Strangers dancing with each other from Wollongong to Port Kembla, streets wild with jubilation, the threat of war finally lifted - it was an outpouring of physical and emotional joy on the day the Japanese surrender meant World War II, which took more than 39,000 Australian lives, was finally over.
Two sisters-in-law have told the Mercury how people reacted once the news came through that almost six years of wartime weight and struggle might now be lifted from their shoulders.
On August 15, 1945, Ursula Duncan was aged 16 and working at Hunter's shoe store opposite David Jones in the centre of Wollongong. As soon as the news broke, work was over, for everyone, and having been released from the trauma of a world war, strangers embraced each other in public.
"It was only about 9.30 in the morning ... we weren't there very long, and the news came over that the war ended," Mrs Duncan, now living in Bomaderry, said.
"What I remember was all the work whistles went off, and all the ships' horns were blowing - everyone got really excited.
"It didn't matter who you knew, everyone was just happy together.
"All the shops all closed and we danced the hokey-pokey up and down Crown St.
"You didn't know everybody, everybody just had the hands on the hips of somebody else and went dancing up and down Crown St."
Mrs Duncan, about to turn 91, has a smile that can still light up any room. Perhaps it was formed in August 1945.
"It was a wonderful feeling," she said. "And to hear all the sirens going off - because Port Kembla then was quite an industrial area - and the works whistles ... there were horns tooting everywhere.
"I stayed in Wollongong for a while celebrating there and then I got a bus home to Port Kembla and joined the celebrations there.
"Everybody was just soaking it in and being joyful with each other," she said.
"It was a feeling that you'll never forget.
"I still consider myself a black and white - a Port Kembla girl."
Mrs Duncan had a cousin who served in New Guinea - "he came home from there, but he was never the same".
Her sister-in-law Fay Duncan, 88, was 13 and a student at the Wollongong Home Science School on Smith St - "to go to any secondary school in those days you had to go to Wollongong" - when the news came through.
"We were all in class, and they called an assembly, and they announced the war is over, there's no more school for the day, you can all go home," Mrs Duncan said.
"We all jumped up and cheered, that's for sure.
"Everyone was just jubilant. It was great excitement ... it was just brilliant."
Fay Duncan now lives in Jamberoo but grew up in Lake Heights - "in the shadow of those big anti-aircraft guns they had perched on the hills around us to defend BHP".
"They'd wipe out the steel industry ... that would have been the main thing they'd want to bomb if they decided to bomb the place," she said.
"I remember a lot about the Second World War - you don't grow up through that without remembering a lot."
On top of their lived experience, most people had at least one personal connection to the war - Fay's uncle was captured and held by the Japanese as a prisoner of war in Singapore.
"Oh yes, the war had a big effect on all of us growing up - very big," she said. "We were often called on to go on marches down the street with soldiers, down Crown St.
"We weren't always told everything that was going on. It wasn't until about 10 or 15 years ago that I found out about how much they really bombed Darwin. They kept all those things secret from the people in the wartime."
And after all those terrible years, the community came together on the streets to mark the end of the worst time they'd ever had.
"I know that in Port Kembla they all got out dancing in the streets," Fay said. "They would have been everywhere in town. That photo they keep showing you of that man in Sydney dancing in the street - everyone was doing that, everywhere. It was a jubilant time."