Image courtesy of the The Canada Bay Heritage Society

The Canada Bay Museum has a new exhibition open, Family Fun in the Pre-Digital Age.

Before the iPad and iPhone! Before CD and DVD players! Before gaming consoles and TV! Just how did people have fun in the early 20th century?

You might think life would have been so boring. It certainly wasn’t! People made their own entertainment, making do with whatever was on hand.

During the early 20th century we could find many ways to enjoy ourselves. Dances were held regularly by churches, schools and community groups, where the whole family – from the youngest to the oldest – could enjoy an evening out. Card evenings, at home or in a local hall, were another great social event. The 1910-1920s were a boom time for theatres in Australia, where we could be whisked away to exciting foreign places for a couple of hours of romance, horror and adventure.But most of our entertainment was within our own homes. For music many homes had a piano or small reed organ and many happy hours could be spent around these singing the latest songs. If there was no talent for playing a musical instrument there was always the wind-up gramophone and your collection of 78rpm records where you could enjoy singers from all over the world, as well are our own homegrown entertainers, singing their latest songs. Children, and adults too, could sing along and dance around to these tunes. Children would also make their own musical instruments from scraps of cardboard, boxes and other bits and pieces around the house and then form their own musical bands.

Every home would have a collection of board games where all the family could sit around the table after dinner and play their favourites – Snakes & Ladders, Ludo, Scrabble, Monopoly. Card games were popular, from the simple, such as “Old Maid” or “Grab”, to the more adult variety of “Crib”, “Euchre” or “Bridge”.With the coming of the wireless (radio) in the 1920s there was even more to enjoy: serials such as “Search for the Golden Boomerang”, “Dad & Dave”, “Blue Hills”, and “ Mrs ‘Obbs”. There was something for everyone. There were quiz shows, variety shows, talent shows, plays and, always, The News.

In other words, we of an earlier generation had everything that the children of today have – it was just in a slightly different form. We had our outside entertainment, our card and board games, our music and radio. The younger generation has all this, too – but it’s all on their iPad or smart phone.

Come along and see this (family friendly) exhibition, open Wednesdays and Saturdays 10am to 3.30pm. To find out more about the exhibition see here.

When:    Wednesdays and Saturdays, 10am to 3.30pm
Where:   Canada Bay Museum, 1 Bent Street, Concord NSW 2137
Cost:      Free- although donations are always welcome.
Contact: 02 9743 3034

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