Introduction The Evidence that History forgot



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Ephemeral money

Pound notes and dollar bills have often been used for graphics by groups wishing to catch the public’s attention. Election campaign propaganda, with its mixture of personalities and economic policy seems to present irresistible opportunities for this form of ephemera.


30. Money as propaganda

From 1932 we see “One Lang: starvation debenture”, an anti-Jack Lang piece produced by the United Country party for the 1932 NSW elections. Labor lost.


From the 1955 Federal election we see an ALP piece based on the One Pound note, with the message, “Out Menzies for the common good of Australia.” A picture of “Doc” Evatt, the leader of the ALP, appears on the note. Labor lost.
There is a “3 dollar bill” featuring Malcolm Fraser, the Liberal Party Prime Minister, from 1977; and a “15 dollar bill” attacking the Queensland Premier, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, from 1983, with the caption, “15 years of rigged democracy.” Also from 1983 is a “22 dollar bill” attacking the current PM, John Howard, after “22 years in Canberra”, with the caption, “This note is as phoney as Howard’s promises.”
From the 1993 election we have a bill based on the $5 note but apparently worth only $4.25. This was an attack on the Liberal Party’s proposal to introduce a Goods and Services tax, which would mean “15% loss of your money.” The ALP’s Paul Keating was successful in defeating the Liberals under John Hewson.
There are also on display examples of money used to advertise financial advice seminars and similar services., One features the Sydney financier Rene Rivkin. It is a 2001 offer of a 3 month subscription to the Rivkin Report “for only $100.” Sir John Monash is the face on another advertising $100 bill. This is for the Bayside Financial Centre.
The US $10,000 dollar note with Mona Lisa on the front is part of a Christian response to The Da Vinci Code. It gives details of an offer of $10,000 to anyone who can prove the allegation in the novel that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and they had a child.
The Million dollar note has the Sydney Opera House on one side and Ned Kelly on the other. It was put out by a religious group, “Way of the master”, with the message,
The million dollar question. Will you go to Heaven? Here’s a quick test. Have you ever told a lie, stolen anything or used God’s name in vain? Have you looked with lust? Which is adultery of the heart in God’s eyes. Will you be guilty on Judgment Day? If you have done these things, God sees you as a lying, thieving, blasphemous adulterer-at-heart. The Bible warns that if you are guilty you will end up in Hell.

31. Japanese Occupation Money.
On display are examples of the money printed by Japan for use in their “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere”, the countries occupied by their advancing forces during World War II. The pesos were for the Philippines, the dollars for Malaya, the guilders for the Dutch East Indies and the pounds and shillings for New Guinea and Australia.

National and State Celebrations

32. Federation


Federation took place in 1901; the celebrations centred on the opening of the Federal Parliament in the Melbourne Exhibition Building in May 1901. The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and Kent came out to Australia to officiate.
On display is an invitation to the “Conversazione” on the evening of 7th May 1901. The elaborate design features the Exhibition building surrounded by vignettes of each state capital, portraits of the Duke and Duchess and of native flora and fauna. The motto in the scrollwork at the top reads,

United Australia. 1901. One flag. One hope. One destiny.


Also we see a ”Meal ticket” for the NSW Government Celebrations, to the value of threepence issued by the Committee for Treating and Entertaining the Poor. The ticket reads,
Please supply bearer one meal to the value of 3d. and charge it to the Govt. of New South Wales.

33. Moomba

This festival is held in Melbourne during the Labour Day long weekend (the first Friday to the second Monday in March. It is run by the Melbourne City Council. The first Moomba was in 1955, and we have on display a flier for that year which explains what the organisers set out to do.


In Pasadena it’s the Tournament of Roses

Nice in France the Battle of Flowers

In Scotland the Edinburgh Festival of Arts

Now it’s Moomba in Melbourne

Melbourne’s Answer! This is the first time in Australia that such a programme of music, sport and culture has been presented during two weeks of carnival. Come to Moomba and enjoy.
The word was chosen because the organisers were told it was Aboriginal for, “lets get together and have fun.” More recently, experts have claimed that it means something like, “Up your bum,” and that the Aborigines were making a joke at our expense. Its first use was in “An Aboriginal Moomba: Out of the Dark”, a theatrical piece put on during the Arts Festival for the 1951 Commonwealth Jubilee celebrations
In any case, Moomba is still celebrated, and is a great favourite with familles, with its parade of floats, and fireworks on the Yarra.
As well as the programme from the 1955 Moomba, we have the special menu for the Scott’s Hotel official Moomba dinner from 1957 and the official programme for 1958, accompanied by a Moomba flag.

The Bomb

34. Householders' handbook for nuclear warfare / issued by the Director of Civil Defence for N.S.W. (Sydney : Director of Civil Defence for New South Wales, 1962)


During the Cold War period of the 1950s and 1960s there was widespread fear that nuclear war would break out. Governments felt a responsibility to inform the public as to the best means of coping with the after-effects of an atom bomb.

Motor cars

35. New car brochures

Among the items on display are brochures promoting the original 1950 Holden, and, a local curiosity, the Lightburn Zeta, “Australia’s own second car.” This was manufactured by the Adelaide white-goods manufacturer, Harold Lightburn from 1963 to 1965. Only 400 were sold.


An early piece of motoring associated ephemera is a four page advertisement for “The Moss Electromatic gate operator”, manufactured by H. G. Moss, 7 Murphy Street, Garden Vale, around 1930. The caption reads,
Like invisible hands – opening & shutting the gate.

Opens itself – shuts itself.






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