Guide to the Guide to Postcard Collection 1900 - 1913




The Australian War Memorial holds a small collection of postcards relating to places, people and events from 1900 - 1913

SERIES 1: South African [Boer] War 1899-1906. Description: From the time of its acquisition by Britain during the Napoleonic wars, southern Africa had been shared between British colonies and independent republics of Dutch-Afrikaner settlers, known as Boers. Throughout the nineteenth century the two powers had maintained a wary co-existence. The discovery of gold and diamonds in the Boer republics in the 1880s intensified rivalry, and British imperial ambition and Boer independence resulted in friction that in 1899 provoked the Boers to attack, in order to forestall what they saw as an impending British conquest. As part of the British Empire, the Australian colonies offered troops for the war in South Africa. Australians served mostly in mounted units formed in each colony, often known as ""mounted rifles"", ""bushmen"" or ""imperial bushmen"". They fought in both the British counter-offensive of 1900 which resulted in the capture of the Boer capitals, and in the long, weary guerrilla phases of the war lasting until 1902. The collections contains postcards sent from, or about the South African War. The collection includes patriotic and propaganda postcards, as well as postcards of South African War memorials.; SERIES 2: Early 20th Century Military Cards circa 1900-1913. Description: Postcards relating to militia units, naval depots, military camps and visiting foreign military before 1914, but excluding postcards relating the the South African [Boer] War (Series 1).; SERIES 3: Souvenir and Scenic Postcards1900-1910 . Description: Scenic and souvenir postcards sent before 1914. Excludes postcards relating to the South African [Boer] War (Series 1) and the ""Great White Fleet"" visit of 1908 (Series 4).; SERIES 4: Patriotic Postcards & USA Fleet Visit 1906 - 1908 . Description: Patriotic postcards and souvenir postcards from the visit of the American ""Great White Fleet"" in 1908. Both types of postcards made use of patriotic imagery, such as flags, native fauna and flora, and national symbols. The ""Great White Fleet"" was sent around the world by President Theodore Roosevelt from 16 December 1907 to 22 February 1909. It consisted of sixteen new battleships of the Atlantic Fleet. The battleships were painted white except for gilded scrollwork on their bows and buff coloured funnels. They covered some 43,000 miles and made twenty port calls on six continents. In August and September 1908 the Fleet visited Sydney and Melbourne, where crowds from 400,000 to 600,000 turned out the see the American Navy. The Americans received a very enthusiastic greeting from the Australian public with parades, illuminations, dinners and festivities. The visit also inspired a large amount of verse and songs.

This collection contributes to the understanding of the use of postcards as souvenirs and a communication medium before the First Wrold War.

Contact Senior Curator, Published & Digitised Collections, Australian War Memorial.

Open - Contact Senior Curator, Published & Digitised Collections, Australian War Memorial.

Selected additional and related material available at using the search terms described under 'subject _local'. Copies of many items from the Memorial's collections may also be purchased @


Military service

Postcards; Souvenirs


Coverage Temporal



Related Collections


2012-05-30 23:40