I thought I’d talk about rationing in Australia in World War 2. For the first time, Australia actually felt threatened, and it went into War Mode very quickly. People really pulled together because of the perceived threat from Japan.

Chocolate was available only if you knew an American, because:

Rationing regulations for food and clothing were gazetted on 14 May 1942 and the idea was to curb inflation, reduce total consumer spending, and limit potential shortages of essential goods by ensuring an equitable distribution of food and clothing. But Australians were never as short of food nor rationed as heavily as civilians in the United Kingdom. Rationing was limited to clothing, tea, sugar, butter, and meat, but from time to time, eggs and milk were also rationed under a system of priority, so that it only went to those who really needed it during periods of shortage. You were allocated coupons, which had to be traded for the rationed item.

It was actually rather healthy, the lack of excess that came with rationing. In Australia, the weekly food ration was:

Meat 900g
Butter 225g
Sugar 450g
Tea 90g

On beef-less days it was an offence to buy, sell or eat beef. The ‘Australian Women’s Weekly’ ran a competition for the best meatless recipe. The winning recipe was for mock sausages:

‘Boil one cup rolled oats in three-quarters cup salted water for 15 mins, then add finely chopped onion to flavour. Mix well, empty into basin. When cool add one beaten egg, pepper and herbs to taste, one cup breadcrumbs. Shape into sausages, roll in flour and fry in deep boiling fat until golden brown.’

What is really interesting is how long rationing went on for after the war ended:

Item Date gazetted Date abolished Quantity per adult
Clothing 12 June 1942 24 June 1948 112 coupons per year
Tea 6 July 1942 July 1950 lb per 5 weeks
Sugar 29 August 1942 3 July 1947 2 lb per fortnight
Butter 7 June 1943 June 1950 1 lb per fortnight
Meat 14 January 1944 24 June 1948 2 lbs per week

Ending rationing was one of the promises of the Menzies Liberal Party – and it won power by a landslide in 1949!