Today, dress in Queensland can be quite casual, but until the 1960s, most women going into ‘town’– whether in Brisbane, Toowoomba or Townsville – would complete their outfits by wearing a hat and gloves. Male professionals, especially in banking, real estate and the law, still wear formal suits but the suit is usually shed the further north you go. In the 1930s, men had to wear swimming costumes which covered their torso or be threatened with arrest. Just two decades later, bikinis, manufactured and promoted on the Gold Coast, came to define female beach attire. During this era, we gradually saw a change in attitudes as scantily clad men and women moved seamlessly from shore to town. However such informality in dress is still frowned upon in large, car-based shopping malls, our new cathedrals of consumption.

Bennett family films, 1956-1988, Freedom Then, Freedom Now Exhibition