After the World War II (1945), the women and servicemen of Australia returned home. Their life that was interrupted for almost 6 years of conflicts during the war was resumed. The population revolution then started after nine months where childbirth rates surged more than 4 millions Australians.

These people born from 1946 to 1961 are called baby boomers. During this period, there was also an increased migration of Europeans to Australia. These forces are combined thus it changed Australia in the mid of the twentieth century.

The 1950's were considered the new arrival age. A new market was represented by baby boomers. Their needs were met quickly because of the wartime technology advances combined with innovative economic optimism.

The first audio recording was released in the early 50's known as Long Playing recorded using vinyl discs. In 1955, Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley was released in the market. The younger generation have known rock and roll and accepted it as a new and unique music.

Australian bands started to play new music. Johnny O'Keefe and Cole Joye were the top artists at that time. T-shirts and blue jeans became the fashion of teenagers mimicking movie stars in America like Marlon Brando and James Dean. Comic books rise to popularity as the youth's literature. Hula-hoops twirling became the favorite pastime of children. The word juvenile delinquent was first read on newspapers describing baby boomers. However, most baby boomers in this era represented a big change to the older generation.

The 1960's are marked as the coming age. After eighteen years of existence, baby boomers were hooked on the music of "The Beatles". In 1964, this pop group from UK toured around Australia selling out frequent mobbing and shows. Young people controlled the culture. Rock and Roll became the music's mainstream although 'square' parents don't like it.

Australian bands also hit the music wave. The first Australian band "The Seekers" released their recording reaching sales of one million copies. The controversy made by Jean Shrimpton shocked Australia when she came to watch the Melbourne Cup wearing a mini-skirt. Since then, wearing mini-skirts became the most popular fashion.

Baby boomers also brought great changes in politics. In 1963, Charles Perkins, an aboriginal activist led protestors throughout New South Wales to expose the Aboriginal Australians discrimination. They were restricted to enter pubs, public schools, and cinemas in rural places. The National Liberal government was forced to make a referendum changing the constitution in favor of the Aboriginal people.

The people power in 1970 shut down Melbourne metropolitan because of succeeding moratorium marches in opposition of the Vietnam War. This was followed by the popularity of alternative lifestyle and hippy culture.

The 1970's were the age of power. The adult population of Australia from 1962-1972 increased by approximately three million when the baby boomers reached the voting age. The Australian conservative form of government was challenged by the baby boomers radical ideas for many years. Gough Whitlam, leader of a charismatic labor became a candidate for Prime Minister. He authored the "It's Time" slogan having policies that will obtain the votes of baby boomers. It includes free education on a university, laws on anti-discrimination for Aborigines, and withdrawing Australian soldiers from Vietnam. He declared that the solution to juvenile crimes, vandalism and drugs is not moralizing or repression but rather the creative energies of the youth in a concerned and creative energy.

The 1980's onwards were marked as the period of ageing boomers. Radical streak were tamed by baby boomers to settle down in enjoying comfort and wealth as they reach middle age. Many boomers are represented in the bracket of people with higher income. "Generation Me" was the name given to them. Mark Davis, an Australian journalist states that baby boomers continuously dominate the Australian culture. Other groups had the difficulty of initiating change because baby boomers comprise the highest percentage in the entire population of Australia. They prevent new younger cultures to thrive in the conservative values and classic rocks.

Baby boomers economically represent bigger future challenges. As they get older, they will continue to distort the non-working population of Australia like they have increased the working population from 1960 to 1970 putting higher strain on hospitals, pensions, and aged care.

Daniel Silver

 


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