Macquarie University
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The outdoor living supplement: outdoor recreation in post-war Sydney 1945-1975

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posted on 2022-03-28, 23:16 authored by Richard Strauss
The Outdoor Living Supplement is a history of outdoor recreation in post-war Sydney. It makes a contribution to the fields of urban history and the history of leisure. Outdoor recreation was a planned response to the urbanisation of post-war Sydney, intended to mitigate the effects of industrialisation and urbanisation on the Australian character. In due course outdoor recreation became central to what was meant by 'the Australian way of life'. Outdoor recreation was the focus of intense commodification as the long post-war boom progressed, being an important element in the development of Australian consumerism. Ironically then, outdoor recreation extended the influence of industrialisation and urbanisation at the same time that it acted to counter these phenomena. This thesis is comprised of five chapters. The first outlines the perceived problems of urbanisation in Western thought and in Sydney in particular. The second examines the popularity of post-war planning and planned responses to urban ills, placing outdoor recreation within this context. The third deals with the unfolding, or the unravelling of these planned recreational responses to urbanisation. The fourth chapter examines the formation of cultural and social institutions around post-war outdoor recreation. The fifth chapter demonstrates the extent to which outdoor recreation was commodified during the long post-war boom. While maintaining a focus on outdoor recreation, the five chapters of this thesis build a history of post-war Australia in which there is a shift from left to right in politics, a movement from collectivism to consumerism in public life which characterised the long boom. The forces at work were clearly dialectical, and as apparent in the narrow field of leisure pursuits as they were in public policy. Post-war concerns with social justice brought an emphasis on planning that fell short of the more utopian goals, but revived economic activity and redefined social relations, leading to a shift in political consciousness and the commodification of certain aspects of Australian culture.


Alternative Title

Outdoor recreation in post-war Sydney 1945-1975

Table of Contents

Introduction -- Chapter one: Post-war urbanisation : dilemma and development -- Chapter two: Planning a brave new world -- Chapter three: The road to subtopia -- Chapter four: On the ground : use of open space -- Chapter five: Bread and circuses : commodification -- Conclusion -- Bibliography -- Appendix 1: Sydney classified listings -- Appendix 2: Australian import statistics


Bibliography: pages 311-343

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Deptartment of Modern History

Department, Centre or School

Department of Modern History

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

D. B. (Duncan Bruce) Waterson


Copyright Richard Strauss 2007. Copyright disclaimer:




New South Wales


1 online resource (vi, 349 pages) illustrations, map

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