Wanted! Federal Election Ephemera

A badge with a love heart and federal election ephemera written on it

Australians are bombarded with campaign material during elections—flyers, policy statements, how-to-vote cards, balloons, banners, posters, and the list goes on. But instead of throwing it away please help us collect it.

We add original printed campaign material to our holdings for each Australian federal election, and are particularly interested in material from marginal electorates, communities with concerns about health services, industrial relations, education, the mining industry and climate change. We are keen to collect material from regional or remote electorates as well as those in the metropolitan centres.

If you, your colleagues, friends and/or relatives have access to this material (we want published original material, not photocopies or digital files) send it to us to add to the national collection:

The Ephemera Officer
Printed Australiana
National Library of Australia
Parkes Place

You can also drop-off material at the Library, but please phone ahead and make arrangements with the Ephemera Officer 02 6262 1180 before you visit.

Online Election material is also collected by the National Library of Australia’s Pandora service and delivered through the new Australian Web Archive. This year we expect to collect nearly 1000 websites, including political parties, candidates and lobby sites as well as media and social media. Suggestions for archiving can be sent through our nominations form.

Your help in assisting us to collect and preserve this important documentary record is greatly appreciated.

Why we collect

We aim to collect printed federal election campaign materials as comprehensively as possible—one copy of all published leaflets, handbills, posters, policy speeches, press statements, pamphlets, letters and reports to constituents, novelties and how-to-vote cards: in other words, all printed matter produced by individual candidates, political parties and lobby groups in the run-up to the vote.

Explore the finding aid to Federal election campaign ephemera, 1901-2019 (PDF, 550KB). 

Political ephemera provides a unique perspective into Australia’s social life and political landscape—the rise and fall of policies, issues, parties and careers. The way in which these sorts of documentary heritage items are presented to the electorate by parties, candidates and lobby groups is in and of itself interesting to researchers—the papers and colours used, dye-cut and printing finishes, variations in size/proportion of the stickers, buttons, posters, handbills or letters—as well of course as the messages contained within.