Airdate: The Making of Modern Australia

It’s a big night of TV this Thursday, there’s a new channel launching, 3 reality contestants become 2, a returning drama, and the return of a satirical series too.

Meanwhile ABC1 launches The Making of Modern Australia, narrated by William McInnes. This 4 part documentary series will investigate some of the historical triggers for change in Australian society.

Looking at key themes that are part of our day to day social life –parenting, relationships, the family home and faith and religion– it draws upon personal and family stories, photographs and home movie footage over the past 60 years.

McInnes will also publish a book on the subject.

July 22, 8.30pm ABC1
Australia celebrated the end of World War II with an enthusiastic urge to procreate. Between 1946 and 1966, the population exploded from 7.5 million to 11.5 million.

This was the era of the Baby Boomers, a generation of children whose rock’n’roll rebellion would sweep aside pre war conservatism and change things forever.

Evocative film and home movie archive footage recalls a much simpler time when kids roamed free in the great outdoors and swore an oath at school to “cheerfully obey their parents, teachers and the laws”.

But there are also cruel memories: a Scottish orphan recalls years of neglect in the care of the Catholic Sisters of Mercy – “with no mercy”; a Brisbane couple remembers classrooms with harsh discipline and antiquated gender roles; an Aboriginal girl is taken from her family and culture and “assimilated’’ into white society.

But when the Baby Boomers started having children of their own, childhood was transformed. Girls stayed at school longer, mothers went to work and alternative methods of child-rearing were explored.

The physical, outdoor childhoods of 1940s and 50s are fading memories. Today’s kids are “digital natives’’, plugged into a world awash with instant information and entertainment.

But in the rapid change and a more sophisticated urban lifestyle, has something been lost? This episode of The Making of Modern Australia explores what has happened to our childhood.


  1. There was a German ladyon episode three called Beata. I worked with her back in the late 70’s at a wholesale importers of liquers in Dandenong Road Clayton Vic. Lost touch and often wondered how and where she was now. She was an excellent painter and I have four of her landscapes. I don’t know what year the show was made and wondered if through you I can get in touch with her again.

    Marion Asher.

  2. I want to see this but I’m recording Rush and Armstrong and Miller at the same time! I guess I’ll have to use iView for the first time ever.

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