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Newcastle Numismatic Society Inc 

Notice Board

Notice Board


Posted on May 9, 2013 at 10:10 AM



In June 1942 the CommonwealthRationing Commission was set up to limit the waste of money and goods, thushelping Australia to support troops fighting abroad.


Petrol rationingwas introduced in October 1940, private cars were allowed enough petrol totravel about 25km a week. Charcoal burners were popular and household gas wasalso used to keep cars moving. When Japan entered the war in 1941 controlsbecame more severe and Australia moved to a total war economy.


John Dedman then Minister for WarOrganisation of Industry announced the rationing of Clothing and Footwear in1941. Sales in clothing shops would be restricted to 75% for 1941 and once theshop had reached its quota the sales had to be stopped for the day. Mass hysteriagripped the women as they rushed to the shops to buy cloths. The manufacture ofcloth was standardised to one thickness, sparking protests that the suits willbe too hot in Townsville and to cold in Hobart, to no avail. In July 1942 the‘victory suite’ was introduced – one style – a single breasted, two- buttoncoat with no buttons on the sleeves and cuffless trousers not more than 48cmwide. It cost 7 pound 7s ($422.50 in today’s money) and required 38 rationcoupons out of an annual allowance of 112 and was expected to last from 9-12months. Waistcoats and double-breasted coats were banned. After a protest thewaistcoat was added to the victory suite in December 1942. Women were advisedto substitute leg paint for stockings, the maximum length for a skirt wasfixed, dolman, balloon and leg-of-mutton sleeves were banned and belts couldnot be wider than the regulation 5cm. Because of the shortage of elastic,panties were to be substituted for bloomers.


Attempts were made to reduce spendingon drink by shortening hotel trading hour and reducing the production of beerand other alcohol products.


Tea wasrationed in July 1942, the limit being 8oz (226 gms) per person for 5 weeks.Coffee substitutes were sought and tobacco was in short supply.

Sugar rationingbegan in August 1942, 1lb weekly and each coupon got 2lb. The manufacture ofnon-essentials was prohibited. These included bath-heaters, lawn mowers, loungesuites and some other furniture, toys, dishwashing machines, men’s eveningwear, garters, suspenders, horse-racing equipment, swimsuits and pyjamas. InNSW pink icing on wedding cakes was prohibited and Christmas cakes werepermitted as long as they did not look like Christmas cake. Confectionary wasrationalised with 6474 varieties on the market being reduced to 80.Cigars wererationed, typewriters were controlled and export of pigeons was prohibited.


Meat rationing was introduced inJanuary 1944, each coupon 3/4lb A group or 1lb B group or 1 1/2lb C group or2lb D group. Some meats were not rationed e.g. poultry, ham, rabbits, bacon andfish. Cooked and preserved meats such as frankfurters, sausages, potted meatsham loaves and canned meat: offal such as tripe and tongue were also notrationed. Because of the complicated system most housewives gave the couponbook to the butcher and asked “what can I get?”


Rationing did not end with the warbut carried on for several years. Sugar rationing ended in1947, Meat andclothing in 1948, Butter and Tea in 1950, Petrol rationing ceased in June 1949but was reintroduced in November 1949 and finally ceased in February 1950.

By A.M



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