Drugs: a social history

Past Event: 9 May 2008 to 5 October 2008

Vincents A.P.C. advertisement, Women’s Weekly, 25 February 1950.

Exploring the social history of drugs – legal and illicit – in Australia.

From smoking cannabis for asthma relief to using opium-laced syrups to calm teething infants, this insightful exhibition examines Australia’s drug taking history.

This exhibition explores the social history of drug use in Australia, highlighting major drug-related events that have impacted on its society. Society's attitudes have changed dramatically, yet some of the most lethal recreational drugs are still legal and widely available.

The exhibition uses images, objects and film to highlight key episodes in Australia’s drug taking history and explores our love-hate relationship with drugs, revisiting pivotal moments in Australia's drug-taking history. From sly-grog to safe injecting, Bex to the billboard group BUGAUP, opium dens to the Aquarius Festival and rave nation - this powerful show challenges views on drugs.

A travelling exhibition from the Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales.

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Image Gallery

Anti-opium campaign Aquarius Festival Lighting a serviceman's cigarette Bessie Love as a suicidal morphine addict in the film Human Wreckage, US 1923. Caricature of the romantic writer Heroin Screws You Up. Les Morphinees Morphinomaniac 1887 trade card for Mrs Winslow's Soothing Syrup
Photograph of a yellow plastic Tyranasaurus Rex