Don't throw out your old calendar just yet

Easter eggs are in the shops, Autumn is in the air, and the National Library is looking for calendars to add to our 2014 collection. We collect calendars that represent what it is to be Australian and need your help! Tell us your suggestions or if you have a new, unused calendar from this year that you’d like to donate, just email legaldep@nla.gov.au

A look inside some calendars

A look inside some of the calendars from 2014

A calendar is a handy way to keep track of important events, but most people just throw them away at the end of each year and move onto the next one. Here at the National Library, calendars mean much more than this. They document Australian society and culture through their vibrant images, illustrations and advertising, making these ephemeral publications a valuable information resource, both now and into the future. 

Calendars can be important as both individual items and also as part of a collection that changes over time. Compare Sydney today with this tranquil view of Circular Quay from an 1856 calendar with iconic buildings such as Government House and St. Mary's Cathedral.

1856 calendar with views of Sydney

1856 calendar with views of Sydney. nla.pic-an8328157

Or delve into the theatrical world of the early 1900s with London actress Miss Gabrielle Ray, as featured on this calendar from 1908.

Calendar for 1908 with Miss Gabrielle Ray

Calendar from 1908, featuring Miss Gabrielle Ray. nla.pic-an22890891

Calendars can hold valuable clues for researchers. Just imagine, a calendar produced by the local chemist shop in a little country town and handed out to its customers, might be the only record of that business for someone looking to trace the history of the town. It might also show the types of medicines and other goods being promoted or sold at the time and perhaps reflect the changing role that a chemist shop might have in the community – from locally owned to chain store.

Or for those enamoured by the Australian car culture, how fascinating to see how calendars might reflect this. In the 1960s, did flash American cars feature on our calendars? Later, did Holden and Ford predominate? Or was it sleek European or Japanese cars? And after 2017 when the local car industry disappears, what then? Take a look at these catalogue records to find recent examples of car calendars in the Library's collection.

Each year we select calendars that showcase the diversity and quirkiness of Australian life. Examples from the 2014 collection include the South Australian SES Volunteers Association, Australia/NZ Inked Girls, Street Art, Iconic Wartime Australians, Victorian High Country Huts Association, Cricket Australia and many more:

Selection of calendars

Selection of calendars from 2014

We are keen to collect more Australian calendars for our 2014 collection, especially from local communities or subcultures, so share with us your suggestions at legaldep@nla.gov.au

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Comments

Comment: 
Hello, I photograph, design and organise the print of a local calendar each year for the small lower Blue Mountains town of Bilpin in NSW. This is a fundraising venture for the local schools P&C. This is a very small primary school of only 64 students - recently the town was affected by the State Mine Fire. I have a copy of the 2013 and 2014 calendars I can send to include in your collection if you like.
Comment: 
Hi Amanda, we would love to receive a copy of your 2014 calendar for the Library’s collection. We select a sample of calendars so no need to send in a calendar for each year. Our delivery address is: Australian Acquisitions, National Library of Australia, Canberra ACT 2600. Thanks for your support! Julie

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