Baby Boomer: Suburban Australia
My sister, cousins and I had a reasonably free childhood once we came to Australia. Our home was in Elizabeth, north of Adelaide. We could play in the street in front of our houses or go to a nearby park which didn’t require crossing the main road. We older ones could walk to the local shops for ice cream or comics and sometimes to another park when the “Trampoline Man” came for a few days in the school holidays. Our suburb was pretty quiet except at around 4pm when the local factories let out and all the workers came home.
When I was around twelve my eldest cousin and I were both allowed to go to “the big shops” at Elizabeth Town Centre or the library alone.
Even though they allowed us our freedom I’m sure our parents worried about us and we did get into trouble if we went off without telling them where we were going or failed to return at the appointed time.
Naomi and I arrived in Australia with our mum on 23 January 1966. Three days later on 26 January, three young children, Jane, Arnna, and Grant Beaumont disappeared from Glenelg beach not far from Adelaide. They were never heard of again.
By eguidetravel – https://www.flickr.com/photos/eguidetravel/5399982086/, CC BY 2.0, Link
If ever our parents needed a cautionary tale there was one. They impressed on us that we should not talk to or go off with strangers. It certainly made an impression on me because the eldest girl, Jane was the same age as me. To our parents’ credit, this didn’t stop them from letting us go places on our own but I know that mum always worried until we returned safely and I am sure my aunt and uncle did too although my cousins were not fond of walking so their dad would usually get a call to pick them up from wherever they had gone or be asked to drive them here or there. Naomi and I usually walked everywhere.