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.
The Portland Guardian looked back at the origins of Christmas in 1950.
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.
The Australian Women’s Weekly was a great source of inspiration when preparing Christmas dinner.
The Weekly also promoted “Buy Australian” in 1951 with some Australian made gift ideas.
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.
Langlands of Horsham had a range of toys in stock for Christmas 1951.
Spending Christmas on the road over Christmas was a costly experience.
The Horsham Fire Brigade ran a Christmas tree and Santa arrived on the back of a truck.
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.
Christmas Day, 1952 was hot in Horsham with a sweltering 97 degrees Fahrenheit (approx. 36 degrees Celsius)
Heywood held Carols by Candlelight on Christmas Eve, 1952 along with the screening of “two suitable moving films”.
Could this have been the beginning of the Christmas Club? Which bank?
For 10/5/6, parents could by the latest model Steelcraft Tricycle for their child or a wigged doll for 50/9.
The Australian Women’s Weekly has some home-made Christmas gift suggestions for 1953.
Corporal L.V. Eldridge of Horsham wrote a letter from Korea to the “Horsham Times” with Christmas Greetings for Horsham and district residents.
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.
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.
Christmas 1954 was profitable for Horsham traders.
Variations on the Christmas tree were beginning to emerge. I think we can blame plastic for that.
The 1950s were the height of the baby boom and Melbourne maternity hospitals were expecting a Christmas rush of babies.
Troops in Japan, Malaya and Korea were given a Christmas treat.
Melbournians almost forgot Christmas 1956 due to the hype of the Olympic games in September that year.
Signs of the American culture filtering into the Australian psyche were evident with this Dennis the Menace cartoon from 1956 an example.
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,
Ballarat pensioners were not forgotten over Christmas 1956.
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.
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.