This year I turned 60. It’s a milestone birthday I dreaded.
I’ve seen six decades of Australian and world history, from the sunset years of the Menzies era and the clean-cut popsters of Bandstand to what is shaping to be a long period of progressive political and social dominance under new Labor prime minister Anthony Albanese—a world where the likes of Kim Kardashian are the great philosophers of our time, and being an ‘influencer’ on social media is the life’s ambition of Generation Z, just as being a steam-train driver was the career aspiration of my childhood. It has been six decades of torrential social, economic and political change that has been so rapid, so monumental, so comprehensive that the Sydney suburban culture of my 1960s childhood is so remote from Australia today that, to my four-year-old daughter Elizabeth, it will seem as remote and alien as life in ancient Greece, or on Mars.
Embrace Australia’s finest writers: subscribe to Meanjin
Subscriptions start at just $5 a month — which goes directly towards our writers’ fees.