Irene McCormack grew up as a fairly typical West Australian girl. She was raised on a farm in Trayning, near New Norcia. At this time most of Australia was absorbed in the goings on of World War II. However, life went on in spite of the senseless, tragic conflict that consumed the lives of so many loved ones, destroyed homes and livelihoods, and scattered families around the globe. Family living in the first half of the decade saw many people face incredible difficulties. After the war began in the pacific, the Australian Government began rationing goods. Some of the goods that were rationed were petrol, clothes, meat, tea and sugar. The amount of meat and food available to Australian was reduced during and after the war. Coming from a working class background, these changes would presumably have affected Irene’s parents – and therefore her own way of living. However, there are no records, which mention just how World War II affected Irene.
Irene was sent to boarding school at Santa Maria College – therefore having a Catholic education. During the 50s churchgoing was common and Irene regularly attended church services.
The 1950s were prosperous years for Australians. Employment was high and people were encouraged to spend their money freely. In 1956, Melbourne hosted the Olympic Games. This fostered a great sense of national pride and cast the international spotlight onto Australia like never before. Throughout the 1950s, a flood of migrants transformed the shape of Australian society. Australia suffered a huge shortage of workers for the nation's reconstruction efforts and the nation embarked on a program to boost its population. In 1950, it was estimated that 170 000 migrants arrived in Australia. By the end of the decade, this figure would reach one million. Not all people, however, were welcome in Australia during the 1950s. Since 1901, the White Australia Policy had prevented non-white people from migrating to Australia -...
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