The same is true of many of what were once on the urban fringe but are now the middle-ring suburbs in all our capital cities.
And if we didn’t still have some public housing stock in many of our country towns, people living there on low incomes – including many Indigenous households – would be without an adequate roof over their heads.
Although the Whitlam government restricted the sale of new stock and significantly increased funds for public housing, the waiting lists continued to grow.
In the post-Whitlam era public housing has not fared well.
Land was cheap, much of it left over from the 1920s subdivision boom, and there were none of the high up-front costs now associated with land subdivision.
Most roads were unpaved, the new suburbs were unsewered and precast septic tanks were the order of the day.
What’s left of social equity in the inner cities in Australia is now down to what’s left of this public housing stock.
Opposition leader Robert Menzies seized the ideological initiative on home ownership, promised reductions in the rationing of food and other essentials, and won the election.
One of Troy’s unanticipated heroes is Queensland Liberal senator Annabelle Rankin, the first woman to be appointed as a federal government minister.
Rankin wanted her housing department to develop a research and policy capability, but she was continually thwarted by Treasury, the prime minister’s department and the Public Service Board, which together made the key personnel resourcing decisions and did not like upstart ministers or departments.
As long as they had one income earner – and most did – even quite poor households could get a modest home.
In New South Wales the majority of these houses had fibro cladding; in Melbourne and Brisbane weatherboard was the most common building material.
Governments have paid more and more attention to first homebuyer grant schemes – a quick economic boost – and means-tested rent allowances, while all the hard issues, including the way housing is or isn’t taxed, are deftly avoided.