Letter 9 ~ Flappers


The 1920s was an era of social and cultural revolution across the world. In Australia, a new trend emerged that challenged traditional gender roles and conservative values. This trend was known as the Flapper - young women who embraced a new sense of freedom and independence, challenging societal norms through their fashion choices, behavior, and attitudes.

During the 1920s, Australia was still recovering from the aftermath of World War I. The war had brought about significant changes in society, and women had been given new opportunities to work and contribute to the country's economy. As a result, women began to embrace a new sense of freedom and independence that challenged traditional gender roles. Flappers were a representation of this new sense of freedom - they wore shorter skirts, bobbed their hair, and adorned themselves with makeup and jewelry. They also smoked, drank, and danced the night away, challenging conservative values and notions of femininity. This behavior was in stark contrast to the conservative values and traditional gender roles of the time, which dictated that women should be modest, domesticated, and subservient to men.

Flappers in Australia faced backlash and criticism from older generations who viewed their behavior as immoral and unacceptable. However, many young women embraced the new trend and saw it as an opportunity to express their individuality and assert their independence. Flappers became a symbol of female empowerment, challenging societal norms and inspiring a new generation of women to fight for their rights.

The Flapper trend had a significant impact on the fashion industry in Australia, with designers and retailers catering to the new trend. Shorter skirts, sleeveless dresses, and low waistlines became popular, as did accessories such as headbands, long necklaces, and feather boas. The cosmetics industry also saw a boom, with women using makeup to enhance their features and express their individuality.

Despite the backlash and criticism, the Flapper trend continued to gain popularity throughout the 1920s, and its influence can still be seen in modern fashion and culture. Flappers represented a new era of freedom and independence, challenging traditional gender roles and inspiring a new generation of women to fight for their rights.



Dame Nellie Melba was one of the most famous Australian sopranos of the 20th century. Born Helen Porter Mitchell in Melbourne, she adopted the stage name of Nellie Melba in honour of her hometown.

Melba made her debut in 1887 and quickly became known for her clear and powerful voice. She went on to perform at some of the most prestigious opera houses in the world, including Covent Garden and the Metropolitan Opera.

During the 1920s, Melba was still performing at a high level despite being in her fifties. She continued to tour extensively and was particularly popular in the United States and Europe. She was the first Australian to be granted the title of Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1918, in recognition of her contributions to music.

One of Melba's most notable achievements during the 1920s was the establishment of the Melba Conservatorium of Music in Melbourne. The conservatory was founded in 1915 and provided training to young musicians in Australia. Melba was deeply involved in the conservatory and served as its director until her death in 1931.

In addition to her musical career, Melba was also a noted philanthropist during the 1920s. She was involved in numerous charitable causes and donated significant sums of money to various organisations, including the Australian Red Cross Society and the Victoria League.

Melba's legacy continued to be felt long after her death. Her name became synonymous with excellence in the world of opera, and her recordings continued to be cherished by music lovers for decades. In fact, the term "Melba record" was often used to refer to a high-quality recording of an opera performance.

Today, Dame Nellie Melba is remembered as one of the greatest sopranos of all time. Her influence on the world of music is undeniable, and her contributions to the art form will continue to be celebrated for generations to come.


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