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Video clip synopsis – Tim Bowden reflects on the emergence of youth culture with the advent of rock'n'roll.
Year of production - 2005
Duration - 1min 14sec
Tags - audiences, broadcasting, consumers, media and society, music, popular culture, teenagers, youth, see all tags


The Youth Market

How to Download the Video Clip

To download a free copy of this Video Clip choose from the options below. These require the free Quicktime Player.

download clip icon Premium MP4 youth_pr.mp4 (9.1MB).

ipod icon Broadband MP4 youth_bb.mp4 (4.3MB), suitable for iPods and computer downloads.

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About the Video Clip


This interview with Tim Bowden was recorded for the website From Wireless to Web, produced in 2005.

Tim Bowden is a broadcaster, radio and delivision documentary maker, oral historian and author. You can view his full biography at From Wireless to Web

The website is a selective history of broadcast media in Australia. Decade by decade, from radio and newsreels to TV and the internet, this history shows how the Australian broadcast media developed and shaped the way Australians see themselves.

From Wireless to Web is a Film Australia production in association with Roar Film.

Curriculum Focus


Inquiry Questions
What have been the major social and cultural features of a post-war decade?

A student:
5.1 explains social, political and cultural developments and events and evaluates their impact on Australian life
5.2 assesses the impact of international events and relationships on Australia’s history
5.4 sequences major historical events to show an understanding of continuity, change and causation
5.5 identifies, comprehends and evaluates historical sources
5.6 uses sources appropriately in an historical inquiry
5.7 explains different contexts, perspectives and interpretations of the past.

Students Learn About:
Post-war Australia
The impact of changing technology on everyday life in post-war Australia:

  • housing
  • home appliances
  • entertainment
  • transport
  • communications

Students Learn To:
outline the impact of the main technological changes over time on everyday life in post-war Australia, based on a selection of sources.

Decade Study
The social and cultural features of ONE post-war decade including:

  • fashion
  • music
  • entertainment
  • sport
  • British or American influences on popular culture

- describe the main social and cultural features of the chosen decade
– outline the main influences of Britain or the USA on Australian popular culture of the chosen decade
– assess the impact of the chosen decade in shaping Australian identity

This material is an extract. Teachers and students should consult the Board of Studies website for more information.

Background Information


In the 1953 Hollywood classic The Wild One, Marlon Brando plays a character called Johnny Strabler, a sexy, surly, self-centred young man who loves jazz and hates authority. At one point in the film he gets asked the question, “Hey Johnny, what are you rebelling against?” Famously he replies, “Whattya got?” The answer said it all. Johnny was against anything and everything. And with that, Johnny defined an attitude that young people took to heart.

During the post-war years and the economic boom of the 1950s and 1960s, youth became identified as a distinct social grouping, and 'teens’ were targeted as consumers with unique preferences.

Often teenagers defined themselves by rejecting the values, tastes and choices of their parents. Trends associated with the rebellion included the rejection of institutional marriage traditions, recreational drug use, and a general questioning of the supremacy of the monarchy, the church and the nuclear family. Demanding their individual rights, many grew their hair, and with compact transistor radios close to hand they embraced the rebellious sounds of rock’n'roll.

Classroom Activities

  1. Why does Tim Bowden describe growing up as a teenager in Australia in the 1950s as a ‘strange experience’?
    1. What changed this in the 1960s? List the changes that Tim Bowden describes.
  2. Use the links below to research the history of rock’n’roll in Australia. Use the information that you have found to create an illustrated timeline of the most important people and events in the development of Australian rock’n’roll.
  3. Use the links below to find out more about radio in the 1950s. Use this information to write (and perhaps perform and record) the script for a radio documentary on the importance of radio for teenagers in the 1950s.

Further Resources


Go to From Wireless to Web for more about the history of broadcast media in Australia.

Go to Long Way to the Top, Episode 1, Bed of a Thousand Struggles 1956— 1964, ABC TV

Go to Long Way to the Top, Episode 2, Ten Pound Rocker 1963 – 1968, ABC TV