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Meat Ration Card

Date: 1948
125 x 128 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Ruth Barnes
Object Name: Ration card
Object No: ANMS1251[011]

User Terms

    Meat rationing was introduced into Australia in January 1944 as part of a larger scheme by the Australian government to manage Australia's primary resources and assist in controlling consumer spending during WWII.

    SignificanceRationing was an integral part to Australia's wartime efforts and became part of day to day life for those at home.
    HistoryMeat rationing was part of a large scale rationing programme introduced by the Australian government and managed by the Rationing Commission. Rationing applied to certain products such as meat, butter, tea, sugar, clothing and petrol. It was a necessary measure to ensure the best use of Australian resources during the new pressures facing a country at war. In addition to supplying the home front and Australian forces overseas, Australia also faced increased demand for exports to the UK and feeding the influx of American troops to the country.
    In general rations and coupon books were accepted by the at home population for a number of reasons. It was a practical way to assist in the war effort and campaigns such as 'Food Is a Munition of War' reinforced the necessity of sacrifice at home for the greater good. The coupon system was also seen as an equalizer amongst the population. Without the coupons, even if you had the money, you were unable to purchase the product so everyone faced the same restrictions.
    Meat rationing was a particular category and generally allowed for approximately 1 kilo of meat per adult a week.
    Poultry, fish, rabbit and meat off cuts were exempt and the coupons applied to beef, lamb, veal and mutton.
    "Meat Coupon Scale. The various classes of meat and cuts are divided into six groups, the ration for each group varying according to the cut and bone and fat content. Under the January, 1944 scale the quantity of rationed meat per adult averaged 2 1/4 lb. per week, children under 9 years receiving half this ration. The present reduced scale for adults averages 1.84 lb. per week." (Australian Bureau of Statistics).
    Housewives on the 'kitchen front' were encouraged by magazines and newspapers to come up with innovative meat free alternatives and the widespread 'Grow Your Own' campaign stressed the importance of growing and consuming your own vegetables and eggs to supplement the average diet.

    William Leeder was born in Western Australia and orphaned at an early age. He went to sea at fourteen. He loved the
    Americas where he spent many years. When he came ashore he worked for some years as a painter and docker at Garden Island. He lived on a yacht at McMahons Point for some years, then moved to Woy Woy where he had a cottage. He was a very private man, but loved boats.
    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Meat Ration Card

    Collection title: William Palmer Leeder Collection

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