Many people believe that the world would be a more peaceful place if there were fewer weapons. The United Nations thinks so too, and has deemed October 24 – 30 as United Nations Disarmament Week. In Australia, supporters of disarmament have often focused on sales of Australia’s plentiful uranium to countries that manufacture weapons, as well as weapons testing here and overseas.
To celebrate this important week, we’ve trawled through our collection to find objects that reflect people’s efforts to promote disarmament throughout Australia and the world. Some are close to home – the Nuclear Disarmament Party – while others are universal. We hope you enjoy this sneak peek into this part of the museum’s collection.
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The making and wearing of badges to push for disarmament around the world has long been popular and they come in all shapes and colours – some specific, some more general.
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The issues of Aboriginal land rights and uranium mining have been joined since the 1970s, when the first large anti-uranium protests were held. T-shirts such as this one, combining both issues, became commonplace from this time.
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This 1977 poster from the Earthworks Collective appropriates a well-known British recruitment poster from the First World War. It reflects growing public concern over nuclear war during this period.
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This is an election poster for the Nuclear Disarmament Party, founded in Australia in the 1980s in part due to the nuclear arms race between the US and Soviet Union. The party was successful in having one of its members, Jo Vallentine, elected to the Senate.
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Anarchist anti-uranium poster, designed by Tony Chinnery and Joanne Horniman, was printed by the printshop 'Without Authority' in the mid 1980s. It links opposition to uranium mining to an anarchist demand for political change in Australia.
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In the 1950s and 1960s the British conducted seven nuclear tests at Maralinga, in South Australia, leaving the countryside contaminated with radioactive material. In the 1970s Kevin Newman, as Minister for National Development, oversaw a cleanup of the area. This sample of vitrified glass used to sequester radioactive material, unused in this case, comes from his collection.