Donald Horne's The Lucky Country claimed that Australia was one of the first nations to find part of the meaning of life in the purchase of consumer goods. Significantly, similar views had been expressed in the late 18th century, where everyday life in the antipodean outpost of Empire was regarded as being pecuniary and acquisitive in nature. While references to Australia as a consumer society continue to be made, the question of how Australia came to be so has attracted less attention. The chapters in Consumer Australia actively redress this omission by examining the ways in which the processes of selling, buying, and exchanging have characterised the experiences of consumption in every day Australian life. Prepared by leading and emerging scholars, the chapters in this unique collection critically explore the different ways that Australians have consumed products, brands, and even consumption itself from the 19th century and through the 20th century. By charting the growth and development of consumption in Australia, Consumer Australia reveals how Australia came to be a consumer society and asks where it is headed.
Robert Crawford is Senior Lecturer in Public Communication at the University of Technology, Sydney. He is the author of But Wait, There's More...: A History of Australian Advertising, 1900-2000 (2008) and co-edited Australians in Britain: The Twentieth Century Experience (2009). Judith Smart is Principal Fellow at the University of Melbourne and Adjunct Professor at RMIT University. She is a past editor of Australian Historical Studies and present editor of the Victorian Historical Journal. She is currently working on a history of the National Council of Women of Australia 1931-2006. Kim Humphery is Associate Professor and Deputy Head of the School of Global Studies, Social Science and Planning, RMIT University. He is the author of Shelf Life: Supermarkets and the Changing Cultures of Consumption (1998) and Excess: Anti-Consumerism in the West (2009).