A Precious Resource
Boomers loved their children and grandchildren. Because like real-estate, livestock, ore deposits or lumber… young people were our future assets.
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There are currently 22 photographs in this section.
Reel time: Fishing as a pastime became more challenging after we systematically poisoned the hydrosphere
Bundeena Ferry passenger, Cronulla (Aug 2019, 228kb)
The last summer: For a brief moment at the beginning of the 21st century, it was still possible to leave children to themselves
At the steps of the swimming enclosure at Balmoral Beach, in Sydney's north (Apr 2005, 146kb)
Keep us from harm: Every potential hazard was fastidiously identified and corrected
Drink bubbler at Erskinville Public School, Sydney (Aug 2019, 225kb)
Baby on board:
A political system that leads to [young] people having so few resources that they do not have opportunities to pursue lives that they have reason to value (Grattan Institute, 2014)
Public ashtray on a monorail pole, at Sydney World Square (Oct 2013, 384kb)
Frictionless conformity: A globally homogenised culture to make it easier to sell you things
A skateboarder at a vintage car display, opposite St Marys cathedral in Sydney (Jan 2005, 248kb)
Purposeful activity: We bequeathed a retail industry packed full of meaning and purpose
Discount variety store at Katoomba (Jun 2003, 182kb)
Towards 10 per 1000: Our faith in the 21st century was expressed by having far less children (Macrotrends, 2020)
Wiggles exhibition, Powerhouse Museum Sydney (Jan 2020, 88kb)
Tween marketing trends: The role of glossy magazines was to teach young girls the vital importance of how they look
Perusing fashion magazines in the now-defunct Angus & Robertson book-store beneath Centerpoint tower (Dec 2003, 97kb)
The Big Schlep: Get the twins to softball, pick up Indigo from the airport, take Hunter to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Then take the twins to netball, Hunter to the Harmony Day dress rehearsal and drop Indigo at the art & craft markets. Finally, get the twins to soccer practice, go home for a bite and then make sure Hunter and the twins are back home by 9pm
Darling Harbour playground (Jun 1992, 512kb)
Preparing for the past: We laboured comprehensively to ensure things were easier for those who followed (Seawright, 2016)
Laps at the Coogee beach tidal pool, in Sydney's east (Mar 2003, 204kb)
Lifelong entanglement: We would have followed you anywhere
Bethesda Terrace, Central Park NYC (Oct 2017, 530kb)
Grandfathering wealth: As part of the compact between generations, our youth can look forward to a utopia of free education, affordable housing and secure employment in well-paying jobs that last a lifetime
Pedestrians in the Sydney financial district (Jul 2004, 111kb)
Structured play: In order to fully prepare for successful careers, every activity had to be goal and team oriented
At the waterline at Bondi Beach (Mar 2003, 180kb)
Burnout gender reveal: Parents loved to modestly announce their great news
Sky writing above Kirribilli, Sydney (Nov 2020, 204kb)
Perfecting childhood: Hands-on parents expected their children to grow into Mozarts, Rembrandts or Doctor Doug Ross
Busking at Circular Quay, near the Sydney Opera House (Jan 1999, 123kb)
On this harvest moon: The peace dividend gave our children a chance at a more normal life
Yininmadyemi sculpture, Hyde Park Sydney (Apr 2018, 307kb)
Weeks, maybe months: The slow-motion horror of watching your parents suffer from belatedly diagnosed terminal illnesses, with the knowledge that medical review boards will do their utmost to protect the anonymity and status of everyone involved
North Bradfield Park, Milsons Point (Dec 2020, 131kb)
Minutes to midnight: Even the children realised we were running out of time
Footpath chalk drawings on Water Street, Dunedin NZ (Nov 2017, 693kb)
Preparing for the hereafter: Early retirement had many aspects but only one outcome
Yandhai Nepean Crossing, near Emu Plains (Jun 2021, 89kb)
Bo-ho chic: Mainstream/ Indie/ Alternative/ Bohemian/ Underground… a celebration of quirky dressers who spent a little more time than most on curating their own look and style
Nightcluber on the Cronulla-Bundeena ferry, in Sydney's south (Jan 2005, 175kb)
For one brief shining moment: Where work ended and the biopsies began
Blackwattle bay jetty (Jul 2017, 316kb)
No safe place: Fretting parents who left things too late; anxious grandparents out of their depth; abstruse pedagogical theorists run amok. Harm mitigation. Risk amortisation. Hypervigilance and a discourse of unquantifiable danger lurking in every home, classroom, church and playground
An ironic end to a day at Taronga Zoo (Apr 2005, 208kb)
Baby Boom 2.0?
There was a mistaken belief that Australia underwent another baby-boom following 2001 (eg. McCrindle, 2013).
Admittedly the total number of registered births grew to record levels after 2004. Despite the decade-long reversal in the 1970s, the overall trend in total birth numbers since 1935 has indeed been upward:
Yet a more interesting trend can be observed in the total fertility rate and the number of births per capita (ie. the total number of births divided by the total population):
Aside from a tiny reversal around 2008, these charts show the relentless decline in the proportion of children born in the last fifty years.
Clearly the 1949—64 “boom” remains a one-off.
Graph data is derived from:
ABS Historical Population (ABS, 2019).