Help us to share the story of Australian democracy

Telling the story of Australian democracy plays an important part in helping us to understand and participate in the democratic process.

The National Library’s election ephemera collection tells the story of Australian democracy, election by election, and ballot box by ballot box.

Help us to share our election ephemera collection on Trove by supporting our 2024 Appeal.


The National Library's collection of political ephemera is the largest in the nation and it covers everything from how to vote cards through to hats, T-shirts and badges. We're enormously grateful to the community who have donated this material to us election by election, to help us to build this wonderful collection. Now, with your help, we want to digitise these materials so that we can share them with the world through Trove.  

More than a sausage sizzle: a unique history of democracy down under

The National Library’s election ephemera collection is Australia’s largest collection of political memorabilia.

It includes material from each Australian Federal election since Federation.

From how-to-vote cards, posters, corflutes, brochures, flyers and stickers, to balloons, flags, t-shirts, buttons, badges, hats, masks, and even vinyl records, our collection of federal election ephemera is both rich and varied.

Extending across all political perspectives, this collection offers a vivid history of Australian democracy.

From the election which formed the first Australian parliament in 1901, through the election of the first female parliamentarians in 1943, to the double-dissolution election caused by the dismissal of Gough Whitlam in 1975 and beyond, the rich story of federal democracy down under is told here.

Through this collection, we can revisit the contest of ideas for each federal election as it was fought, seat by seat, ballot box by ballot box.

With your help, we can share this collection with everyone through Trove.

A man wearing a purple “Australian Electoral College Vest” stands beside the door of a polling place for the 2022 Federal Election
Sandy Scheltema, Australian Electoral Commission officer standing next to a 'How to Vote in a Federal Election' poster outside the polling place in Glenlyon Hall, during the Australian federal election, Glenlyon, Victoria, 21 May, 2022, nla.obj-3108998796

You helped to make Australian history

Electoral material like this is temporary in nature.

It’s collected in mailboxes, outside supermarkets, at the entrances to polling places – intended to be discarded once votes have been cast, and victors declared.

But for many years, the National Library has impartially and comprehensively collected these objects from the Australian public, to be preserved in the national collection.

Many thousands of these items have been donated to us by ordinary Australians.

Each year, thanks to members of the public, our corridors become lined with boxes of every kind of political object imaginable.

This is a collection built by citizen collectors.

Many of the items it contains are now rare or fragile.

Now, with your help, we want to digitise these materials and share them with the world, through Trove.


Help us to bring the story of democracy online

Our online library, Trove, is used by millions of people each year.

With over 13 million sessions on the Trove website in the past year, Trove is the most significant publicly funded online cultural resource after the ABC and SBS. 

Trove already contains more than 40 million pages of digitised material that is freely available to everyone.

With your support, we can add the rich story of Australian democracy to this remarkable online resource.

Election by election, you helped us to build this unique collection.

By helping us to raise $300,000 this year, you can make it possible for us to share it with everyone, on Trove.

Thank you for your generous support.

People standing holding colourful core-flutes/posters from the 2013 election
Corflutes donated from the 2013 election, with NLA staff members