We are calling on all Australians to help us build the next chapter of Australia’s political history by collecting ephemera from the 2023 Referendum on an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

In the lead up to the referendum, Australians can expect to be inundated with flyers, posters, badges, stickers, and printed material. 

This material offers historians and researchers of the future fascinating insights into the arguments put for and against the referendum. The collection will provide evidence of the social and political context in which the referendum was held. 

The National Library wants to ensure a permanent documentary record of Australia’s political history is publicly available. We’ve collected ephemera relating to many of the 44 proposals for constitutional change put to Australian elector. Including the 1999 referendum on becoming a Republic and the 1967 Referendum.

Thanks to the Australian public, we have the largest collection of political memorabilia in Australia. We are asking you, our citizen collectors, to help us again this year to build on this exceptional resource.

Three pamphlets on a white background. The middle one has text reading 'Yes or No'
A selection of publicly donated referendum items in our collection.

What are we looking for?

Our aim is to collect items representing diverse voices in the debate from all over Australia.

  • Original, printed campaign material from lobby groups and from local events – what does the debate look like where you live?
  • Printed campaign material including letters, ‘how to vote’ cards, posters, pamphlets, badges, stickers, T-shirts, hats, and any other printed material discussing or providing a perspective on the referendum.
  • We are particularly interested in material produced by First Nations Australians, rural and regional communities, material from culturally and linguistically diverse communities and material in languages other than English.
  • We will seek out copies of the official Yes and No campaign material, so there is no need to send us these.

How can I support this collecting campaign?

If you, your colleagues, friends, and relatives have access to this material, we encourage you to send it to us to add to the national collection. You can send smaller items (A4 size or smaller) for free using our reply-paid address. Our address is: 

Referendum Ephemera
Curatorial & Collection Research
National Library of Australia
Reply Paid 83399

Think about the condition of your donated material and please don’t donate damaged material. If you have any preservation concerns (e.g., mould, dirt, insects) or if the object is torn or in poor condition, please email us and we can talk to colleagues in our Collection Care section.

What aren’t we collecting?

We don’t collect photocopies, duplicates of the same item or photographs.

What about digital material? 

Behind the scenes, we will continue to collect online information relating to the referendum. Online referendum material is collected by the National Library of Australia and archive partner agencies and delivered through the Australian Web Archive. We are excited to continue collecting in this area in 2023.

What if I have a question?

If you have questions about donating ephemera to this collecting project, please email select@nla.gov.au.

What will happen to the items I send to the Library?

Once the referendum is over, printed material will be sorted and stored in preservation quality housing and added to our catalogue. Take a look at our Referenda ephemera to explore some of the weird and wonderful items we have collected for past referendums. 

Please note that the Library may decline material that does not fit with our Collection Development Policy and may dispose of duplicate material in line with the Library’s Deaccessioning and Disposal Policy. Unfortunately, due to the amount of material we receive, we will not be able to acknowledge receipt of every item, unless specifically requested.

Help play a part in collecting ephemera for the referendum, so that future generations will have a valuable documentary record of the 2023 referendum.