As we celebrate Canberra Day 2018, it is timely to reflect on the city fifty years ago. A story about Canberra is included in the Library’s new exhibition 1968: Changing Times. While researching for the display I was amazed to discover the scale of development the nation’s capital experienced in the 1960s. A tourist map of the city provides a snapshot of the urban sprawl of Canberra in 1968; compared with today, it had a much smaller footprint. The Library’s collections include important material, such as this map, which is featured in the exhibition.
Shout, shout, up with your song!
Cry with the wind, for the dawn is breaking;
March, march, swing you along.
Cicely Hamilton/Ethel Smyth, 1911
December 2017 will mark the centenary of the 1917 conscription plebiscite in Australia. For the second time during World War I, Australia declared 'no' in response to the question of conscription proposed by then Prime Minister Billy Hughes. By 1917, voluntary enlistment had waned and conscription was proposed to keep up with troop requirements overseas. The question of conscription was debated across Australia and was divisive politically, socially and religiously.
Recently, a book with its title printed simply on a brown dust jacket went on display in the Treasures Gallery. Like many items in the Gallery, what makes it a treasured collection item may not be immediately obvious (I am reminded to not judge a book by its cover). It is a first edition of Henry Handel Richardson’s (1870–1946) novel The fortunes of Richard Mahony: Australia felix (1917), which was among the author’s personal papers, now preserved in the Library’s Manuscripts Collection.
Japan, 1868: an uncertain and tumultuous cultural landscape. Stories of poisoned husbands and murdered lovers. Tales of women turned evil, wreaking havoc upon those around them. Countless tales of unrequited love.
A policeman’s lot was certainly not a happy one in colonial Brisbane, a rough frontier town with an exploding population and alcohol fuelled violence.
Dr Jackie Dickenson and Associate Professor Robert Crawford know a selling culture. Both have been avid observers and researchers of many different aspects and histories of the Australian advertising industry.
As Alan Bennett wrote in his play, The History Boys:
“History is a commentary on the various and continuing incapabilities of men. What is history? History is women following behind with the bucket.”
As we mark another International Women’s Day on 8 March 2017, and in the midst of #nastywomen hashtags and pink pussy hats, I decided to explore the Treasures Gallery to see who I might discover ‘following behind with the bucket’.
This new acquisition arrived too late to be considered for inclusion in the National Library’s The Sell exhibition, which already has three examples of corset advertising, from Belgian and English companies P. D. Corsets and Pretty’s, as well as the well-known Australian brand Berlei.
Days, weeks, months and years associated with particular causes are an often advertised feature of contemporary calendars, but “towel week” is an obscure occasion not many people are likely to recall celebrating.