'No room for luxuries' : aspects of life in a working-class New Zealand community in the 1930s
Isaac, Penelope Sheila
This thesis examines the impact of the great depression on a single working-class community in New Zealand. At the centre of this study is the home. The thesis uses the results of a Housing Survey conducted in 1937 and 1938 to construct a dense sense of the standard of housing in the Dunedin suburb known as The Flat and in turn assesses housing in relation to both family and community perspectives. The discourse of the 'slum' forms part of the investigation. Contemporaries regarded the study area as a slum area, yet the survey revealed that much of the housing was of a satisfactory standard. However, pockets of sub-standard housing revealed sections of the community enduring disproportionate levels of poverty. Oral history defines a human sense of the experience. Standards of sanitation and diet on The Flat are investigated in an attempt to ascertain the extent to which the depression may have affected the health of the community. It will be argued that the household economy reached far beyond the scope of the breadwinner wage and that the home itself generated income. Finally, family size and patterns of marriage form part of the quest to discover whether the depression strengthened or undermined gender relations in the suburb, and the analysis reveals both change and continuity in this community.
Advisor: Olssen, Erik; Brookes, Barbara
Degree Name: Master of Arts
Degree Discipline: History
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Thesis
xiv, 166 leaves ; 30 cm. Includes bibliographical references.