Do you remember the world before…

I reckon the world has changed a lot since I was born.
I’ve been compiling a list of all the things that didn’t exist when I was born – things that have come into existence since the late Sixties (well, in Australia anyway).
I think there’s actually an endless number of them, so I’d like to invite all readers to add a few of your own…
Here’s my list to start you off:  I REMEMBER BEFORE THERE WAS…

  • Colour TV.  I remember my first experience of watching colour TV.  It was in a hotel room at the expensive Wentworth Hotel in Sydney.  It was 1972 or 1974 (I can’t remember which).  I remember noticing that the backdrop to the British Paints commercial (featuring Rolf Harris) was pale blue, not white as I’d assumed.
  • Indoor Soccer.  Anyone remember when that was introduced?
  • Mobile phones, and even touch-tone phones.  I remember seeing a non-rotary-dial phone and thinking that it would be too easy to dial a wrong number.  We still call it “dialling a number”, even though there’s no dials anymore.
  • DVDs – and even VCRs.  I remember the old VCRs (not for household use).  They were the size of a small dog-kennel.  Now the technology’s superceded…
  • Environmentalism.  Noticing that how we were living was damaging our environment and potentially unsustainable seems to date back to the Sixties.
  • The Internet and even PCs.  There’s currently more processing power in a $5 digital watch than there was in the first PCs (circa 1978).  And who can imagine what we did before the Internet…? 
  • Other common technology items:
    • Digital cameras
    • MP3 players
    • PDAs
    • Fax machines
    • Walkmans
    • CDs
    • Digital watches.  I remember when Roderick Henry came to school one day in 1978 showing off the digital watch he got for his birthday.  It was one of those LED ones, with the black face and the red letters that lit up and showed the time when you pressed a button.  He pressed the button so many times that day, showing off what his watch could do, that the battery was dead before he got home.
    • Calculators
    • etc etc – I’m sure you can think of another dozen without even trying…
  • Ansett Airlines, Australian Airlines and even TAA (remember TAA?)
  • Video-arcade games (Space Invaders and its descendents)
  • Drive-thrus.  In fact, most fast-food chains (Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut) hadn’t made it to Australia when I was little.
  • The Soviet Union, The Berlin Wall, Apartheid, etc
  • FM radio.  Yep, back then there was only AM.
  • Sports drinks, such as Gatorade.  Even bottled mineral water (Perrier was one of the first)
  • Thai restaurants.  Sydney has changed so much.  If you wanted to eat out in the 70s, and didn’t want fast-food or supremely expensive French restaurants, you basically ate Chinese.
  • Blind person assistance noises on pedestrian crossings (you know what I mean)
  • Roundabouts.  Some bright spark came up with roundabouts as an alternative to traffic lights at intersections, and they did it in my lifetime!
  • Cinema multiplexes.  Back in my day, each cinema was enormous, and there was only one of them per building.  Sometimes they even had two levels, like theatres.  In fact, there wasn’t much difference (structurally) between a cinema and a theatre.
  • NRC ratings (for movies).  This was the precursor to “PG”.  “NRC” stood for “Not Recommended for Children”.  Remember?
  • Ratings on TV.  Speaking of ratings, back then there were restricted to movies.  TV content may have been rated, but the general public never got to know what those ratings were.
  • Tealight candles
  • Light beer.  Well, light anything for that matter.
  • Wheelie Bins.  It used to be that the old-style bins (with the lids you clipped on with two clips) were the only options.
  • 2-Dollar shops
  • ATMs
  • Self-serve service stations
  • The metric system.  I remember when they were changing all the roadsigns over from miles to kilometres.  They did this in 1974, and I was about 10.  That’s a good age to switch to metric, as I can now speak both languages pretty easily.  Any older and I’d have had a harder time learning the metric system, any younger and I’d never have known what miles and pounds were.  Isn’t it interesting how we still use feet and inches to say how tall we are.  If someone asked me how tall I was and I answered “191 centimetres”, they wouldn’t know what I was talking about (6’3″, in case you’re wondering).
  • Unleaded petrol
  • Gyms.  Nobody went to the gym back then.  If you’d opened a gym in 1971, expecting that the general public would pay you large sums of money to come in and use your exercise equipment, you’d have lasted about a week.
  • Five-speed gearboxes.  Yep, four speeds was all there was, back then.  Now we’re up to six speeds on some cars.
  • Flavoured milk.  Who was the bright spark of marketing milk with chocolate, strawberry or vanilla flavouring in it?  Kinda like milkshakes, but without the ice-cream.  I particularly remember the girl in the bikini on the Moove commercial.  I even had a poster of her in my room [wistful sigh]…
  • Layered hair colour.  It took me a long time to cotton onto this one.  Women have been dying their hair forever, but when did they start layering it?  Isn’t it supposed to be all one colour?  I’m such a bloke, I swear.  My girlfriend showed me her new haircut/colour one day, and asked me what I thought of it.  I said, “It’s not a very good job – you’ve still got dark roots showing.”  She rolled her eyes at me and told me it’s supposed to be that way, that it gives her hair that shimmery look to it (she tossed her head from side to side, for effect).
  • UHT milk
  • Milk cartons.  It was all bottles back at the dawn of time…
  • PET bottles (for Coke, orange juice, etc).  I repeat, it was all bottles back at the dawn of time…
  • AIDS.  Brand new disease, back in around 1980.  Came from monkeys, they said…
  • Hatchback cars.  Sedans or station wagons.  Those were your choices back then.  Now we’ve got SUVs, 4WDs, …
  • Rules about bicycle helmets.  We used to be able to ride around without a helmet.  Gone are the days….
  • Sunscreen mania.  You see mothers these days with their kids, out at the park or on the beach.  The kids are wearing long-sleeved T-shirts and pants, hats and gloves, and are sitting under an umbrella.  Then the mother will gasp in horror as she notices that one of the kids has an ear exposed to the sun, so she’ll dip him in a vat of 30+ sunscreen.  SPF 30+???  When did that come along?  Back when I was a kid there wasn’t even numbers on the bottles.  They were called “tanning oils” and they actually magnified the sun’s rays.  It was a bit like being deep-fried.  The sun was certainly never viewed as “poison in the sky”.  We were always told to “get outside and get some sun!”  Kids these days get so little sun they’re anaemic.
  • Ban on TV cigarette advertising.  “Anyhow, have a Winfield”.  Onya Hoges.  It won’t be long before the only place you can smoke is on a rowboat 30 miles offshore.  By yourself.

Okay.  That’s all I got.  Your turn….

16 Responses to “Do you remember the world before…”

  1. Peter Says:

    Visit Peter

    So just how old are you Mark? Roundabouts have been ‘around’ since at least Canberra was made.
    So maybe you just mean those little roundabouts that no one has any idea of how to indicate in/on.

  2. Mark Says:

    Visit Mark

    Jeez. SORRY!! I guess I got one wrong!
    I just remember seeing my first roundabout in Sydney being built. So perhaps I should qualify my whole post with a “IN SYDNEY”.
    I don’t see YOU going out on a limb with any contributions of your own, Mr Smartypants!

  3. Gerry Virtue Says:

    Visit Gerry Virtue

    You’re partly right about environmentalism. It came into public consciousness around that time. I and a few friends formed the South Coast Conservation Society in 1967, or 68 (I believe it’s still going, and must be one of the oldest environment groups in NSW) to fight Boral (remember them?) when they wanted to mine Blue Metal from Bass Point, a coastal headland just south of Shellharbour. Took years, but eventually we won, and Bass Point was preserved. It’s a coastal reserve now. Boral no longer exists.
    But environmentalists had been around for a long time – mainly bushwalkers. I knew Milo Dunphy quite well, he was a tireless campaigner (incidentally also a friend of Bob Carr) and founder of the Total Environment Centre, but his father, Myles Dunphy, along with Paddy Pallin and others, was one of the great environmental pioneers.

  4. Renée Says:

    Visit Renée

    Welcome back, Mark!
    I haven’t been around long enough to see that much change in the world – only’ve been here since ’88. Well, internet of course, I’m very happy to be able to use it now. But think about all the things that are still coming… Still, something tells me we’ve just had the most spectacular part. But who knows.

  5. Pamela Virtue Says:

    Visit Pamela Virtue

    When you were born there were no mothers’ groups. No one would have had the time to attend them. We were too busy washing cloth nappies, and no one I knew had clothes dryers.

  6. Chakriya Says:

    Visit Chakriya

    Computers were still only able to print large pictures of Snoopy made with dollar signs before I was born. Television was still mostly black and white before I was born. Rap hadn’t been invented before I was born.
    Clearly I am responsible for several of the greatest innovations in the 20th century.

  7. junglegirl Says:

    Visit junglegirl

    I’m a youngster (1990),so for me things like mp3 players and text messaging would be on my list.
    I guess I have nothing real to contribute here.No worries I will leave quickly,but first I really want to know who that guy was who decided to bang a monkey.(I realize AIDS can be passed on in other ways besides sexual intercourse,but I’m refusing to think outside of the box right now.)Who was it!?

  8. olivia Says:

    Visit olivia

    well im also a young’un (1991) but i remember the brick mobile phones, DVDs, wireless things, memory cards ans sticks (they still amaze me!), digital TV and of course the electric car!!!! wow!

  9. Jo Says:

    Visit Jo

    Doonas – I found myself telling my son I’d tuck him in this evening, but then realised it isn’t the same as when I was a kid. We always had blankets and sheets, in the late 70’s my mum bought us eiderdowns, which I guess was probably the beginning of the doona revolution. Or maybe we were just poor until the 70’s.

  10. Rohan Gladman Says:

    Visit Rohan Gladman

    Movies and cartoons based on merchandise sales. It all ended with the introduction of Transformers and Teenage Ninja Turtles – Yuk.

  11. Gary Says:

    Visit Gary

    Airbags. They apparently first appeared in 1973 in an Oldsmobile Tornado as a passenger option. Chrysler was the first car company to offer them as standard in 1988, since 1998 they’ve been mandatory in all new cars.
    Reference here.
    Wonder if any ageing units have spontaneously gone off while driving ?
    Strange then that busses don’t even have seat-belts and passengers are allowed to stand. Bus drivers must be immune to collisions.

  12. Reise Laender Says:

    Visit Reise Laender

    I wonder if there are reality shows such as Survivor and Big Brother existed even before I was born, or even when I was a kid. All I remember watching when I was a kid are Japanese action series, animes and popeye cartoons. *LMAO*

  13. Sydney Interior Design Firm Says:

    Visit Sydney Interior Design Firm

    Wonder how they introduced credit cards? I’m glad there’s credit cards nowadays. Just imagine having to bring a lot of money when you go out.

  14. John Newell Says:

    Visit John Newell

    Before cinema multiplexes, the cinemas had character, even if they were dingy. The multiplexes are identical and “sanitised”.
    On tv, the ratings were introduced and I remember A and AO.
    Bins… before the lids with 2 clips… those were plastic bins. As a kid, we had metal bins with a loose lid on top. The garbos must have had terrible back problems.
    Milk bottles I remember. And some places, like the Sunshine Coast, had milk in 1-litre plastic bags.
    And, yes, I remember TAA vividly!

  15. PeterL Says:

    Visit PeterL

    4 speed gearboxes? I can remember *2* speed automatic gearboxes! Count em – Low, and Drive. My Dad’s Kingswood (307 Chev V8) had one.

  16. Helen Says:

    Visit Helen

    White out In flight entertainment. No Smoking Areas!
    Man Bags. Velcro. Insta- Dry nail polish. The spiritual new age. Juice Bars.
    To name a few

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