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One hundred years ago Australia was only 14 years out of federation; a very young nation indeed! Let’s reflect on how things were different in 1915.

  • There were no supermarkets: people made butter, soap, clothes, furniture, and bread at home among many other things.

  • Australian soldiers fought for the first time under the Australian flag, as opposed to that of Britain’s in WWI.

  • Women wore corsets with a boned body and fastened by hooks and eyes!

  • Over the past 100 years the Australian population has increased from five million to twenty four million.

  • In 1915 there were 4,289 Australians ‘born at sea’, meaning they were born on a boat coming to Australia.

  • When required to specify what religion they belonged to, a lot of people wrote ‘don’t care’ and many wrote ‘Infidel’.

  • Washing clothes took a lot of hard work. Washing soda (sodium carbonate) and bluing (a dye added to the water) were used instead of detergent.

  • Bathing was done once a week. Without running hot water the weekly scrub-down took quite a while to prepare. One by one the children would hop into the same bath water. The bath was filled by bailing and emptied by ladling!

  • There was no electric light so people went to bed at dusk. Candlelight and kerosene lamps were used when needed. There was gas lighting but few could afford it.

  • Bathrooms and toilets were a rarity. Instead there was a ‘dunny’, which was a can with a seat resting on top of it. The dunny was located in the backyard inside a small shed. The waste was removed by the ‘nightmen’ (so called because the waste collection was at night).

  • Transport was by train, horse and horse-drawn vehicles, and bullocks.

  • By the early 1900’s the steam ship became an established mode of transport. Many shipping lines now travelled by the newly opened Suez Canal. The steamboat reduced the length of the journey to Australia by 35 to 40 days (Sailing ships depended on the weather and could take four months to reach Australia).

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Comments   Post a Comment

Lisa 20th Jun 2019 Activities for Seniors
WOW! Just saw this article. Fascinating...THANK YOU!
Talita 21st Jun 2019
Thanks for your feedback Lisa! There is one for the United States too, perhaps you found it already:
Kymberly 4th Jan 2017 Activities Coordinator
Thank you. This one activity has given me many prompts
Talita 9th Jan 2017
Thanks for your feedback Kymberly.
Maureen 30th Dec 2016 activities officier
We have had the fortune of having celebrated 3 - 100 plus celebrations and have utilized information such as the above along with on this day information from internet. Families and other visitors love to hear about what Mum/Dad are older than or what happened in the year they were born. We have printed it out for them to take and read later.
Talita 1st Jan 2017
Thanks for your feedback Maureen. Yes, on this day websites provide great information too, don't they!
Cherrine 9th Sep 2016 Diversonal Therapist
hi reminiscing is great fun anytime, i put together some sticks red/yellow paper put a flickering torch and made a fire, got a lantern from Kmart that is battery operated and we pretended to go camping inside with marshmallows, melted chocolate/strawberry and hot chocolate and told stories around the fire.
Talita 12th Sep 2016
oh I love this Cherrine. I think someone sent in a picture of a pretend fire a while back but I can't remember on what activity, it looked so good! If you have a chance to send in a pic next time you run this activity that would be great!
Kymberly 26th Feb 2016 Activities Coordinator
Great lead-in for a reminiscing activity. Thanks
Heather 19th Jan 2016 Recreation Activities Officer
Love this. Thanks for sharing.
Emily 14th Jan 2016 Diversional Therapist
Good topic to use in reminiscing activity leading to Australia Day.
Thank you so much.
Laura 8th Jan 2016 Activities Coordinator
We have a lady who will be turning 101 years young in March. This is fabulous information that we can utilize to help celebrate this milestone with her. Many thanks!
Juliet 30th Dec 2015 Lifestyle Therapy Team Leader
Really interesting facts - thanks
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