Those were the days, Australia in the sixties

Swirl graphic from those Were The days

In photographs and words, this beautifully presented book Those Were The Days – Australia in the Sixties rekindles memories while providing glimpses of the 1960s in Australia: the Vietnam War and the conscription lottery; the Swinging Sixties, with its mini-skirts and changing fashions, the Beatles, Rolling Stones and the Australian group, The Seekers; the loss of a Prime Minister by drowning; the excitement of Kings Cross; the building of the iconic Opera House; the advent of decimal currency; Aboriginal recognition and the changing social patterns, including the arrival of immigrants from the UK and Europe; overseas working holidays for Australians; censorship; sporting successes and the new frontiers in Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland, with the mineral boom and new towns appearing in the desert.

The kaleidoscopic images are in both colour and black-and-white and are juxtaposed to emphasise the differences that emerged during this exciting decade of change.


So, were you there? Can’t remember? Don’t want to remember? If you’re too young, use today’s technology no one dreamed of back then and download the best version of the song ‘Gloria’, by a then little known Belfast band, Them, and its even less known lead singer, Van Morrison.

If you were there in the sixties, your eyes will swell and thoughts will turn to youthful sex. If you weren’t there, then watch your parents, maybe even grandparents get misty eyed as they recall growing up in one of the most tumultuous decades the West has seen. Pump it out, turn it up loud and pulsate to the drums of the Surfaris and ‘Wipe Out’. Thrust and gyrate to the Rolling Stones’ ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’. Go ‘Stompin’
at Maroubra’ with Little Pattie.

A snapshot of the 60's from Those Were The DaysSo, when were the sixties? Most people declare, whether they remember or not, that ‘the sixties’ began in the United States and Britain in 1963 and died in 1974. Where were ‘the sixties’ happening? The social and political upheavals of the era swept North America, most of Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand in varying degrees. The rest of the world watched on, and the seemingly outrageous behaviour was something dictatorial authorities were keen to suppress. And there were plenty of them, in Spain, in Portugal and across South America, and the sixties made few inroads into Asia, the Middle East and Africa. But unrest did manage to infiltrate Eastern Europe, then under the firm control of the Soviet Union. Unruly states such as Poland and the then Czechoslovakia were infected by the ‘decadent’ West. The sixties did much to prepare the way for the end of the Soviet Union.