The Trades Hall Poster collection
Initially compiled by George Seelaf, the inaugural Arts Officer of Victorian Trades Hall Council, this collection of political posters was donated to the University of Melbourne Archives by Trades Hall secretary Brian Boyd in 2006 (2006.0038). In addition to the union campaign posters and various papers, photographs and audio recordings, the collection comprises political and activist art produced by broader organisations sympathetic to the labour movement. Five posters in particular address the theme of Aboriginal self-determination and identity, and were produced by the Victorian Aborigines Advancement League, Melbourne; National Aboriginal and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC), Canberra; Community Media Association (later CoMedia), Adelaide; the Australian Film Institute, Melbourne; and Winja Ulupna: Aboriginal Women’s Alcohol Recovery House, Melbourne. Created and distributed for a range of audiences, each item responds to a different aspect of the Indigenous activist movement in Australia. Spanning a period of 20 years from the early 1970s, they capture the growing intersection of Aboriginal Australian political activism and resistance with the labour movement by the early 1990s. The digitisation of these posters will increase accessibility to the collection while also developing new links between the visual culture of paper-based political posters and contemporary online political activism in the labour and Indigenous rights movements.