Guide to the Australian Historical Events and Commemorations Collection
Collection Number: Souvenirs 7
Title: Australian Historical Events and Commemorations Collection.
Date range of collection: 1901 - 1996.
Scope and content note: The collection contains a diverse range of items relating to events of importance to Australia's history, as well as items produced during the Australia Remembers 1945-1995 activities commemorating the end of WWII in the Pacific.
Provenance: The collection has been acquired over many years, from many different sources and donors.
Extent: 3 boxes (.53 metres), approx. 230 items.
Location: Published and Digitised Collections, Research Centre, Australian War Memorial.
- Certificate Collection, Published and Digitised Collections, Australian War Memorial.
- ANZAC Day Souvenirs Collection, Australian War Memorial, Souvenirs 1.
Processing history: Finding Aid updated and collection re-numbered and re-housed in 2005.
Copyright: Contact Curator, Published & Digitised Collections.
Preferred citation: Australian Historical Events and Commemorations, Australian War Memorial, Souvenirs 7.
- Australia Day
- Parliament House
- Commonwealth Jubilee
- Australia House
The Commonwealth Parliament and the creation of the Federal Capital City (Canberra), 1901
The Commonwealth of Australia was proclaimed on 1 January 1901 and the first federal elections were held in March of that year. The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York officially opened Australia's first Commonwealth Parliament at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne on May 9, 1901, as the site for the federal capital city had not yet been decided. More than 10,000 guests were present, including politicians, naval and military officers, judges, consuls, mayors and clergy. The Commonwealth Parliament continued to meet in Melbourne until a Parliament House was established in Canberra in 1927.
The site of the federal capital city was a contentious issue, especially between the two largest states (New South Wales and Victoria) who each wanted it to be located in their respective capital cites. A compromise was reached, and it was written into the Constitution that 'The seat of Government of the Commonwealth ... shall be within territory which shall have been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth, and shall be vested in and belong to the Commonwealth, and shall be in the state of New South Wales, and be distant not less than one hundred miles from Sydney' (Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act, Section 125). Canberra was finally chosen as the site of the new capital city in 1908.
The new Federal Capital City officially came into being on 1 January 1911, and at a ceremony on 12 March 1913 the foundation stones were laid and Lady Denman, the wife of the then Governor-General announced that the national capital was to be officially named 'Canberra'. It was determined that, for financial reasons, a temporary Parliament House would be built which was intended to last for 50 years, although it was actually used for 61 years. The House was officially opened on 9 May 1927, again by the Duke of York (later King George VI).
Australia Day, 1915-1918 and Sesquicentenary celebrations and the Commonwealth Jubilee, 1951
On 26 January 1788 Captain Arthur Phillip landed at Port Jackson, taking 'formal possession' of the Colony of New South Wales and 'claiming' the land for the British Empire. This occasion was celebrated by the colonists from the colony's early days, and throughout the 19th century was known as 'Foundation Day'. By 1888 all the colonial capitals, except Adelaide, had declared 'Anniversary Day" (as it was now known) a public holiday.
In 1871, the Australian Natives' Association was founded in Victoria. Chapters spread throughout the colonies and in 1915 a branch was established in London. The ANA campaigned for Federation of the colonies, and called for the whole of Australia to celebrate a unified national day called 'Australia Day'.
From 1915-1918 in South Australia, however, a different 'Australia Day' was celebrated. It was held to celebrate the anniversary of Australia's entry into WWI, and was used as a means of raising money for soldiers and their dependents, with proceeds going to 'The South Australian Soldiers' Fund'.
In 1938 the nation celebrated the sesquicentenary (150th anniversary) of white settlement of Australia. Captain Phillip's landing at Port Jackson was re-enacted, and it was also on this day that Aboriginal activists held a 'Day of Mourning' conference aimed at securing national citizenship and equal status for Aborigines.
The Commonwealth Jubilee Celebrations in 1951 were initiated by the Commonwealth Government to celebrate 50 years since Federation.
Australia Remembers, 1945-1995
Australia Remembers, 1945-1995 was a program of activities organised to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II, culminating in key national ceremonies held in Brisbane on 15 August 1995 to mark the 50th anniversary of Victory in the Pacific.
- Australia Day Council of NSW, Australia Day History (http://www.australiaday.com.au/history.html).
- McIntosh, Greg., As it was in the Beginning (Parliament House in 1927) Research Paper 25 2000-01 (Social Policy Group, 27 March 2001).
- Willis, Elizabeth., The Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne: A Guide (Melbourne: Museum Victoria, 2004).
|Series number||Title of Series and Date|
|1||Australian Historical Events|
|2||Commemoration - Australia Remembers, 1945-1995|
SERIES 1: Australian Historical Events, 1901-1951
Description: Souvenirs from Australian events of historical, rather than military, significance, including invitations, souvenir programmes, entrance tickets, seating plans and orders of service.
Subseries 1: Opening of Federal Parliament, 1901
|1/1/1||Booklet describing the history of, and uniforms worn by, visiting British regiments during the Commonwealth Inauguration, 1901.
Ticket to the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Parliament, Melbourne, 1901.
The Daily Telegraph, no.6728, Sydney, Wednesday 2 January, 1901. 2nd Edition.
Ticket to the Royal Review at Flemington Racecourse as part of the Commonwealth celebrations, 10th May, 1901.
Historical memento (booklet) of the opening of the 1st Parliament, May 1901.
Invitation to meet the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York, Melbourne, 9 May 1901.
Invitation to William Hamilton to the opening of the Federal Parliament on 9th May 1901 (oversize). (7 items, 1 oversize)
Subseries 2: Foundation of the Federal Capital (Canberra), 1913
|1/2/1||Entrance ticket to the laying of the foundation stones for Canberra, 12th March 1913 (2 copies).
Programme for the laying of the foundation stones for Canberra and the naming of the city, 12th March 1913. (3 items)
Subseries 3: Australia Day, 1915-1918
Australia Day programme, Adelaide, July 30th, 1915.
Subseries 4: Opening of Parliament House, 1927
|1/4/1||List of Executive Officers and members of the no.4 Sergeant's Mess, Canberra Camp, May 3rd -10th 1927, in celebration of the opening of Parliament.
Programme for the visit to Victoria of the Duke and Duchess of York, 1927. (2 items)
Subseries 5: Centennial and Sesquicentennial celebrations, 1934 & 1938
|1/5/1||Programme for the Centenary Thanksgiving Service held in Melbourne on 14th October, 1934.
Invitation for Lieutenant L.J. Farrell to a reception to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the foundation of Australia, inside original envelope. (2 items)
Subseries 6: Commonwealth Jubilee, 1951
|1/6/1||Commonwealth Jubilee Celebrations 1951, Official Programme Part 1.
Commonwealth Jubilee Celebrations 1951, Official Programme Part 2.
Commonwealth Jubilee booklet presented to Australian schoolchildren by the government.
Programme of Commonwealth Jubilee Parade, 1951, Royal Military College, Duntroon (2 copies).
Entree card to the ceremonial parade by the Corps of Staff Cadets, 13th June, 1951.
Two tickets to the Ceremonial parade by the Corps of Staff Cadets, 13th June, 1951, Row O, Seats 43 and 44 (attached to card with above item).
Site plan of the Ceremonial parade by the Corps of Staff Cadets, 13th June, 1951.
Seating plan of the Official Enclosure at the Ceremonial parade by the Corps of Staff Cadets, 13th June, 1951.
Order of Service in honour of the Jubilee of the Commonwealth, 18th November, 1951 at St. Andrew's Church, Canberra.
Souvenir programme for the Festival of Thanksgiving to celebrate the Commonwealth Jubilee, Alexandra Gardens (Victoria), December 31st, 1950. (11 items)
Subseries 7: Australia House, London 1918 -
|1/7/1||Admission card to the opening of Australia House, London, 3rd August 1918.
Invitation card to the opening of Australia House, London, 3rd August 1918.
Message accompanying invitation card to the opening of Australia House, London, 3rd August 1918.
Ceremony of the opening of Australia House, Saturday 3rd August, 1918 (3 copies).
Souvenir programme of the King & Queen's visit to open Australia House, August 3rd, 1918.
Arrangements for the opening ceremony at Australia House, Saturday August 3rd, 1918.
Souvenir booklet of Australia House, London.
Invitiation to Australia House for ANZAC Day (unknown year).
Subseries 8: Soldier Settlement, 1918-
|1/8/1||Robinvale Soldier Settlement 50th Anniversary program.|
SERIES 2: Commemoration - Australia Remembers, 1945-1995
Description: Souvenirs from the Australia Remembers 1945-1995 activities commemorating the end of the Second World War in the Pacific, including information packs, newspapers, speeches, items relating to activities held by various associations and towns and commercial products.
Subseries 1: Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) background information
|2/1/1||White information leaflet (4 copies).
Australia Remembers Christmas Cards (4 copies).
Australia Remembers Background Information Booklet (4 copies). (12 items)
Subseries 2: DVA Commemorative information packs
Folder 1 - Media information packs (5 copies).
Subseries 3: Vetaffairs and Australia Remembers newsletters
|2/3/1||Vetaffairs March 1995.
Vetaffairs September 1995 (2 copies).
Vetaffairs Special Lift-out (6 copies).
Australia Remembers Newsletter January 1995 (3 copies).
Australia Remembers Newsletter March 1995 (3 copies).
Australia Remembers Newsletter April 1995 (9 copies).
Australia Remembers Newsletter May 1995 (3 copies).
Australia Remembers Newsletter June 1995 (6 copies).
Australia Remembers Newsletter July 1995 (3 copies).
Australia Remembers Newsletter August 1995 (3 copies).
Australia Remembers Newsletter September 1995 (3 copies). (42 items)
Subseries 4: Speeches, media releases, letterhead and information sheets
|2/4/1||Ministerial statement, Progress Report on Australia Remembers (3 copies).
Vetaffairs September 1995 (2 copies).
Speech by the PM, Australia Remembers Women in Defence Forces Ceremony, 25 July 1995 (3 copies).
Letterhead, Task Force, Australia Remembers, DVA (5 copies, 2 of paper without letterhead).
Letterhead, Hon. Con Sciacca MP, Minister for Veteran's Affairs, Australia Remembers (3 copies).
Royal Australian Mint, Background Info, 1995 Six coin set commemorating 50th Anniversary of WWII (3 copies).
Speech by Con Sciacca, Commemorative Service for Australians who were POWs during WWII (3 copies).
Map of POW camps of Northern and Central Europe (3 copies).
Media Release, 15 February 1995, Australia Remembers the POW Story (4 copies).
Information sheet, The Australian POW Story: Courage and Mateship in Adversity (3 copies).
Commemoration Address, Ex-POW Association of Australia, 15 February, 1995 (3 copies).
Address by Father John Brendan Rogers OFM, ex-POW Chaplain, 8th Division AIF, 15 February, 1995 (4 copies).
The faces behind the logo: Introducing the Walsh family (Australia Remembers logo) (3 copies).
Commemorative bookmark, Australia Remembers the women who served in Australia's Defence Forces in World War II, Parliament House 25 July 1995 (1 copy) (41 items)
Subseries 5: Commemorative stickers
|2/5/1||Roll of stickers with the Australia Remembers 1945-1995 logo. (1 item)|
Subseries 6: Celebrations by associations, organisations and other groups
Order of Service, Australia Remembers those Australians who were POWs during WWII, 15 February, 1995 (2 copies).
Subseries 7: Celebrations by towns: A-G
Australia remembers 1995; Service of Thanksgiving for the Golden Jubilee of VP Day, Christ Church, Beechworth, 15 August, 1995.
Subseries 8: Celebrations by towns: H-Q
|2/8/1||Hurlstone Remembers, Memorial Forest Service.
[Hurlstone Agricultural High School] Veterans/Representatives.
[Hurlstone Agricultural High School] Old Boy Apologies.
Hurlstone Agricultural High School, Organisational instructions for the unveiling and dedication of the Honour Roll, 26th August, 1995.
Speech by the Chairman, Hurlstone Agricultural High School, at the unveiling and dedication of the Honour Roll, 26th August, 1995.
Headmaster's Welcome, Hurlstone Agricultural High School, at the unveiling and dedication of the Honour Roll, 26th August, 1995.
Address by Sir William Keys AC OBE MC, Hurlstone Agricultural High School, at the unveiling and dedication of the Honour Roll, 26th August, 1995.
Speech by Ben Nicholson, Hurlstone Agricultural High School, at the unveiling and dedication of the Honour Roll, 26th August, 1995.
Speech by Giles Cornelia, Hurlstone Agricultural High School, at the unveiling and dedication of the Honour Roll, 26th August, 1995.
Speech by Ralph Bardsley, Hurlstone Agricultural High School, at the unveiling and dedication of the Honour Roll, 26th August, 1995.
Quotes from Honour Roll Day Visitors' Letters.
Invitation to the unveiling and dedication of the Honour Roll, 26th August, 1995.
Programme for the unveiling and dedication of the Honour Roll, 26th August, 1995.
Harbord Diggers Club Annual Report 1995, with details about their contribution to the Australia Remembers project. (14 items)
Subseries 9: Celebrations by towns: R-Z
Souvenir Programme, VE Day Anniversary celebration, Terowrie Citizens' Association, 6-7th May, 1995.
Subseries 10: Commercial output
|2/10/1||Australian Remembers souvenir watch order form (3 copies).
Sheet of Australia Remembers logos (2 copies).
Australia Remembers Souvenir Tribute, The Australian Women's Weekly, March 1995 (3 copies) including insert "Still on active service".
Collection of Official Licensed Merchandise (with inserts: Letter and wholesale price list)
Australia Remembers cork placemat. (10 items)
Subseries 11: Certificates
|2/11/1||National 'Australia Remembers' Freedom Wall blank certificate.
National 'Australia Remembers' Freedom Wall framed certificate.
Photocopy of 'Australia Remembers' certificate, James T.D. Stewart.
Photocopy of VP50 certificate, James T.D. Stewart.
Photocopy of VP50 WWII Veteran VIP badge and ribbon. (5 items)