Health Week 1939

My family has retained a booklet published by the Health Association of Australia from 1939 which was issued to school children. I thought it was interesting —perhaps you will also?

The book was principally written by William Alexander Osborne (1873-1967) who was a professor at the University of Melbourne at the time.

Health Week 1939 contains several sections —I have scanned the highlights.

Front Cover

The cover of the Health Week 1939 booklet, showing a silhouette of figures in black-and-white below a banner


Introduction to the brochure
A scan of the introductory page.

Dear Girls and Boys—

This little booklet contains much valuable information and advice. Read it carefully and it will help you to preserve the greatest possession you have: your health!

Just as a captain must have a sound knowledge of the capabilities of his ship and of the correct course to be followed in order that he may steer his vessel safely over the sea, so it is necessary for you to learn all about your body and follow the direction outlined by clear health rules to cross safely the “Ocean of Life”

Some important facts about your organism and a few essential health rules you will find in the following pages presented to you by The Health Association of Australia.

Page 3: Posture Expresses Personality

Page 2 is titled Posture Expresses Personality, with silhouettes illustrating good and bad posture
A scan of page 2, which bears the title “Posture Expresses Personality”.

Girls and boys!

Posture means the way you carry your body, and is a clear and unmistakable expression of the degree of your fitness. By your posture people will judge your efficiency!

Furthermore, by obtaining and maintaining correct posture you will support your health on which fitness and efficiency are dependent. Now, look at these shadow-figures, read the main characteristics of the two different types of posture, and then make your choice! and stick to it!

Keep in mind: Correct posture leads to Health and Fitness.

Correct posture:

  • Head up, chin in.
  • Chest slightly raised. Front well rounded.
  • Abdomen fairly flat.
  • Back curves visible but no section exaggerated.
  • General impression: Naturally balanced and easily carried body of elastic (energetic) appearance.

Poor posture:

  • Head droped, forward.
  • Chest flat and lowered.
  • Abdomen protruding and sagging.
  • Back curves mostly exaggerated: sometimes flattened and showing sideway curves.
  • General impression: Badly balanced (forward leaning) of weak and poor appearance.

Page 7: Meals Suitable for School Children

Meals suitable for School Children
A scan of page 7, showing a table of suggested meals for school childen.

Back Cover: Do you remember last year’s health rules?

Do you remember last year's health rules?
A scan of the back page, with the title “Do you remember last year’s health rules?”.
  1. Stand, sit and walk in an erect and easy manner.
  2. Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
  3. Don’t gulp your food —chew slowly.
  4. Take care of your feet —they carry you through life.
  5. Always try to breathe through your nose.
  6. Go to bed early.
  7. Sleep with your windows open but not in a draught.
  8. Be regular in your habits —especially in cleaning your teeth, going to bed early and keeping your bowels open.
  9. Refresh body and mind with healthy recreation.
  10. Keep yourself clean to be healthy and happy.