The roaring twenties in Australia

Topics: Australia, Roaring Twenties, 1920s Pages: 8 (2962 words) Published: August 26, 2004
Whether or not the term 'Roaring Twenties' is an adequate description of the character of Australian society from 1920 to 1929 depends on the circumstances of the Australian population in this decade, because 'Roaring' implies the 1920's were full of dramatic social changes, which may have came about from spontaneous economical or political incidences and new inventions. In the 1920s Australian politics was dominated by the conservative parties and, despite some industrial discontent and hardship, the economy was prosperous and expanding. Australian society was experiencing changes and new developments in many fields. The use of electricity during the twenties became much more common, and it dramatically altered the lives of people living in the cities and towns. With the value of leisure activities having increased since pre-war days, Australians indulged in the radio, pictures, dance halls and sport. Women of the 1920s experienced all new liberties with a dramatic diminish in their sense of modesty compared to pre-war days. The development of transport in the 1920s includes motor cars, which were improved and mass produced, and the importance of public transport. The 1920s saw important developments in Australian agriculture as expansion took place in many different sectors of farming. Despite these factors from which Australians benefited in the 1920s, the term 'Roaring Twenties' may seem superficial as a description of the character of Australian society in this decade because there was continuous industrial conflict. Long and sometimes violent strikes were frequently experienced in the industrial sectors, with over one million working days being lost each year of the decade. The common belief in the late 19th century was that Aborigines were a dying race, so it does not come as a surprise that they did not benefit from the twenties as much as main stream society. These are already two groups of people who were negatively affected by the 1920s, and evidently a contradiction to using the term 'Roaring Twenties' as a description of the character of Australian society. An analysis of Australia's social, political and economic circumstances in the 1920s will reveal if the term 'Roaring Twenties' is an adequate description of the character of Australian society in this decade.

During the 1920s the use of electricity became a great deal more popular among households in Australia, which in itself dramatically altered the lives of people. Gas lights were replaced by electric lights. Appliances such as heaters and electric stoves became common household items with electric power available. Vacuum cleaners, refrigerators and even washing machines were able to be purchased, however only the wealthy could afford them. Advertisers claimed that the new electrical appliances would save labour, however even an electric iron cost half a weeks salary, so women still continued to spend a large proportion of their time in heavy housework. Although home labour-saving electrical devices were expensive, the emergence of electricity as a household resource did have a dramatic effect on leisure activities. One of the most significant aspects of the 1920s was the emergence of radio as a popular form of entertainment. Broadcasting officially started on the 13th of November 1923, and from then on broadcasting boomed. It was quite expensive to license a radio initially because broadcasting stations were not allowed to be financed through advertising. However, in 1924 the federal government removed advertising restrictions, and introduced the license fee. By 1930, 300000 listeners' licences had been issued in Sydney alone. The introduction of electricity as a common resource allowed the radio to become a popular form of entertainment. Australia's standard of living rose, however it would not be accurate to think electricity was the main factor that proves the term 'Roaring Twenties' is an adequate description of the character of Australian...
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