Motion pictures: An analysis of the posters of Victorian Railways during the 1920s and 1930s

Colin Symes*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    One element of the unrelenting enthusiasm for railway history is the poster. It is evident in the large body of literature, both academic and lay, on the subject. The majority of the literature though, deals with the posters of North America and Europe. Their Australian counterparts have not received the attention they deserve, something this paper attempts to redress. It undertakes an extensive examination of the many railway posters produced by Victorian Railways (VR), between the wars, under its visionary Head Commissioner, Harold Clapp. Utilising a geo-semiotic approach, it is argued that the railway posters of this period provide insights into the development of Victoria's tourist geography -an inventory of places and regions imbued with recreational and leisure assets. In so doing, trains, tourists, destinations and beaches were illustrated and verbalised as never before, using state-of-the-art techniques, derived from the new field of commercial art.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)210-227
    Number of pages18
    JournalJournal of Tourism History
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2015


    • Geo-semiotics
    • railway posters
    • Harold Clapp
    • Victorian Railways
    • commercial art
    • Australian National Tourist Association


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