Moments in time: vintage Australian postcards

By AG Staff Writer | August 12, 2016

These historic Australian postcards dating back to the 1880s provide a nostalgic glimpse to our nation’s past.

BOTH THE DESIGNS and messages of old postcards can offer an intimate glimpse into another era, which has been captured in a new book called Moments in Time, published this month by the National Library of Australia.

The ’emails of their time’, during the height of the postcard boom one might have been sent in the morning to arrange a meeting for that same afternoon, back when mail was delivered several times per day. Nowadays they’re often reserved for our most exotic getaways, and for the letterboxes of our grandparents. 

Moments in Time features a total of 300 historic Australian postcards, dating mostly from the 1880s to the 1950s. It offers a fascinating insight into key moments in our nation’s social and cultural history over the past century, during times of war and peace, disasters and celebration, holidays and home life, rural and city living.

Step back in time with the below selection of vintage Australian postcards from the book, which is written by historian and biographer Jim Davidson.

historic australian postcard

‘Two Silly Asses’ at Ocean Grove, Victoria, 1952. (Image courtesy National Library of Australia)

historic australian postcard

50 Dromana Pier, Victoria, 1914. (Image courtesy National Library of Australia)

historic australian postcard

Hop picking, New Norfolk, Tasmania, c. 1910. (Image courtesy National Library of Australia)

historic australian postcard

House built around a fallen tree, Sassafras, Victoria, c. 1910. (Image courtesy National Library of Australia)

historic australian postcard

Saharet (an Australian dancer, born in Victoria), c. 1910. (Image courtesy National Library of Australia)

historic australian postcard

Balloonists’ Queensland greeting, c. 1910. (Image courtesy National Library of Australia)

historic australian postcard

Dame Nellie Melba (Australian opera singer), c. 1905. (Image courtesy National Library of Australia)

historic australian postcard

Glenelg Temperance Tent, South Australia, 1906. (Image courtesy National Library of Australia)

historic australian postcard

Esplanade, Manly, Queensland, 1920. (Image courtesy National Library of Australia)

historic australian postcard

Paddle-steamer at Murray Bridge, South Australia, c. 1902 (card c. 1907). (Image courtesy National Library of Australia)

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