Posters – Fact sheet 131
Posters have been used for well over a century as an inexpensive, eye-catching and easily distributed way of selling a product or policy, promoting awareness, reminding people to do something, and encouraging certain kinds of behaviour. They are vivid, immediate and evocative.
The Commonwealth government was quick to realise the value of posters as a communications tool. Some of the earliest posters were those created by the Chief Electoral Officer to remind Australian electors to vote and to instruct them how to cast a legal ballot. Since then the Commonwealth has used posters to encourage people to do all manner of things including to:
- buy bonds
- visit Australian tourist attractions
- celebrate centenaries
- conserve water
- enlist in the armed forces
- understand and use decimal currency
- immunise their children; and
- drive safely.
The Archives' collection contains posters produced by the Commonwealth for all of these purposes and more. We also hold some posters published by State governments, private enterprise and by governments overseas. The tables that follow provide you with a glimpse of the range of material in our collection.
Selected subject list of posters
Posters created by the Commonwealth Advertising Division on behalf of Commonwealth agencies
In 1941 the Commonwealth Advertising Division was established with offices in Sydney and Melbourne. The Division, which operated until 1970, and its successors coordinated the Commonwealth's advertising. The posters created by the Division are for diverse campaigns including for the Egg Board, Road Safety Authority, Victory Bonds, and women in war.