Kissing games in the National Archives

Media release: Thursday, 9 October 2008

Kissing games, small busts and fickle fiancés were major concerns for teenagers in 1961, according to the National Archives' latest Find of the Month.

Copies of Teenagers' Weekly, a supplement to the Australian Women's Weekly from 1959 to 1964, have been preserved in the National Archives, as part of the copyright registration requirements of the time.

The edition of 25 January 1961 includes letters from teens, a romance story, fashions, beauty tips and an agony aunt advice column. Photographs of 16-year-old singer Patsy Ann Noble's birthday party showed a young Peter Allen as one of the guests, while a pin-up of 60s pop idol Bobby Rydell (real name Adrio Ridarell) graced the back page.

'The magazine really gives an insight into Australian society of the time,' said researcher Jane Ellis from the National Archives.

'It was obviously an era when women were seen primarily as home-makers. The cover line on the main magazine – 'Princess Margaret: the Happy Housewife' – testifies to this.'

Despite the defined roles for men and women, Teenagers' Weekly took the daring step of advising young men on how to survive in the kitchen – and the laundry. An article 'Baching can be fun for boys' give tips on how to boil vegetables and also advises on the intricacies of using a washing machine.

In the days before cosmetic surgery, a reader who complained of a 'slight bustline' was told 'don't be afraid to wear falsies'.

See the October Find of the Month.

Contact information

  • Elizabeth Masters (Media Officer)
    t (02) 6212 3957 m 0427 853 664 e elizabeth.masters@naa.gov.au
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