My Memories of Australia in the 1960s

I think back to what Sydney was like in the 1960s. Oh, so much has changed since then. On a Sunday you would see hardly any people in the city, Outside cafes? Not in your dreams.

I cannot recall that I noticed then a lot of homeless people. When our daughter became sick with the polio virus, she received in Sydney the best of medical care paid for by the Hospital Fund. We were recent migrants. My husband was on very low wages, but we had no money problems, none whatsoever!

Our diet in the 1960s included of course fish and chips and meat pies, also topside steak (which was very affordable) and minced meat and occasionally a leg of lamb roasted in the oven. I never liked to eat chicken, but I cooked it for the family. Of course we could always afford to buy fresh vegetables and fruit. We thought Australia was the best country for our young family. We had three children within three years, and I was able to stay home with them! We were also able to save up for our own block of land to build our own house on with a loan from a Building Society. So we were able to get by on my husband’s low wages. We were never without some kind of accommodation or basic food. We did not spend a lot on clothes. How about that? Unheard of today!!

We never borrowed any money. Our only debt was for a second hand car and later for a very low priced house.

15 thoughts on “My Memories of Australia in the 1960s

  1. Yes, that’s how it was. There used to be a cinema close to Circular quay, I think it was the Roma who used to serve ‘real’ coffee during the interval. It was so nice and often foreign movies were shown as well.
    My parents also never borrowed money except when we had our house built. This flowed on to most of the children. We never use credit and our only ever borrowing was for a house. However, the grandchildren do not have this sense of frugality. Of course, our Government encourages people to borrow and spend what they don’t have. The economy depends on spend, spend and borrow.
    Yet, those that have saved are now getting less pension or even none at all. So much for saving and living carefully.!
    I can’t say that those earlier times were good for the mentally ill. My brother Frank had a terrible time despite Royal Commission after Royal Commission. Looking at the treatment of juveniles today, it seems not much has changed since.
    Good post, Uta.

    1. Thank you, Gerard. I am sorry, that your brother Frank had such a hard time in Australia. How terrible for the family, especially your parents!
      Your last post inspired me to think a bit more about what it was like in the 1960s. I guess overall we were pretty lucky, even though this polio sickness did bring along some difficult times. But at least we did not have to struggle financially. It was good for us to see that our daughter, even though she ended up in a wheelchair and with breezing difficulties, was able to cope with a lot of things amazingly well and was able to find enjoyment in her life and always showed some love for other people.

      1. Yes, that was true, Uta. And for my family as well. The worries were about Frank and his treatment. We all worked and brought in enough money but this money did not bring the needed care and compassion for the mentally ill and Frank.

    1. Thanks for this comment, Diana. 🙂
      I do not blame drug addicts for their addiction. I blame the big pushers
      And I do not blame people who cannot stay out of debt. I blame the big corporations that make it so easy for people to acquire excessive loans.

  2. Thanks, Freefall, for the link to some marvellous childhood memories.

    We loved the beach straight away after we arrived in Australia. We spent the first year in Australia in Balgownie Hostel near Fairy Meadow Beach. We spent a lot of time at the beach that was withing easy walking distance.

    From the 1980s on we loved to spend some holidays here:

    It was bliss!

  3. Gosh!..It looks like a beautiful place..yes, the beach is a lovely place to holiday with the kids….We used to live at the beach…strangely now..i don’t like to even get wet!..

  4. When younger we used to take our kids to beaches. I prefer shade and staying dry. The sharks are getting to know where to bite the best surfers. It must make a dent in those trying to live of beach goers. I think it is wrong to cull sharks. It is their territory.

    1. Gerard: What about going for a swim between the flags? I always felt safe, when there were life savers around who watched out for sharks. Of course, these days we do not venture to the beach that often any more.

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