The Antipodean Hog Farm: Youth Subcultures, Human Ecology and Investigations into the Lifeways of Australia’s Hippies

01st June 2006

Kristjan W.M. Farmen

MA, Department of Archaeology, Flinders University, March 2005

The phenomenon of youth culture is a product of the post- World War II period of the last half of the twentieth century. This movement was linked to the rise of modern consumer culture after the war, the trend of both mothers and fathers working outside the home and leaving their older children to their own devices, and to those older children being stuck in a delayed maturity created by keeping them in school until their late teens. Working jobs after school gave these teenagers access to spending money, and they used the trappings of modern consumer culture to define a group of subcultures all their own. This way of life and the identification of the self with a particular subculture often continued into their early twenties.

The research presented in this thesis examines one of these subcultures, the Hippies of Australia, as a case study within the broader realm of the world of youth in the late twentieth century. The research uses the tools and techniques of the archaeologist to investigate a historical phenomenon, and is informed by a theoretical background of human ecology and behavioural ecology.

Participation in consumer culture is seen here as a strategy for humans to obtain the necessities and luxuries of life, within certain socially-defined parameters. Models are built to predict the spatial patterning of both an ideal Hippie commune, based on the literature and oral history interviews with former Hippies, and a settlement of the straight world, that which the Hippies strove to escape.

The abandoned Hippie settlement of Yacca Creeks, dating from 1978 to 1984, on Kangaroo Island, South Australia, was selected for investigation. Data gleaned from this site reveal a largely communal resource acquisition strategy centered on the community, particularly with respect to housing, but dependent on input from the straight world for food and transportation energy.

Kristjan W.M. Farmen
The Antipodean Hog Farm: Youth Subcultures, Human Ecology and Investigations into the Lifeways of Australia’s Hippies
June 2006
62
63-64
Thesis Abstracts
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