Archie Dickens, Easy on the eyes ... Philips lamps, made in Australia c.1948. Courtesy of Philips Company Archives.

Want to catch the latest buzz on Louie (that fly)? Do you recall why we were all so sweet on Aeroplane Jelly?  Being called upon to ‘do the right thing’? Did you ever have ‘moments like these’ with Minties?

But wait, there’s more. Fancy seeing what the first (surviving) document to be printed in Australia looks like today? (Yes, it just happens to be an ad – a 1796 theatre playbill.)

Welcome to the world of Australian advertising. That bag full of jingles, songs and catchy phrases which stayed in our minds—whether we wanted them to or not.

The Sell: Australian Advertising 1790s to 1990s, which opens at the National Library of Australia, Canberra, on 23 November, celebrates this commercial world. Showcasing over 200 gems from the Library’s advertising collection, from 1912 Electoral Roll posters to an ad that promised ‘the world’s most economical car’ (a Ford for the bargain price of 210 pounds—‘cheaper to run than a horse’), it’s all there, and more, at a bargain price (free).

Although this sort of ephemera was not meant to last, it has – thanks to the expertise of the National Library of Australia’s preservation staff. A wealth of printed materials, from posters and flyers to original artwork and printer’s proofs, letters and brochures, has been unearthed from the National Library’s archives to tell Australia’s advertising story, shedding light on 200 years of iconic (and some lesser known) Australian brands.

The stories of these brands will be familiar to many, evoking a sense of nostalgia as we reflect on how ‘of their time’ they are, while also realising how spectacularly politically incorrect some of them are in today’s marketplace.

For a limited time only, check out:

  • How to choose the best Hills Hoist for you?
  • PD Corsets, for that ‘exquisite shape’?
  • Why the rodeo rider stuck to Akubra hats?
  • Stamina Trousers, ‘for pleasure in leisure’?
  • Henderson’s Honey Kisses, and their ‘poems for the palate’?
  • The Philip Lamps lady who was ‘easy on the eye’?
  • Lofty advice to always fly TAA, the Friendly Way?

The Sell: Australian Advertising 1790s-1990s, opens at the National Library in Canberra on 23 November  2016 and runs until  25 April 2017. Free exhibition.

Media Contact
Sally Hopman                                                                         T    02 6262 1704  
Media Liaison Manager                                                     M   0401 226 697  
National Library of Australia                                          E    shopman@nla.gov.au

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