"Even our 2nd class cars are more comfortable than motor buses!": an analysis of victorian railway posters between the wars

Colin Symes*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Railway posters from the 1920s and 1930s are now regarded as one of the high points of twentieth-century graphic art. While their iconographies have been the subject of considerable scholarly analysis, the contexts in which they operated and functioned have received much less attention. This paper, which focuses on posters produced by Victorian Railways for a range of purposes not necessarily travel related, redresses this. It is argued that railways posters, which operated in conjunction with other forms of railway propaganda, provided a convenient and attractive way for the state to operate on its population, at a distance. Hence, they were used as rhetorical devices to exhort Victorians to travel by rail, to eat more fruit and thereby assist the state’s primary producers. As competition from motorisation became more intense during the Depression, resulting in pronounced and unsustainable rail deficits, the need to diversify the sources of railway revenue, as the analysed posters reveal, became more exigent.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)353-371
    Number of pages19
    JournalJournal of Australian Studies
    Volume40
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2016

    Keywords

    • action at a distance
    • Harold Clapp
    • motorisation
    • railway posters
    • Victorian railways

    Fingerprint

    Dive into the research topics of '"Even our 2nd class cars are more comfortable than motor buses!": an analysis of victorian railway posters between the wars'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this