Christmas 1950s style

The 1950s began and Australian troops were overseas once again, in the Middle East, Malaya, Japan and Korea.   Those efforts, however did not have the same impact on the Australian way of life as  WW2 and to a slightly lesser extent, WW1.  Other happenings of the 1950s were the Melbourne Olympics, television arrived and there was a greater awareness of the U.S. culture.

The 1950s is the last decade that digitised newspapers are available at Trove so the articles do fade away toward the end of the decade, however I have supplemented Christmas 1958 and 1959 with another form of media.

Naval personnel were off Korea for Christmas 1950.  Families could send Christmas greetings by telegram.

Lodge telegrams early for Korea. (1950, December 13). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 3. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23020826

Lodge telegrams early for Korea. (1950, December 13). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 3. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23020826

 

The Portland Guardian looked back at the origins of Christmas in 1950.

CHRISTMAS IS WITH US ONCE MORE. (1950, December 21). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: MIDDAY.. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64423565

CHRISTMAS IS WITH US ONCE MORE. (1950, December 21). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: MIDDAY.. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64423565

 

At Brimpaen, Father Christmas paid a visit to the local children.  There were toys, sweets, ice-creams and soft drinks.  Other celebrations were held in the area.

Christmas Toys For Children. (1950, December 22). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72763523

Christmas Toys For Children. (1950, December 22). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72763523

 

The Australian Women’s Weekly was a great source of inspiration when preparing Christmas dinner.

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Christmas Buffet. (1950, December 23). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p. 38. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47806519

Christmas Buffet. (1950, December 23). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 38. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47806519

 

The Weekly also promoted “Buy Australian” in 1951 with some Australian made gift ideas.

AUSTRALIAN-MADE Christmas gifts. (1951, December 5). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p. 38. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47808540

AUSTRALIAN-MADE Christmas gifts. (1951, December 5). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 38. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47808540

 

The charitable Miss Elsie Davis of Horsham ran a penny drive in Fibrace Street to raise money for the patients of the Wimmera Base Hospital.

CHRISTMAS TREAT PENNY DRIVE TODAY. (1951, December 21). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72798806

CHRISTMAS TREAT PENNY DRIVE TODAY. (1951, December 21). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72798806

 

Langlands of Horsham had a range of toys in stock for Christmas 1951.

Advertising. (1951, December 21). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72798775

Advertising. (1951, December 21). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72798775

 

Spending Christmas on the road over Christmas was a costly experience.

CHRISTMAS DINNER WAS A REAL LUXURY. (1952, January 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: MIDDAY. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64430580

CHRISTMAS DINNER WAS A REAL LUXURY. (1952, January 17). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: MIDDAY. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64430580

Christmas Mail For Service Personnel Abroad. (1952, November 14). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article24005182

Christmas Mail For Service Personnel Abroad. (1952, November 14). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article24005182

 

The Horsham Fire Brigade ran a Christmas tree and Santa arrived on the back of a truck.

FATHER CHRISTMAS ON FIRE BRIGADE. (1952, December 23). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72788126

FATHER CHRISTMAS ON FIRE BRIGADE. (1952, December 23). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72788126

 

Horsham shoppers planned ahead for Christmas 1952 and avoided the rush.  Sporting goods were popular gifts and one florist expected to sell 50 dozen bunches of gladioli in the two days leading up to Christmas.  More toys were  mechanised, leading to higher prices.

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SHOPPING RUSH NOT SO BAD THIS YEAR Many Doing Christmas Shopping Earlier. (1952, December 23). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72788030

SHOPPING RUSH NOT SO BAD THIS YEAR Many Doing Christmas Shopping Earlier. (1952, December 23). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72788030

CHRISTMAS DAY APPEAL. (1952, December 23). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72788113

CHRISTMAS DAY APPEAL. (1952, December 23). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 6. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72788113

 

Christmas Day, 1952 was hot in Horsham with a sweltering 97 degrees Fahrenheit (approx.  36 degrees Celsius)

Christmas Day Was 97 Degrees. (1952, December 30). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72788160

Christmas Day Was 97 Degrees. (1952, December 30). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72788160

 

Heywood held Carols by Candlelight on Christmas Eve, 1952 along with the screening of “two suitable moving films”.

CAROLS BY CANDLELIGHT. (1953, January 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 3 Edition: MIDDAY. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64433618

CAROLS BY CANDLELIGHT. (1953, January 5). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 3 Edition: MIDDAY. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64433618

 

Could this have been the beginning of the Christmas Club?  Which bank?

Advertising. (1953, September 25). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72772846

Advertising. (1953, September 25). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72772846

 

For 10/5/6, parents could by the latest model Steelcraft Tricycle for their child or a wigged doll for 50/9.

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Advertising. (1953, November 11). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72774828

Advertising. (1953, November 11). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 6. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72774828

 

The Australian Women’s Weekly has some home-made Christmas gift suggestions for 1953.

CHRISTMAS GIFTS. (1953, November 11). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p. 38. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47114408

CHRISTMAS GIFTS. (1953, November 11). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 38. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47114408

Merry Christmas. (1953, December 2). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p. 41. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article41080182

Merry Christmas. (1953, December 2). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 41. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article41080182

 

Corporal L.V. Eldridge of Horsham wrote a letter from Korea to the “Horsham Times” with Christmas Greetings for Horsham and district residents.

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Soldier Sends Christmas Greetings From Korea. (1953, December 18). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72776493

Soldier Sends Christmas Greetings From Korea. (1953, December 18). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72776493

 

Fibrace Street, Horsham was decorated with bunting and tinsel for Christmas 1953.  The toys were in abundance on the shop shelves and shoppers found they didn’t have to “pay exorbitant prices for fragile junk in the way of toys”  Interesting, plastics were the “big thing of the day”.  Given time and shoppers were bound to find that the fragile junk of the past was nothing compared to what plastic delivered.

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SHOPS READY. (1953, December 18). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72776491

SHOPS READY. (1953, December 18). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72776491

 

The Horsham Apex club decorated a “dinkum” Christmas tree (a Norfolk pine) in the Botanic Garden for their Christmas treat for the children of Horsham.

Apex Has "Dinkum" Christmas Tree. (1954, December 17). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74796148

Apex Has “Dinkum” Christmas Tree. (1954, December 17). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74796148

Advertising. (1954, December 17). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74796169

Advertising. (1954, December 17). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74796169

 

Christmas 1954 was profitable for Horsham traders.

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Christmas Rush Was Profitable. (1954, December 31). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74796586

Christmas Rush Was Profitable. (1954, December 31). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74796586

 

Variations on the Christmas tree were beginning to emerge.  I think we can blame plastic for that.

CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS. (1955, December 14). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p. 57. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article48072072

CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS. (1955, December 14). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 57. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article48072072

 

The 1950s were the height of the baby boom and Melbourne maternity hospitals were expecting a Christmas rush of babies.

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THERE'LL BE SCORES OF CHRISTMAS BABES JOY FOR SOME —AND TEARS. (1955, December 21). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 3. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71787632

THERE’LL BE SCORES OF CHRISTMAS BABES JOY FOR SOME —AND TEARS. (1955, December 21). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 3. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71787632

 

Troops in Japan, Malaya and Korea were given a Christmas treat.

THERE'LL BE SCORES OF CHRISTMAS BABES JOY FOR SOME —AND TEARS. (1955, December 21). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 3. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71787632

THERE’LL BE SCORES OF CHRISTMAS BABES JOY FOR SOME —AND TEARS. (1955, December 21). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 3. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71787632

 

Melbournians almost forgot Christmas 1956 due to the hype of the Olympic games in September that year.

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CHRISTMAS GIFTS. (1956, November 28). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 9. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71768469

CHRISTMAS GIFTS. (1956, November 28). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 9. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71768469

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We're all too busy with the Games FATHER CHRISTMAS IS FORGOTTEN. (1956, November 27). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 9. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71768234

We’re all too busy with the Games FATHER CHRISTMAS IS FORGOTTEN. (1956, November 27). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 9. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71768234

 

Signs of the American culture filtering into the Australian psyche were evident with this Dennis the Menace cartoon from 1956 an example.

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DENNIS THE MENACE. (1956, December 27). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 7. Retrieved December 23, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71773325

 

The 1950s also meant Elvis and the Argus shared a photo of Presley’s Christmas gift giving with his parents and Vegas chorus girls, Dorothy Harmony,

PRESENTS FOR PRESLEY... (1957, January 2). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 2. Retrieved December 23, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71774164

PRESENTS FOR PRESLEY… (1957, January 2). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 2. Retrieved December 23, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71774164

 

Ballarat pensioners were not forgotten over Christmas 1956.

They had a Xmas treat. (1957, January 5). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 7. Retrieved December 23, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71774826

They had a Xmas treat. (1957, January 5). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 7. Retrieved December 23, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71774826

 

The photo in the next article is difficult to see but it is from Penang with “burly” Company Sergent Major J. O’Sullivan, dressed as Santa, entertaining the children of Australian soldiers stationed there.

 

SANTA CLAUS IN MALAYA. (1957, December 24). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), p. 5. Retrieved December 23, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91253618

SANTA CLAUS IN MALAYA. (1957, December 24). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 – 1995), p. 5. Retrieved December 23, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91253618

 

The papers ran out but I was able to find the following from Film Australia about Christmas 1958 from bush to beach.

 

With the arrival of television, Christmas advertisements were able to come to life.


4 responses to “Christmas 1950s style

  • ann odyne

    I’m speechless. what a post.
    How sophisticated those food photo stylists were, overwhelmed by “the glamour of the Olympics”.
    If they had seen any recent Olympics it would have made them faint.
    or recent food. some of those plates look scary. Of course 1956 was the turning point for society here, because Olympic chefs stayed here and changed the way we eat.
    Love the beach photo with the beer in the hot sand. Thanks MR

  • outback7

    Merron I am working on my children’s stories with activities that I will self publish and doing a Children’s Stories Challenge and blogging progress on madonnamm7.wordpress.com I would like to ask permission to use a 1950’s toys black and white advertisement page above Cox Bros. It gives an idea of what toys looked like and money used. The story is called To Be Friends. I will follow your blog on WordPress. I look forward to your reply.

    Regards Madonna

    • Merron Riddiford

      Hi Madonna, I’m sorry I’ve taken so long to reply. These newspapers held at Trove are out of copyright, but if you are publishing on your blog, you just need to cite the Trove reference. Thank you for following. Merron

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