Remembering the jobs of the past

What was your first job? Tonight we look back at the jobs of the past – either ones that no

What was your first job? Tonight we look back at the jobs of the past – either ones that no longer exist, or were different back in the 50s, 60s and 70s.

In the technological age, many of the jobs right now mightn’t exist in 20 or 30 years’ time, and we can hardly predict what’s ahead!

So let’s go back to a time when jobs weren’t performed by robots or computers, just hard-working men and women.

Which do you remember fondly?


Before the machines that set the pins, there was a job for that!



Barber shop

Barber shops are still around but aren’t like they used to be.


Switchboard operator

This was many young ladies’ first job, and was an important one at that.


Copy typist 

Typing was also a popular job, and women would often sit a room all together, typing away.



Remember when the milk man would deliver your milk every morning? The clink of the bottles is so clear in our minds to this day.

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Tailors are also still around, but there were a lot more of them. Most men and women knew a tailor and had regular fittings.


Check outs 

Remember being a checkout chick?



Butchers still exist today, but there used to be many, many more when we were younger – one on most streets, in fact.

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Milk bar 

The old milk bar was an Aussie institution! Working in one let you experience suburban life at its best.

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Garbage men

Long before a truck could pick up the bin itself, there were men hanging off the back of the truck, tipping bins into it.

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Elevator operator 

Remember when David Jones had these in their stores? It was so common even until the 90s.

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  1. I worked in Woolworths Rundle ST on the lolly counter ( not called confectinary then) just for the Christmas holidays, then to John Martins in the office full time.

  2. I helped my husband Grahame deliver milk, in Wallangarra, some houses had four dogs, it was a challenge.

  3. My first job was digging potatoes for one off local vege growers,, 2/6 a bag ,, i was 14 at the time and it was hard work ,,, but hard work did not do us any harm eh,,,,

    • No, Denis, it did not. The young ‘uns nowadays wouldn’t know if their fundaments pointed at the ground if they did what we did then! One of my jobs as a boy in the 1940s was pulling, topping and tailing and bagging swedes. With the frost on the ground and probably another ten degrees wind chill, that razor sharp knife was a worry. Paid to count the fingers after! 😉

  4. Dennis Parry  

    I sold papers on the Valley corner Brisbane when I left School I was 14

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