Popular culture 1945 – present

Australian popular culture around 1945


These activities provide opportunities for students to develop knowledge and understanding about the nature of popular culture in a particular historical context, the end of World War II. This marks the beginning of the period through which students will trace the impact of popular culture in shaping and reflecting Australian society in the post World War II world.

Inquiry question What was the nature Australian popular culture around 1945?
Content focus The nature of popular culture in Australia at the end of World War II, including music, film and sport.
  • Use chronological sequencing to demonstrate the relationship between events and developments in different periods and places
  • Identify and locate relevant sources, using ICT and other methods
  • Select and use a range of communication forms (oral, graphic, written) and digital technologies.


  • Brainstorm: What questions could you ask to gather information on what Australia was like at the end of World War II? Organise questions as the first level of a mindmap based on 'Australia in 1945'. Have students fill in the next level, building from these questions.
  • Discuss the possible sources of information for life in 1945. Ask students to locate their own family in 1945. Has their family kept anything from that period? Can students bring in any primary sources that will assist in describing life in 1945? How do any primary sources compare with the information contained in secondary sources?
  • Use Change and continuity since 1945 (PDF, 309 KB) to explore the extent to which there has been change and continuity in Australian society and popular culture.
  • Research task: Technology in Australia after World War II. Have groups research a specific aspect of social and cultural life such as radio, film, transport, household appliances, sport or communication. The students should then report back on developments in their area of research in Australia since 1945.
  • Use this information to create an interactive timeline that shows how developments in technology in the first half of the 20th century led to changes in the way Australians accessed popular culture. Use an interactive timeline tool such as dipity. Have students research and explain one entry in detail.