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On the Home Front by Kate Darian-Smith


On the Home Front by Kate Darian-Smith

What really happened on the Australian home front during the Second World War? For the people of Melbourne these were years of social dislocation and increased government interference in all aspects of daily life. This is the story of their work, leisure, and relationships, and their fear - for by 1942 the city was pitted with air raid trenches, and in the half-light of the brownout Melburnians awaited a Japanese invasion. As women left the home to replace men in factories and offices, the traditional roles of mothers and wives was challenged. The presence of thousands of American soldiers in Melbourne raised new questions about Australian nationalism and identity. And the 'carnival spirit' of many on the home front created anxiety about the issues of drunkenness, gambling and sexuality. The revised edition of this classic and evocative study of Melbourne in wartime-drawing upon the memories of men and women who lived through those turbulent years-illustrates life in wartime Australian cities in a period when society was responding to the tensions between a restrictive government urging Austerity measures and new opportunities for social and sexual freedoms.


'This engaging book is an essential insight into how the Second World War transformed daily life in Australia....Kate Darian-Smith's imaginative research and her wonderful eye for the detail animate every page.'
Dr Michael Cathcart, University of Melbourne

About the Author

Kate Darian-Smith is Professor of Australian Studies and History at the University of Melbourne. Her many publications include Memory and History in Twentieth Century Australia, Stirring Australian Speeches: The Definitive Collection and Britishness Abroad: Transnational Movements and Imperial Cultures.

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Book Info

Publication date

24th March 2009


Kate Darian-Smith

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Melbourne University Press


320 pages


Social & cultural history



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