Introduction The Evidence that History forgot

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63. Tickets, menus and other on-board ephemera.

Much of the ephemera associated with shipping is attractively designed, especially the onboard menus. We have some of these in the display, particularly from the Orient Line. They range in date from the 1930s to the 1950s.


64. Flight brochures

Most of the material on display is Australian and has been generated by Qantas and the domestic airlines, ANA, Ansett, and TAA.

Also on display is an early leaflet issued by the Murray Valley Aerial Services Ltd./Australian Aerial Services Ltd. It has the “aerial route map” on the verso. The service centred on country Victoria and the Riverina, as far north as Broken Hill. The airline operated in this area from 1924 to 1930.


65. Tourist ephemera

We held a major exhibition of our Tourism material in 2003 but we have much more than were on display at that time. Here is a selection of some of our tourism ephemera which has not previously been on show. It includes a collection of napkins, menus and motel cards collected by one family on their trip into North Queensland. There is also a South African item, Everlasting silver leaves from Table Mountain which includes real leaves hand-painted with a native scene. This was sent back from Cape Town “To Daisy from Uncle John 8/12/[19]06.”

Food, Drink and Dining

66. Home brewing

Among the items on display is a folder of material from Edward Knowlton & Son, brewers, of Richmond, Surrey, sent to Mr. W. Bennett, of Williamstown over a period from 1893 to 1901. It includes recipes for brewing your own beer, and for brewing ginger beer.

67. Marmite recipes : Marmite cookery book. ([Sydney?] : Sanitarium Health Food Company, [192-])

68. Vegemite : pure vegetable extract.(Melbourne : Kraft Walker Cheese Co., [195-])

There is also a 1920s brochure promoting Marmite and a 1950s Vegemite cookery book, die-cut in the shape of a Vegemite bottle.

There is an envelope from the 1920s promoting Cadbury’s Cocoa, with a “very amusing novelty enclosed.” The novelty is a cellophane fish which tells you fortune if you place it in the palm of your hand.
We have recently had donated to us by Dr. David Dunstan, Director of the National Centre for Australian Studies at Monash, a collection of books and ephemera on wine. This will be the subject of a forth-coming exhibition.

General Products

69. Product promotional material

This is the merest selection of such material we hold in the collection. It includes a “Writing Case” for Royal Diadem self-raising flour; an advertising flier put out by J. Walch & Sons, Hobart for “The Pelican self-feeding fountain pen”; a “stenoCord” dictation machine; the “Facit TK” calculator, commonly used in offices before electronic calculators and computers; and an Australian icon, the Sidchrome spanner man from 1964.

A brochure for “Radiolite – a discovery for watches” is also on display. This was issued by the Ingersoll Watch Co. Ltd., 1170 Regent Street, London.
Radiolite is the name of the material used exclusively by Ingersolls to make the Dials of their Watches luminous.
The name Radiolite was coined by E. S. Daniels, who started working for Ingersoll in 1892 and opened the London offices in 1904. It was the radio-active paint used on the watch faces.

World War I

70. Lindsay, Norman, 1879-1969.

German atrocities : A terrible record : The call of humanity : Hasten! (Melbourne : Director-General of Recruiting, Victoria Barracks, [1918] 3 p. : ill. ; 51 x 73 cm folded to 13 x 18 cm.

Fold out poster-pamphlet designed to be folded for posting and opened out to poster-sized sheets with text and illustrations on each side. This was a potent force in mobilising Australians during the last recruiting campaign of 1918. Illustrated by Norman Lindsay. Title of folded cover: Hasten! Address label: E. J. Haynes, 8 Fitzroy St., St. Kilda.

It is open at an illustration of a German officer executing Nurse Cavell in Belgium, 12 October 1915.

71. Tate, Frank, 1864-1939.

Our debt to our soldiers : an open letter to the children of Victoria from the Director of Education, Education Department, Melbourne, 20th March, 1916 / [by] Frank Tate. (Melbourne : Albert J, Mullett, Government printer, 1916)

This first appeared as a Supplement to The School Paper, Grades V, and VI, 1st April, 1916. It centres specifically on the Gallipoli Campaign, comparing it to the Charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimean War.

72. War loan .... Buy War Bonds. Melbourne : H.J. Green, Acting Govt. Printer, [between 1914 and 1918] 1 sheet ([1] p.) : ill. ; 15 x 10 cm.

The text begins,

But for the strength of the Empire's Navy, enemy aeroplanes would be over Melbourne.

73. Great Britain. Parliamentary Recruiting Committee.

An outline of the military service act. (London : Parliamentary Recruiting Committee, [1915] 28 cm.

This was for the information of men liable for conscription in Britain in 1915.

Among the other items on display are humorous and romantic postcards sent home to loved ones; an Australian Red Cross notice for Valentine’s Day February 14th 1916 calling for donations of “treats” such as chocolates, jam and toilet paper “for our sick and wounded soldiers at home and abroad.”
There is also a “Collector’s Permit” for the Commonwealth Button Fund collection of “Hospital Day”, Friday 20th October 1916. The Temperance League issued “Prohibition Seals” during the war, with messages such as,
The fighting Navy. The money spent on liquor in Britain since the declaration of War, August 1914, is equivalent to the cost of One Hundred and Fifty Dreadnoughts!!. Defeat or Defence?
Perhaps the prettiest item in the case is a piece of needlework showing a plane sporting the French flag and the Union Jack with the message, “To the Victory 1915.”

World War II

74. Commonwealth Rationing Commission (Australia)

The black market is the traitor's market. Coupons or chaos. (Adelaide : K.M. Stevenson, Govt. Printer, [between 1942 and 1945] 1 sheet, perforated across middle ([4] p.) : ill. ; 38 x 26 cm.

"Issued by authority of the Minister for Trade and Customs and the Commonwealth Rationing Commission." Printed on both sides, and apparently intended to be cut across perforation to be made into 2 separate sheets. Lower sheet contains title: Coupons or chaos.
This is accompanied by examples of coupons and ration books from the Second World War.

75. This man is your friend – Australian – He fights for freedom. (Washington : US Govt. Printing Office, 1942) 26 x 18 cm.

This poster of a digger in a slouch hat was issued to American servicemen during World War II to enable them to recognise their Australian allies.

76. Lotto or Housie Housie. [Melbourne, 194-]

This game of Bingo was produced for the troops as we see from the cover illustration of three diggers playing it in camp.

77. Stay where you are. (London : Issued by the Ministry of Information on behalf of the War Office and the Ministry of Home Security, [1940]) 1 sheet ([2] p.)

This notice was issued to the public in England after the fall of France when fear of invasion was at its height.

78. Australian Red Cross Society.

Prisoner of war and internee camps in the Far East / produced by Australian Red Cross Society. Cover title: Reference map : prisoner of war & internee camps in the Far East. [Melbourne : Australian Red Cross Society, 194-] 1 map : col. ; 47 x 35 cm. folded to 27 x 17 cm.

Map of the prisoner of war and internee camps in Asia including Japan.

Other material deals with War Loans, Air raid Precautions, and a Kit of religious materials for a Catholic service man, issued by the National Catholic Community Service in the US for American GIs. This includes a set of Rosary Beads and a pamphlet, Teaming up for God and country (1942)


79. Nimbin HEMP (Help End Marijuana Prohibition) Embassy ephemera

Nimbin is a small town in Northern New South Wales, about an hour inland from Byron Bay. It was the site of the Aquarius Festival in 1973. Many of the hippies who went to the festival stayed on and formed a commune. Since that time a steady development has taken place and the main economy of the town is now based on alternative culture

On display is a selection of material issued by the people of Nimbin, particularly those involved in the Nimbin HEMP (Help End Marijuana Prohibition) Embassy. The 1998 Let it grow calendar has the caption, “When injustice becomes law resistance becomes duty”, and the man pictured in the field of head-high plants has a thought bubble saying, “For God’s sake let it grow!”
An annual attraction at Nimbin is the Mardi Grass Festival, which takes place on May Day. One of the postcards shows a scene from this. Also among the postcards is Spiders on drugs, issued by New Scientist in 2000 to promote subscriptions to their journal. It shows the results when spiders effected by different drugs spin their webs.

80. The Nimbin leaf [Nimbin, N.S.W. : Radic-Al, 2004?]

This is a mock-up for the first issue of a local magazine, edited by Nimbin musician “Reggae Al.”

Also on display is a set of Weed playing cards, “A novelty card game that explores the fine art of growing pot plants.”


81. Melbourne and Suburban Postal Districts.
This map of the Melbourne postal districts was drawn in 1927. This copy of the map is stamped 5 January 1932. The system was based on the London postal districts. It was replaced by postcodes on 1st July 1967.

82. City Development Association (Melbourne, Vic.)

The South Gate fountain : official opening ceremony programme / City Development Association. (Melbourne : City Development Association, 1959)

This brochure is accompanied by an invitation to the opening of this fountain 1st November 1959. It was on the site now occupied by the Southbank Arts Precinct in Melbourne, on the south side of the Yarra.

83. I prefer a tram conductor (Melbourne, [1989])

This was part of a campaign to prevent the removal of conductors from Melbourne trams. There was a strike that year, but the conductors have now been replaced by ticketing machines.

84. Have you ever wanted to throw a boomerang? If so, visit Bill Onus at Aboriginal Enterprises. Monbulk Road, Belgrave. (Belgrave, [1959])

Bill Onus (1906-1968) was an Aboriginal activist and promoter of Aboriginal culture. He was the person who organised the “Aboriginal Moomba: out of the dark” for the 1950 celebrations and suggested the word “Moomba” for the annual Melbourne celebration. When Harry Belafonte visited Melbourne in 1958 he was filmed learning to throw a boomerang outside the Belgrave shop.

85. Novelty Postcard of Northcote
This is an example of a Valentine’s Mail Novelty postcard. They were printed in England from the turn of the century into the 1920s. The brightly coloured images opened at the centre where you could unfold a set concertina-views of the locality. Northcote had its own card, featuring a trifle incongruously, a smiling African boy.

86. Victorian Centenary

In 1934-1935 Victoria celebrated the centenary of its founding by John Batman. Prince Henry, the Duke of Gloucester, came out to officiate.

We have on display programmes from the opening ceremony 18th October 1934 and the closing, “Commemorative Ceremony” 8th June 1935, as well as a brochure from J. Gadsden Pty Ltd of Abbotsford advertising their lines in flags and bunting required for the celebrations, “The state beflagged will create that festive spirit.”
Sir MacPherson Robertson, the owner of MacRobertson’s Chocolates was one of the most prominent public benefactors in Melbourne at the time. He sponsored the Air race from England to Australia, the most popular feature of the celebrations. He also contributed heavily to establishing the MacRobertson Girls’ High School, formerly the Melbourne Girls’ High School, which opened at their current location on 7th November 1934. An invitation to the opening is among the items on display.


One of the attractions of collecting ephemera is the variety of material on offer. In this case we include some crank, some classic items.

87. Religious ephemera

“Where will you spend eternity?” asks this leaflet from “The Only Way” Ministry of Sunshine, Victoria (1978). A flier handed out to passers-by in Queen Street, the main street of Brisbane, in 1994 by Lyn Moore has a rather urgent tone,

I’ve been told by JESUS CHRIST to call the people of Brisbane to Repentance, and if they don’t Repent of their sins, there will be an Earthquake.

Lyn Moore

Please tell your family and friends.
There is a “Masonic Conspiracy” flier beginning,
Comedians are a confident bunch. But have you ever seen one start a joke with “My father was a Freemason?” Masonry is the one and only subject that the media steers well clear of.

The facts are that the Freemasons are the representatives of Satan on earth.

88. Friedman, Stanton

Crashed flying saucers! UFO’s are real. Explosive new evidence. ([Melbourne] Australian Lighting Pty. Ltd., 1998) 1 p.

“Respected nuclear physicist Stanton Friedman” is perhaps the best-known North American UFOlogist. He tours the world lecturing on such topics as Roswell.

89. Liquor Hours Referendum

This took place on 24 March 1956. The question asked was,
Are you in favour of the extension of Hotel Trading Hours on Week Days until 10 o’clock in the evening?
At the time “early closing” was in force and hotels closed at 6.00 pm. The Victorian Local Option Alliance, the Temperance lobby, produced fliers and stickers, examples of which are on display, with the slogan, “Stick to six in fifty-six.”

There is also on display an earlier piece of prohibition propaganda, “A letter to licensees” issued by the Methodist Social Service Department for the “No Licence Poll” held 8th October 1938; and a single leaf flier, What Don Bradman did not say: Liquor trade impudence! Is there any limit to it? This was a response to an exchange between two radio announcers discussing Bradman’s test century the previous day at Adelaide. They managed to sneak in an endorsement for beer and the Total Abstinence Alliance rang to complain. This flier quotes Bradman as saying, “The most refreshing beverage of all I find is a cup of tea.”

90. Cosmopolitan body love (Australia : Avantcard, [2001])
This promotional card for Cosmopolitan magazine features Sara Maree Fedele from the first Big Brother series. The caption reads, “Lovin’ the body you got.”

91. Iraqi most wanted playing cards (United States Playing Card Co., 2003)

This deck of cards, with details and portraits of the Iraqi high command was first issued in April 2003 by the Defense Intelligence Agency and the US Central Command in Iraq for the troops on the ground. The pack on display was the one issued to cater for public demand.

Small Upright Case

Book ephemera

92. Returns ledger. (Melbourne : Sands & McDougall, 1951)

The centrepiece of this part of our display is an old ledger book used by Footscray book-seller, Neil Swift, for his collection of book-seller’s labels and bookplates.

93. Publisher’s catalogues

On display is a selection of catalogues for children’s Christmas gift book and games.

94. American publications banned (Melbourne : Collins Book Depot [1942?]

This flier was issued by Collins Book Depot probably in 1942 to let their customers know that, although the import of US magazines was banned some could still be obtained from Collins “by subscription.” The “ban” was in the aftermath of Pearl Harbour when authorities were minimising sea traffic. This saw the sudden growth in local Australian publishing of comics and pulp fiction as well as magazines.

Corridor Cases

Household products

95. Promotional brochures

On display is a selection of brochures for household appliances, fashion and furnishings. These include one for the classic early 1950s Kelvinator. For many this was the first fridge superseding the ice chest.
A more recent brochure is “Turning your gas supply back on safely”, issued in 1998 by the Victorian Government in the aftermath of “the tragic explosion at Esso’s Longford processing plant on Friday September 25.” The gas supply was turned on again in Victoria on 14 October.

96. Signs and Labels

Labels are among the most common forms of ephemera. Before the advent of the “Cash ‘n Carry”, self-service stores, grocery shops had their lines for sale in tins on the counter or on the shelves. The earliest example in our collection is from a Guests cake tin, dated on the back “Nov. 1893.” We see on display some of the labels from the tins of the South Melbourne firm, Lagoon Confectioners. The Quince label is from Tasmania. The metal “Wundawax floor polish” sign, with the slogan, “There’s no energy tax with Wundawax”, would have been in a grocery store. The Foodland sign is from the early 1960s, when small suburban self-service stores were going into partnerships.

1 The Historian’s craft, Manchester 1954, p. 66.

2 Making the market: the rise of the consumer society, Fitzroy 1989.

3 The Australian dream: design of the Fifties, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, 1993.

4 Frédéric Le Play, Les Ouvriers Européenes as quoted in Frédéric Le Play On Family, Work, and Social Change, edited by Catherine Board Silver, Chicago 1982, p. 177.

5 Brian Dickey, “A family record of income and expenditure”, Australia 1939-88 Bulletin, no. 1 May 1980, pp. 24-5 idem., “A tale of two houses”, ibid, no. 2, December 1980, pp. 43-52; idem., “On living a petit bourgeois life, ibid, no. 3, May 12981, pp. 41-48.

Exhibition catalogue: Ephemera

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