These photos are from July 6 1946 issue of Australian magazine PIX. Taken by Ray Olson they are illustrating an article about teenagers entitled “Where is youth heading?” – the sort of article that is still being written now and probably always will be. A year after the end of World War Two the magazine was in a reflective mood about the future of Australia:
We are the fortunate people of the earth. The future is ours. We are strong in the midst of our unharmed land, while great countries of the world still reel from the crash of war, the cruelty, partings and heartbreaks heaped upon their privations.Evan as they erase their heads in first relief from tyranny there is little faith and little hope in the eyes of our fellow-men. For them, wrecked homes, scorched fields, and yet more hunger lead from reeking war into restless peace. For us, war was a black cloud, but never a deluge. It lifts, and there lies before us our Australia with everything at hand for peace and plenty if we have the spirit, the will, the energy to use it. We should indeed be humbly proud, and very grateful. The future is ours. Nothing stands in our way – but ourselves.
Juke Box girls spend heir money in “jive joints” and penny arcades because commercial amusements are the only ones available. It is estimated that there is 50 per cent sex in the attraction of jive, 15 per cent depend on the bright lights, 20 per cent on lock of anything else to do, 15 percent on youthful energy. Social workers say current jive boom will last two years more before petering out.
Sex Delinquency rose to a high level during war years, especially cities and Service leave centres. Since war ended, there has been a sharp drop in numbers of “uncontrollable” girls, though VD statistics show we are faced with an ugly aftermath.
Most of our teen-agers are “right on the ball.”
These youths, don’t take themselves (or their clothes) too seriously. They donned zoot suits for a fancy dress Harbor cruise run by the Sydney Bing and Swing Club recently. Though keen jive and jitterbug addicts, they looked reproachful when asked if they always dressed in this fashion.
Happy teen-agers enjoy themselves at dance gives to keep them off city streets. Picture was taken at King George V Playground in “underprivileged” Rocks area, near Sydney Harbor Bridge. In most crowded areas in Australian cities, there are no decent places or proper opportunities for boys to meet girls.
John McDonnell, supervisor at King George V Playground, drops in for a game of cards with the McCarthy family, who live nearby. There is no real substitute for family life, according to McDonnell.
Photographs courtesy of Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.