The world is rebuilding out of the wreckage of WWII and we have now entered the atomic age. The Cold War looms but doesn’t exert too big an influence on Australian thought.
Yet several, very pervasive issues mark the publications in AQ throughout this decade. One is the overwhelming positivity surrounding nuclear energy. Even in the 50s, in an age of plentiful oil, the atom was already being discussed as the solution to our future finite fuel resources. Yet over six decades later we have still not been motivated to advancing a solution.
The other topic that pervades the political minds of the 1950 was the fervent fear of ‘the Outsider’. Despite a huge influx of foreign post-war migrants, the world was caught up in the irrational fear of the Communist and it is surprising the articles that actively refer to the Communist threat. Though Australia’s fervour did not reach the neurotic levels that it did in the US, the reflected paranoia persists across the decade.
Nuclear Power for Australian Industry
“…world coal reserves will probably dwindle to a negligible amount within 100 years and that the oil and gas reserves will disappear in about half of that time. The question now arises – what then?…”
We are now 60 years beyond this estimation and our predictions, though extended upon, are considerably more dire. On the back of the recent splitting of the atom, the answer to the posed question was, quite obviously, nuclear.
“…in spite of the fact that nuclear energy has a number of disadvantages…it seems that the world will – whether it likes it or not – be forced to turn more and more to nuclear energy as its major source of power.”
Right or wrong? By not capitalising on the power of the atom did we miss an opportunity, or avert a disaster? Forget the conditioning against nuclear that we all suffer from these days and look back through the eyes on a time when the possibilities of the universe have been laid out before us.
Article from Dec 1953: Nuclear Power for Australian Industry
The Next 50 Years
If you were placed back in the 1950s and were asked to predict how the world would change by the year 2000, how do you think you would have done? We give the author of this fantastic article the chance to test his predictions – and he comes out with an exceptional rate.
Interesting on many levels, not only for his 1950s version of the future, but also for tasting the pervading fears of the time – a third war, and the threat of communism. He also worries about helicopter parking in the year 2000. Highly recommended article!
Article from June 1954: The Next Fifty Years
The Effects of Television
TV only landed in Australia in 1956. And naturally in 1957, when this article was written, there were concerns about the social effects that TV would have upon the Australian public. Do you think that any of them have played out??
Article from Dec 1957: The Effects of Television