Why Growing Up in 1980s Australia Was Bloody Awesome

Lana Graham
Aug 27, 2019 · 3 min read
Photo by author — I loved a good Maccas birthday party in the 80s

Growing up in 1980s suburban Sydney was great. The summers were long and hot. Perfect weather for a singlet and thongs.

Endless hours were spent on the slip n slide, or if you were lucky, in the backyard pool. The winters were when you dreamed of a White Christmas, but wore a singlet and pair of thongs and were just fine, mate.

Next year will mark 40 years since the beginning of that awesome, politically-incorrect, spandex-loving decade.

I’m an 80s child. Do I feel old? Yeah, a bit. But it also means I can look back with nostalgia on the decade of my childhood that shaped me into the adult I’ve now become.

Why it was totally awesome growing up in 1980s suburban Australia:

  • All-you-can-eat Sizzler. We went straight for the ice cream machine and that was dinner sorted for the night. Plus the bread. That was pretty good, too
  • If we weren’t eating at Sizzler then we were dining at Black Stump. Because they were famous for their steaks.
  • We played cricket on the street or in our backyard with all our mates
  • We walked to and from school by ourselves
  • We played outside until it was dark and helicopter parenting didn’t exist
  • We crimped our hair and went out in public
  • We knew rollerblades were way cooler than roller skates
  • We owned a hypercolour t-shirt that wasn’t so hypercolour after a few washes
  • We had penpals from all over the world who always asked if we had kangaroos in our backyard (to which we undeniably told them we did)
  • Going to Australia’s Wonderland was the Best Day Ever, even if we weren’t tall enough to ride the Bush Beast roller coaster yet
  • We watched Hey Hey It’s Saturday, It’s a Knockout and Perfect Match
  • If we wanted to change the television channel we had to physically get up and do it. And there were only 5 channels to choose from
  • We pretended to smoke Fags lollies
  • During the summer holidays, we rented 6 weekly videos from the local video shop and watched them all in one night

There’s a lot more 1980s awesomeness that I’m probably forgetting to include here. Australia’s such a diverse country that it’s hard to encapsulate those experiences and feelings into one small list.

I grew up in a very multicultural suburb of Sydney, where most parents were immigrants and English wasn’t their first language. But we all understood each other.

We found a way to have fun in a world that was rapidly changing. We might not have had iPads or Minecraft, but we did have BMX bikes and Spokey Dokes on our wheels.

We were an outdoor generation. We made our own fun. We were independent. We loved a good mixtape. We dreamed big.

We were Aussie kids growing up in the 80s.

And it was bloody awesome.

If you liked this article, read more like it from Lana:

Lana Graham is Editor of Mama Write. She writes about parenting and her writing journey and lives in Sydney, Australia with her partner (her rock) and their three amazing sons. If you’d like my 3 Top Tips for being a successful new writer on Medium, then click here.

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Lana Graham

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Editor of Mama Write. Lover of tea and planner geek. Mama of 3 sons from Sydney, Australia. Visit my website at lanagraham.com.au

Mama Write

Be a Mama and a Writer

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