Glorious Days – Australia 1913 is on show at the National Museum of Australia until 13 October. This exhibition is an opportunity to step back in time and be immersed in nostalgia from the period. 1913 is described as a ‘hinge year’ when people embraced the modern world of automobiles, aeroplanes, roller skating and cinema, although attitudes and prejudices from the past persisted.
The exhibition covers many aspects of Australian life – sport and leisure, Aussies at work, our homes, our health and how we defended and built our nation – seen through music, photographs, newsreels, artwork and ordinary and extraordinary objects. From Australia’s first postage stamps to luxury motor vehicles there are heaps of memorabilia and vintage items on show. Particularly impressive is the luxury Model T Ford with its shiny boa constrictor horn and kangaroo bonnet ornament. Horse-drawn vehicles were still commonplace in 1913 but motor vehicles soon outnumbered horses on the streets as vehicles and petrol became more affordable. I’ll bet the motorist of 1913 would never have guessed how much petrol would cost in 2013.
In 1913 the government of the day was keen to boost the birthrate. To reduce mother and infant mortality and to help pay for medical assistance a maternity allowance of ₤5 was provided. Mmm this is sounding familiar – I wonder if this is the 1913 version of today’s baby bonus.
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