The Politics & Society Collection illustrates significant political, social, cultural and community events that have shaped the public experiences of all peoples of Victoria since 1835.
The Politics & Society Collection includes banners, badges, documents, regalia, souvenirs, images, realia, furniture and a wide range of other material relating to key events and places in Victoria’s political, cultural and economic history. Of particular interest are public events that have occurred around and within the Royal Exhibition Building, within the central business district of Melbourne, and at other public spaces (eg: the Botanical Gardens, Flemington Race Course, local War Memorials). Defining events include Victoria’s two nineteenth-century international exhibitions, Federation, the First and Second World Wars, Victoria’s Centenary Celebrations and the 1956 Olympics. An emphasis is on behaviour in public space.
Significant collecting areas
- Royal Exhibition Building collection: material from the Melbourne International Exhibitions of 1880 and 1888, plus objects and documents relating to more recent events in the building.
- Federation collection: invitations, souvenirs, stereoscopes, ceramics, photographs, medallions and ephemeral items relating to the opening of the first federal Parliament on 9 May 1901, and the ways that this event has been commemorated in 1951, 1976 and at the Centenary of Federation in 2001.
- Military History Collection: medals, diaries, uniforms, flags, mess tins, magazines, instruction booklets, postcards, identification discs, memorial plaques, photographs, certificates, and other documents reflecting the experience of Victorians in conflict from the Boer War to the Second World War, and the memorialisation of war. The collection embraces both the political discourse of war (official, sanctioned documents and propaganda), and the personal experience while serving overseas. The Military History Collection also encompasses a few uniforms and accoutrement from the nineteenth-century Victorian Volunteer Forces. 16 per cent of this material is on Collections Online, with 64 per cent photographed (12 per cent at high resolution).
- Public Events, including souvenirs, posters, magazines & newspapers, official publications, and ephemeral items relating to key public events in Victoria’s history including the 1934 Centenary of Victoria, 1956 Olympics and 1988 Bicentenary.
- Politics & Protest: badges and ephemeral items relating to public protests and demonstrations around significant international campaigns, eg: the Vietnam War, women’s rights, gay rights, peace and anti-nuclear campaigns.
- Trade Union Collection: banners, badges, certificates and ephemera relating to the history of trade unions in Victoria, and the Eight Hour Day movement.
- Religion and Societies Collection: regalia, ritual books, certificates, seals, publications and ephemera showing a range of public activities by several friendly societies and temperance organisations in Victoria.
- Historical Archaeology Collection, including the Commonwealth Block archaeological assemblage.
Last updated 21 February 2013