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Posters Exhibition

Posters have been a part of UNSW Archives' holdings since its establishment in 1980. The posters available in the Archives reflect the changing nature of the university from the 1950s - 2000s and cover everything from drama and musical performances to student events and political activism.

The posters on display here represent only a small selection of the wider Archives' collection. They do, however, provide an interesting illustration of the changing nature of posters over time. In the 1950s and 1960s posters were almost always originally created by hand, which required considerable artistic talent. As the popularity of computers has increased, so has the level of sophistication of the posters. It is no longer as necessary to have strong drawing capabilities, but creativity in ideas is still essential. After all, while the purpose of a poster may be to inform, it will not succeed without the benefit of an eye-catching motif - and it is here that the creators of university posters have always been successful.

For more information on the Archives' collection of posters, please contact the Archives.

New South Wales University of Technology Students' Union Annual Ball
12 April 1958
(UNSW Archives V1066)
A poster advertising the annual Students' Union ball to be held at the Empress Ballroom, Mark Foys. The first university ball was held on 17 September 1949, only 2 months after the university's foundation on 1 July 1949. Until the Roundhouse, the first University Union building, was completed in 1961, such events were held in function rooms off campus. After the university's name was changed in October 1958, the New South Wales University of Technology Students' Union became the University of New South Wales Students' Union.  The Students' Union was one of the predecessors of Arc, the university's current student organisation.

New South Wales University of Technology Students' Union "Bottoms Up" Revue
13 - 21 June 1958
(UNSW Archives V1066)
Bottoms Up was the university's third student revue and the show was entirely sold-out. The university's first student revue, entitled Low Notes, was produced in April 1956. These early revues were organised by the Students' Union, but with considerable input from members of the Drama Club.  

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Bacchus Ball
4 July 1966
(UNSW Archives V1051)
From 1963 - 1978, the notorious Bacchus Balls were held at the Roundhouse. Organised by the Commerce Society, the balls were designed to shock - with participants dressed in togas, unlimited wine and a stripper as the floorshow. When Bacchus Balls were at their peak, tickets sold out in only a couple of hours and ticket scalping was common.  

Book Fair
23 - 27 April 1968
(UNSW Archives V1059)
The first UNSW Book Fair was held in April 1968 in order to raise funds to complete the construction of International House. Organised by the then U-Ball Committee, the Book Fair was so popular that it became initially a biennial and, from 2000 - 2012, an annual event - always with the aim of raising money for the university. In October 1968, the U-Ball Committee changed its name to the U Committee. In the course of its existence from 1963 - 2013, the U Committee - a voluntary group made up of staff, spouses of staff and other friends of the university - raised over $2.8 million for various university projects.  

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The Turn of the Screw
3 - 10 August 1968
(UNSW Archives V107)
This performance at the Science Theatre was the first time that Benjamin Britten's operatic version of The Turn of the Screw was staged in Sydney. It was also the first production of the University of New South Wales Opera - a joint initiative of Roger Covell from the Department of Music and Jean Wilhelm from the School of Drama.  

Law Graduation Dinner Dance
2 December 1976
(UNSW Archives V1028)
A Law graduation dinner dance, organised by the Law Society for the class of 1976. The UNSW Law Society was formed in 1971 - the year the Faculty of Law had its first intake of students. The faculty's first degrees were awarded at a graduation ceremony in April 1976, so the students who were in their final class in 1976 were only the second to graduate in the faculty's history.  

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Students' Union No Loans Concert
23 September 1982
(UNSW Archives V1067)
In September 1982 the Fraser government introduced the Student Assistance (Loans Guarantee and Subsidy) Bill into Parliament. The aim of the Bill was to allow full time tertiary students to borrow $500 - $1,000 a year from selected banks at a government subsidised rate of interest to pay for educational expenses. The scheme was to be means tested; students eligible included those who received benefits under the then Tertiary Education Assistance Scheme (TEAS) (later known as Austudy), and under other Commonwealth tertiary schemes as well as those who earned less than $5000 per year. Students could borrow up to $8000 while they were studying and had up to 10 years to pay off the loan.
The scheme, however, was not viewed favourably by students, who suspected that the government was taking the first steps to dismantle TEAS and introduce tuition fees, which had been abolished from 1974. To combat the scheme, the Students Union organised the "Break the Banks Campaign". The campaign included the offer of a $300 prize to the student who opened and closed the most number of accounts held by those banks participating in the scheme as well as the No Loans Concert.
The Act was assented on 31 December 1982, but with the election of the Hawke government in 1983 and its decision not to proceed with the previous government's scheme, no loans were ever made and the Bill was eventually repealed in 1985. However, university tuition fees began to be re-introduced from 1986, with the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) commencing from 1989.  

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Warden's Dinner, International House
4 March 1983
(UNSW Archives V1062)
International House was opened on 14 June 1968. Its formation was part of a global movement that sought to establish such residences in order to promote greater understanding between students of different nationalities. In 1983 the post of Warden was held by Emeritus Professor John S. Ratcliffe, who occupied the position from 1971 - 1993. The title of Warden was later changed to Master.  

The Fantastiks Dramsoc Performance
May - June 1983
(UNSW Archives V1057)
Drama theatre was introduced to the university when the Drama Club was established in July 1955. In 1960 the Club was re-named the Dramatic Society (Dramsoc) and was responsible for a large number of productions throughout its existence. Dramsoc was eventually dissolved in 1985, but student drama was continued in 1986 by the formation of the New South Wales University Theatrical Society (NUTS).

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Foundation Day
8 August 1990
(UNSW Archives V1031)
Foundation Day has been held at the university every year since 1961. Originally organised to coincide with the anniversary of the university's foundation date of 1 July 1949, it was moved to the second Thursday of session 2 as a result of the university changing to a two session year in the early 1970s.  

Environment Week
August 1994
(UNSW Archives V1068)
The first Environment Week was held at the university in October 1988 and appears to have been largely the initiative of the Students' Union's then Overseas Students' Officer, Kuo Yong Kooi. Over the years, environment weeks have consisted of events such as forums, lectures and displays - all aimed at raising awareness on environmental issues.  

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Electra New South Wales University Theatrical Society (NUTS) Performance 
 20 - 24 May 1997
(UNSW Archives V1025)
The New South Wales University Theatrical Society (NUTS) was established in March 1986, continuing the tradition of student drama after the Dramatic Society (Dramsoc) was wound up in 1985.  Electra was one of several performances that were organised by NUTS during 1997.

UNSW Chartered Accountants Students' Society (UNSW CASS) and Commerce & Economics Society (COMSOC) Masquerade Ball
11 September 1999
(UNSW Archives V1051)
The first ball for Faculty of Commerce students was held by the Commerce Society on 17 September 1959 at the Sherbrooke Lounge, Double Bay. The faculty had been established formally by Council two years before on 11 March 1957.  

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Arts Week
May 2001
(UNSW Archives V1068)
Organised by the University Union, the first Arts Week took place in September 1998. Exhibitions and workshops were held and the inaugural issue of the student literary journal unsweetened launched.  

Dude, Where's Bob Carr? Law Revue
14 - 17 August 2001
(UNSW Archives V1023)
The first UNSW Law Revue was held in 1976 and was entitled The Assault and Battery Operated Show. Law revues have been produced every year since then, each giving a legal twist to a well-known title.  

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Heaven & Hell
15 May 2003
(UNSW Archives V1068)
2003 was the first year that the Heaven & Hell party was held by the University Union. It has now become an annual event in the Roundhouse.  

Down the Rabid Hole Medshow
25 - 26 September 2008
(UNSW Archives S1585)
Medshow has been held every year since 2000. It differs from Med Revue in that its cast is made up solely of UNSW medical students. Money from each show's ticket proceeds is given to a selected charity.  

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