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Life During The Depression For Returning Solidiers Of Ww1

786 words - 4 pages

May, 1929Upon filling up the humiliating forms the little confidence that I managed to remain have all distinguished. I had no choice but to apply for the Dole. Although it was one extremely humiliating experience I needed the food reliefs to keep my family from starving. Things have been getting worse as each year go by.I was once a proud soldier at Gallipoli. I fought bravely and was rewarded for my courage. However when I returned home, I did not expect my homeland to be another battlefield just as harsh and difficult to survive as the shores of Gallipoli. At first things seemed well although I could not get the job I did before the war. With the help of the government's 'Returned Soldiers Scheme' providing low interests and land. I was able to get a block of land near the Murrmbidgee with up to 3,500 pounds of stock or equipment at an extremely good annual interest rate of 2%. I was extremely excited and delighted, both my parents and grand parents have been farmers, ...view middle of the document...

Life in the city during the 'Depression' however was even worse, every day I had to line up in the middle of the day in front of the Dole with sheets of newspaper to carry the food to my family. The food is often poor and tasteless usually bread and soup sometimes mince. These are the staple diets of most people. Some people collected mushrooms and hunted fish and rabbits. All those years I have remained unemployed. I could not find a job just like many others I know. My wife however was able to find part time work at a local grocery. She worked long hours 2 days per week and was very low paid. It was a very ordinary thing to see women and children working these days as they are very low paid. We all lived in terror of her losing her job. We were one of the lucky ones who can still afford to rent a place to call home. Many others did not and were forced to live in 'bag huts' made of old galvanized iron, sugar bags and any odd timber they could find. These 'bag huts' are cold and draughty in bad weather and not at all attractive. Night Refuge camps had to be booked and many consider it a luxury. Others who could not get shelter even slept under trees in the Royal Botanic Garden. Even though money is scarce my family and many others still could enjoy simple pleasures such as playing cards, sports, swimming and community singing. Libraries were cheap and there are many free museums to visit.I felt sad and useless as I was no longer the breadwinner of the house. My wife was the one who brought home the shillings. Even my daughter worked occasionally to earn extra money for the family. I felt shameful. The role of women has changed dramatically over the years since the war. More women were employed in the work force especially during the 'Depression' as they were paid less than men. It was women more than men who began to challenge the old ways of the past. Young women now demanded greater freedom, equality and independence. I often saw many spinsters and women supplying themselves and or their children with shelter and food. Women fashion had also changed. The dresses were shorter and a lot more elaborate. My wife wore her hair short and wore high-heel shoes. Women began to smoke and drink. I've also seen increasing of numbers of women learning how to drive.

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