In 1954, Queen Elizabeth II was sent here victorious, and Petrov was our very own spy - what a thrill. Boys were being sentenced to life. Johnny Ray cried all the way to the bank. Church halls were being used for dirty dancing. Open the pubs after six? Were they ever shut? A-bombs had scaredies scared and the Cold War was really hot.

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In 1957, Britain's Red Dean said Chinese Reds were OK, but we all knew they were the real baddies in the world. America avoided balance-of-payments problems by sending entertainers here. Sydney's Opera House will use lotteries to raise funds. The Russians launched Sputnik and a dog got a free ride. A bodkin crisis shook the nation.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR.

Ron Williams is an octogenarian who has spent the last 19 years researching and then writing 32 books on Australian Social History. Thus there are Year Books, one per year, for the 32 years ranging from 1939 to 1970.

To do this, he used the on-line material from Trove (at ANL) and worked his way through the SMH and other documents day-by-day until he completed a year. Then he picked out the best stories, idea and trivia, and wrote them up into a Year book.

As of now, however, he has given his quill back to the family duck, and his feet are well and truly up. He hopes that readers of his books will find them interesting, a bit informative, but mainly entertaining.






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In 1952, Bob (Menzies) was not your uncle. Women smokers were keeping the home fires burning. Sid Barnes jumped a turnstile and suited himself. US and China were still happily killing each other, and millions of Koreans were collateral damage. Some horses were entering a grey area. Women voted to do jury duty at their convenience.

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In 1955, be careful of the demon drink, get your brand new Salk injections against polio, submit your design for the Sydney Opera house now, prime your gelignite for another Redex Trial, and stop your greyhounds killing cats. Princess Margaret shocked the Church, Huxley shocked the Bishops, and our Sundays are far from shocking.

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In 1958, the Christian brothers bought a pub and raffled it; some clergy thought that Christ would not be pleased. The Queen Mother wasn't given a sun shade; it didn't worry the lined-up school children, they just fainted as normal. School milk was hot news though home deliveries of ice was forgotten. Ron Williams' daughter made the cover of this book also.

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SOME RULES OF WRITING

FIRST RULE. Throughout this book, I rely a lot on reproducing Letters from the newspapers. Whenever I do this, I put the text in a different font, and indent it a little, and make the font somewhat smaller. I do not edit the text at all. That is, I do not correct spelling or grammar, and if the text gets at all garbled, I do not correct it. It is just as it was seen when it was printed.

THIRD RULE. The material for this book, when it comes from newspapers, is reported as it was seen at the time. If the benefit of hindsight over the years changes things, then I might record that in my Comments. The info reported thus reflects matters as they were seen in 1940.
Third Note. Let me also apologise in advance to anyone I might offend. In a work such as this, it is certain some people will think I got some things wrong. I am sure that I did, but please remember, all of this is only my opinion. And really, my opinion does not matter one little bit in the scheme of things. I hope you will say silly old bugger, and shrug your shoulders, and read on.



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