You know you grew up in Australia in the 1970s if . . .

If your childhood or teen years happened to fall in the 1970s, you probably have a lot of fond memories of that time. It seemed to be an innocent era where disco reigned supreme and everyone had a haircut that made them resemble Chia Pets.

Here’s a quick look back on some of the best (and worst) things from that time.

20 cents bought a lot of lollies
Deciding between Redskins, Milkos or Choo Choo bars at the tuck shop was a daily problem.

There were gobstoppers and conversation lollies, all-day suckers and fruit tingles. There were Hoadley’s Polly Waffle and the original Violet Crumble bars, Minties and Fantales came in boxes not plastic or cellophane bags.

And remember going to the corner shop to buy assorted lollies in a bag?

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Read more: Five best ‘forgotten’ lollies

A private phone call depended on the length of your phone cord
There was no such thing as a mobile phone in the ’70s. If you wanted to have a conversation without your mum or dad or siblings overhearing, you had to get creative.

Wherever the home phone was located, usually in the kitchen or hallway, the challenge was to see how far the cord would stretch so you could get a bit of privacy. Lucky you if it reached a room with a door!

You had a money box from a bank

The only problem was you couldn’t get the money out without opening the bottom with mum’s good can opener.

If you were crafty you could slide a knife in at an angle to retrieve some coins one at a time!

You played these playground games
Marbles, jacks, hopscotch, cat’s cradle and skipping. Bonus points if your jacks were actual knucklebones.

You remember these school lunches

Just look at this lunch menu from Berala School canteen in 1974. it included such delights as meat pies, sausage rolls, cheese sandwiches and cool treats such as snow pops and ice-cream buckets. Salad was the most expensive thing on the menu at 15c. It’s a miracle the kids weren’t napping in class, but their taste buds sure were happy.

Read more: Classic dinner party menus from the 1950s to the 2000s

Antibacterial wipes weren’t invented yet
Your mum probably wiped your face with spit on a hanky.

Safety features were limited
Seat belts and bike helmets weren’t mandatory.

You survived getting splinters from wooden seesaws and burning the backs of your legs on a metal slide.

If you asked to go as fast as possible on the roundabout, you had to hold on for dear life.

You remember random fast-food jingles
Does anyone recall the KFC jingle from 1978? “A drive isn’t funny, on an empty tummy, thank goodness for Kentucky Fried”.

Or the McDonald’s Big Mac song? “Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.”

The fashion stakes were high
Mood rings, wildly high platform shoes, psychedelic prints and flares.

You wanted hair like Farrah Fawcett
Every decade has its one iconic pop-culture hairstyle, and Farrah Fawcett’s antigravity hairstyle was the coif du jour of the ’70s. Her blonde locks bounced as she roller-skated and played tennis in the opening credits of Charlie’s Angels.

In fact, it was so popular that she partnered with Faberge and released a whole haircare range.

Read more: Style icons who defined the fashion of a decade

Mixed tapes were made with love
The perfect present was a bulk pack of black cassette tapes. You’d anticipate the hours spent listening to the radio with your finger hovering over the record button to create the perfect gift or playlist.

The humble pen was your only tool to fast forward and rewind.

Shag carpeting
Chances are your parents had shag carpeting in at least one room in your home. Many people think it looks awful, but there was nothing quite like letting your body sink into it after school.

Any true ’70s kid will remember the absolute betrayal of touching a doorknob after shuffling around on a shag carpet.

You were always on your bike
Bonus points if you pegged a playing card to your spokes or had coloured streamers on your handles. It was pretty much unheard of to see a kid wearing a helmet on their bike in the 1970s. It was almost like admitting to the other kids that you were expecting to crash.

The street was our playground
There were no iPads to keep us busy, so we were sent off to play outside until the street lights came on and it was dinner time.

You ate Paddle Pops and Sunnyboys

You watched these TV shows
The Curiosity Show amazed you every Friday afternoon and you got up early to watch The Thunderbirds on a Saturday morning.

Mr Squiggle, Sesame Street, and Fat Albert probably fitted in there somewhere too.

How many of these do you remember? What else would you add to the list?

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Ellie Baxter
Ellie Baxter
Writer and editor with interests in travel, health, wellbeing and food. Has knowledge of marketing psychology, social media management and is a keen observer and commentator on issues facing older Australians.
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