1950s Christmas
  Roderick Smith

The article is mainly sociology, but it was the era in which many of us grew up.  The people in the photos which I am not posting could have been my parents or me.
The descriptions align with the Christmases which I remember: very much my family.  With my father an orphan, and his brother a bachelor, we always had the immediate family of four (later six), plus two maternal grandparents and my uncle for a full roast dinner, then doze until a salad evening meal.
HS is paywalled, so I can't just post a link

I am not going to tinker the text to suit the group: have the lot, and a selection of the 25 photos, streetscapes (mainly vanished) and closer views of the vehicles.

181202Su Melbourne 'Herald Sun' - 1950s Christmas in Melbourne:
f: lhs Vanguard, rear lhs unidentified, rear rhs possibly a Triumph Mayflower, front rhs Austin A40 (a ute?).r: Holden FX/FJ, the convertible seems to be too large for a Morris; Holden FX.s: Austin or Bedford truck?; Austin A40 panelvan; Ford Prefect or Consul; Ford Consul or Zephyr; unidentified motorbike.u: Austin A30.v: International ute?w: Full size to show the detail; something of everything.  Running across: the 1940s seems to be GM, with a Vanguard ahead.  Facing further back is a Vauxhall ahead of a Ford Customline.x: Citroen?; Rover?; Ford Consul/Zephyr? Flying Standard?

Melbourne magic heralds new Christmas traditions in the 1950s.
Herald Sun December 2, 2018.
After many years of austerity and sacrifice caused by the trials of the Great Depression and World War II, Melburnians entered the 1950s with a new-found confidence.
The horrors of World War II were behind us, the Baby Boom was upon us and we were looking forward to our city’s debut on the international stage.
The Olympic Games were coming to town in 1956, and a rash of pre-games construction was underway, although International Olympic Committee chief Avery Brundage doubted our city’s ability to be ready to turn on the greatest show in world sport. Of course, we proved him wrong.
Post-war Melbourne was a place of prosperity not seen since the roaring 20s and for the first time in a generation, we began to let our hair down a little.
This was especially so at Christmas.
Ballet Le Sylphides perform at the 1953 Carols by Candlelight.
A couple relaxes during Carols by Candlelight in 1950. Christmas.
Pauline Carboon, Richard Lowery and John Shinkfield perform a nativity scene at their Prahran kindergarten in 1955.
Margot Evans celebrates at the Lord Mayor's Christmas party in 1955.
Baby Michael Higgs sleeps as his mother enjoys the 1953 Carols by Candlelight.
Melbourne was home to a collection of department stores in and around the present-day Bourke St Mall.
Foy and Gibson, on the corner of Bourke and Swanston streets was a family favourite.
Foy’s, as it was known, featured a multistorey Father Christmas, complete with his famous red clobber and bushy white beard, facing what was then Melbourne’s busiest intersection.
In the post-war period, Foy’s began hosting a Christmas “fun park” on the roof of the city store. It had rides, ponies, a petting zoo and fair-style attractions and was predictably very popular with families.
Myer also had a rooftop Christmas carnival high above the city streets, but it stole a march on the competition in 1956 with an attraction that these days is a treasured Melbourne tradition — the Myer Christmas windows.
The Christmas windows were intended as Myer’s Christmas gift to Melbourne, and Melburnians have responded with warm and love ever since.
The Mitchell family, of Carnegie, look up at the Christmas decorations in Bourke St in 1955.
The Douglas family does their Christmas shopping in Bourke St in 1955.
The parade of torchbearers during 1953 Carols by Candlelight.
They were created by Fred Asmussen, Myer’s visual merchandiser at the time, and filled the wide plate glass windows in the store’s iconic Bourke St shopfront.
The windows were unveiled just as the 1956 Olympic Games began in November 1956, and those first Christmas windows had a distinctly Olympic theme as well as Father Christmas.
One scene included a television screen — fitting given that television was first broadcast in Melbourne in November 1956.
The windows were a huge hit with Melburnians and have remained a firm festive favourite ever since. They have spread to Myer department stores around Australia, too.
All around Victoria, the main streets of suburbs and towns were decorated in simple, vibrant Christmas bunting and, in some places, coloured incandescent globes, strung in zigzag patterns over the streets for some added seasonal sparkle.
Household Christmas displays are common these days, with a dazzling and almost seizure-inducing array of LED lights, lasers and animatronic figures illuminating our Christmases in almost every street and cul-de-sac.
Children at the 1954 Carols by Candlelight.
Women at Carols by Candlelight in 1953.
Austin Hospital nurses Meg Tuffy, Janice Tindill and Marj McGregor at 1954 Carols by Candlelight.
A huge crowd at the 1954 Carols by Candlelight in the Alexandra Gardens.
The stage at 1955 Carols by Candlelight in the Alexandra Gardens.
But the granddaddy of them all emerged along the sweeping curves of The Boulevard in Ivanhoe East in the 1950s, an act of seasonal generosity that quickly became a cherished part of our city’s Christmas festivities.
The displays are much more sophisticated today, but many kids who grew up in Melbourne will forever remember the warm yellow and red glow of the Christmas lights as they strolled that winding street with their families, or motored by slowly with the car winds down and a sultry breeze blowing into the cabin.
Carols by Candlelight had been a part of Melbourne’s Christmas Eve celebrations since 1938, but it found a new home at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in the 1950s.
Carols, which raises money for Vision Australia (and its predecessor, the Royal Victorian Institute of the Blind) to support services for children who are blind or have low vision, was the brainchild of then-3KZ radio announcer Norman Banks.
He was walking home from an evening shift on Christmas Eve 1937 when he saw a lone woman inside her home, singing by candlelight to Christmas carols on her radio, and was moved to create an event where even the lonely has a place to go on that holy night.
The first Carols by Candlelight was held in the Alexandra Gardens in 1938, but it shifted to the newly-completed Sidney Myer Music Bowl in 1959.
Diane Chancelor, of Carlton, on a ride while her father does the Christmas shopping in 1955
Graham Elkin, 4, of Windsor, had a perfect spot to watch the choir at Carols by Candlelight in 1955.
Nurse Barbara Simpson, 17, helps Father Christmas (Alf Kennedy) over the roof as he arrives at the Alfred Hospital in 1955.
Andrea Wightman, 13, and Faye Cleland, 6, at the 1953 Carol Festival at Heidelberg.
Flinders St Station decorated with Christmas lights in 1955.
A police escort travels with an Alice in Wonderland float at the city’s 1955 Christmas parade.
Countless Melburnians have enjoyed Carols at the Myer Music Bowl since then and, for many Australians, Christmas Eve would not be the same without those televised images of their favourite performers, sleepy children and sweeping views of Melbourne’s skyline aglow with a sea of candles in the foreground.
The National Film and Sound Archive has preserved this gorgeous 1958 Australian government film, Christmas in Australia.
Produced Commonwealth Film Unit as a tool to encourage European migrants to come south, the film contrasts snowy northern hemisphere scenes with sun-drenched images of Australians celebrating the festive season.
The film is a highly idealised glimpse of our nation celebrating Christmas, but it’s wonderful.
It shows that while the scenery and climate is vastly different in Australia, some things stayed the same.
Scenes of the Christmas shopping include glimpses of Foy’s famous giant Santa, a bustling Swanston Street and shoppers strolling among gay displays at Myer in Bourke Street.
A workplace Christmas party is depicted with longneck bottles of beer and simple party fare.
Jannette O'Connell, 7, of Fitzroy, whispers to Santa in a Bourke St store in 1955. Picture: Frank Grant
Payne's Bon Marche decorated for Christmas in 1955.
Christmas decorations going up on Bourke St in 1955.
Christmas shoppers in Bourke Street in 1957.
Helpers at Heidelberg Military Hospital to distribute cigarettes to repatriation patients for Christmas in 1955.
Live Christmas turkeys on sale at the Queen Victoria Market in 1950.
Carollers sung in suburban streets, just as they did in the Old World, but in summer attire suited to balmy evenings.
Children hung stockings and pillow cases to hold gifts and leave treats for Father Christmas, and Christmas treats from a billy of tea on a bush campfire to formal roasts are represented.
Families enjoyed each other’s company in Australia. Some indulge in a traditional roast dinner.
Others soak up the sun at the beach, in the bush or in the backyard.
Some celebrated Christmas Day with a picnic. In country areas, others squeezed in a little Christmas while handfeeding stock on parched paddocks.
There was no sign of the seafood banquets or turkeys that are common in Australia today, though.
Churches featured prominently.
These were the days when children collected coins from their plum puddings. Unlike the nickel coins we have today — which can leech poisons into your dessert — pre-decimal currency was cooked into puddings and gave the kids a little extra thrill at the Christmas table.
The children’s toys were simpler too. Building blocks, toy cars, teddy bears and rag dolls were the order of the day in the 1950s. No plastic or gadgets were to be seen in this classic film.
Christmas in Australia:
1947: <www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ceg3A0_jM5Y>
1958: https://youtu.be/nXWFcNLSZiQ

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