The National Museum of Australia has an extensive collection of political cartoons dating from the late 1960s through to the first decade of the twenty-first century. Cartoons reflect key moments in Australian history and offer a powerful and immediate insight into how political events were perceived at the time they occurred. The National Museum of Australia’s collection, spanning over five decades, provides a rich cultural resource that documents the changing political landscape in Australia.
The museum’s cartoon collection includes selections of works from individual artists as well as annual compilations of material relating to major political events. From the mid 1990s to 2010 the museum presented a series of annual exhibitions reviewing Australian politics through the lens of cartoons. Each exhibition resulted in an associated collection of cartoons that are now part of the Museum’s National Historical Collection. Australia's most successful and significant cartoonists are represented in these collection including Alan Moir, Bruce Petty, Ron Tandberg, Judy Horacek, David Rowe, David Pope, Peter Nicholson, Geoff Pryor, Sean Leahy, Fiona Katauskas and Cathy Wilcox to name a few.
As a medium, cartooning provides a forum for robust discussion of our political system. While sometimes silly or trivial, cartoons can also carry powerful political messages. At times, they challenge readers to consider the impact of politics while allowing them to laugh at themselves and our political system. Taken together the museum’s cartoon collection represents a fascinating visual archive of Australian politics and graphic satire.
Copyright National Museum of Australia
Physical access to the collection by appointment only