Inside the Collection

Back to School lunches

1950s School Lunch Poster, NSW Department of Health
Collection, Powerhouse Museum.

This poster from our collection was issued by the NSW Department of Health in the 1950s. It shows the wise headmaster (in cap and gown) pointing out the formula for a healthy lunch to Jimmy who stands to attention with his hands behind his back. I’m not sure what to make of Jimmy’s expression – surprise or perhaps alarm at the prospect of wholemeal bread and butter with meat and salad or fruit?

The same health message is still promoted today, however, these days taste and variety are just as important in appealing to healthy eating habits. Look at this example about bread from the Children, Youth and Women’s Health Service of South Australia.

Courtesy of Children, Youth and Women’s Health Service of South Australia

The site lists 14 varieties of bread (not counting the “heaps of others”) and is aimed at children shopping for what they like themselves.

I doubt Jimmy (or even the headmaster) would have known more than two varieties of bread – Wholemeal (or Brown) and White.

When I was in school Vegemite sandwiches on white bread were the staple for many of us. What did you have in your sandwiches?

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