In flood or fire, men of value serve Australia!

Accession Number ARTV10130
Collection type Art
Measurement Overall: 57.7 cm x 71.1 cm; Image: 50.8 cm x 63 cm
Object type Poster
Physical description screenprint on paper on linen
Maker Unknown
Place made Australia
Date made April 1960
Conflict Army organisation period 1961-

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain


This Australian Army recruitment poster relates directly to the re-establishment of the defence forces into the Pentropic Division of organisation. The Pentropic Division was formally announced and implemented in March 1960. It comprised of five battle groups, instead of the division-brigade-battalion structure that had previously existed. It was based on the Pentomic example utilised by the United States of America (USA).

'In flood or fire' is from the poster recruitment series “Men of Value serve Australia!”. This series of posters are strong historical documents that indicate the change in approach to establishing the Australian Regular Army as a long term modern career option, with a focus on technology, science and travel. The posters are visually dynamic, using a restricted colour palette of bright, contrasting colours with bold headlines, to create an aesthetic synthesis of art with emerging modern promotional tactics. Accompanied by broad, nationalistic slogans that are cryptic, short and witty, the posters present the Australian Regular Army as an excellent career choice for men of character and adaptability that could be entrusted to protect Australian interests – locally and abroad.

'In flood or fire' demonstrates just this. In the centre of the composition is a young male soldier, easily identifiable as Australian through his slouch hat. Behind him are two scenes, of flood and fire. On the left a boat, carrying soldiers who have rescued a mother and her children, navigates a flood zone, while on the right, soldiers battle a blazing fire. The graphics of the soldiers in their khaki uniforms stand out against the grey and white background, particularly against the stark black, yellow and white lettering. To contextualise this image into Australian pride and experience, a large image of the well known motif, the Rising Sun is a prominent feature of the poster.