When Woolloongabba was Wattle Scented

Friday, December 2, 2011

Gough Whitlam's Crazy Christmas! Greetings Cards from 1975.

A more apt title might be "Christmas Cards of a Constitutional Crisis". You may throw your greetings cards away or recycle them, but if you're an Australian Prime Minister the National Archives of Australia will take care of that, and store them for perpetuity as part of the national record.

With a constitutional crisis and a Federal election in the weeks leading up to Christmas of 1975, these cards  are just a few of about 50 digitised files from the personal papers of Gough Whitlam's held by the archives. The senders of the cards are quite diverse and all supportive with some even still believing and fall into a number of distinct categories; the big end of town, the suburbs, the kids, the pensioners and even the cons.(see below, The Prisoners of Fremantle Prison)

Despite the initial outcry surrounding the Dismissal of the government public support quickly waned and Whitlam went on to lose the election to Malcolm Fraser's Liberal National Coalition.  The lesson being that an incumbent government will be severely punished if it gets in the way of Australian's Christmas shopping, no excuses!

"Wishing you a very Happy Xmas...and hope you wipe Fraser off the slate on 13th Dec. 1975. Hec and Margaret Harrower, pensioners and Labour voters for 52 years. 

 If I was an Australian transport industry oligarch, I'd be hedging my season's greetings both ways. Airline tycoon, Reg Ansett and family, from the compound at Mount Eliza. Reg was a good friend of the Liberal Party and forged a close personal friendship with Victorian Liberal Premier, Henry Bolte after he successfully hindered efforts by Peter Abele's ''Thomas Nationwide Transport', in a takeover bid for Ansett Transport Industries in 1972.

"Wishing you a Happy Christmas. You have the full support of all Prisoners at Fremantle Prison. We hope you win"
"Shame Fraser Shame...A Big Man With An Even Bigger Mouth."

"Merry Christmas Mr and Mrs Whitlam" A hand crafted effort by junior fan, Susan Gough.

"To Dear Mr Whitlam. Wishing you every success. Hope this brings you good luck, Dec 13th 1975 and the years to come"  Mrs Nancy Langley.

Unidentified good luck charm.

Considering the role the  Queensland Country Party Premier, Joh Bjelke-Petersen played in the downfall of the Whitlam government, a little irony, with a card from all at The Queensland Museum.

Source: The National Archives of Australia
Item # 5025217

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