It's amazing what you can discover...

From 2005 to 2010 the National Archives presented Find of the Month, featuring a selection of quirky, intriguing or nostalgic gems from our collection.


Love lawn: A tale of destiny – Tracking families through copyright and migration records

A career with a challenge – Australian Patrol officers in Papua New Guinea

One people, one destiny – The struggle to federate the Australian colonies in the 1890s

Sufficiently rude to make a man blush – Customs tries to ban ‘obscene’ fireworks in the 1930s

Off with his head! – Bungled attempts to issue a new stamp in time for the coronation of George VI in 1937

Welcome home – Returned servicemen welcome the boys back from the front in 1919

Great dictation – Trusted prime ministerial aide Eileen ‘Lennie’ Lenihan (1904–90)

Something to crow about! – A fortune built on jelly crystals in the early twentieth century

Bradman: 'Every day is a rainbow day for me' – Batsman Donald Bradman turns his hand to songwriting in 1930



Greetings from Australia – Lionel Lindsay’s Australian greeting cards of 1908

A small town, greatly moved – Belgian villagers honour dead Australian airmen in World War II

Heads up! – Gambling workers on the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme in the 1960s

A match made in Heaven? – British rugby tourists play Australian Rules in 1888 

Stamps, swans and state rights! – 1903 postage stamp design fuels Western Australian fears about federation 

The sole right to rule – The 1897 Australasian Federal Convention receives petitions on the woman’s vote 

Mr Postie, it's cold outside! – Postmen have their uniforms cut down to size during World War I rationing 

My rocket ship – Schoolboy Denis Cox designs a rocket ship for Woomera in 1957 

Adverts and Anzacs – Government attempts to protect the Anzac name 

The secret life of Miss Ruby Payne-Scott – The stellar career of radio physicist Ruby Payne-Scott (1912–81) 

Curing the world's ills – Joseph Wilkins’s 1916 exposé of medical charlatans 

Talking Strine – Alistair Morrison’s 1965 song in Australian English 



Dear Joe: Letters to a prime minister – 1930s correspondence between George Lobban and Prime Minister Lyons

Fred, Frank – or James? A digger with three names – A World War I soldier enlists under three names

Off-beat teens! – Cutting edge 1960s fashions for Australian conditions 

'Pneu' tube? – 1920s plans for a pneumatic tube communications system in Canberra’s Parliamentary Triangle

1908 ... 'rather a dry year' – A weather prophet predicts rainfall for Australia and New Zealand

A 'just' request: Aboriginal representation in parliament – Pastor Doug Nicholls in a 1949 appeal for equality

Put it in the post – 1889 New South Wales post office applications

'Banish the budget blues' – A musical response to Prime Minister Scullin’s tough 1930–31 budget

'With the camera at Anzac' – A 1915 photograph album captures Gallipoli through the eyes of an Australian soldier

What's in a name? Naming the nation's capital – In 1913 Federal parliamentarians proposed names for Canberra

Counting down... The Silver Jubilee Australian Top 20, 1977 – A music album to mark the Queen's Silver Jubilee

'Proudly wave the banner high': Origins of the Australian flag – The 1901 competition to design an Australian flag 



Act one, scene one: The seventeenth summer – Ray Lawler's 1956 copyright on Summer of the Seventeenth Doll

'The bearer has ceased resistance...' – 1945 surrender leaflet targeted at Japanese soldiers

The horse, the myth, the legend – A 1932 farewell song to the racehorse Phar Lap

The disappearance of Harold Holt – Responses to the 1967 drowning of Prime Minister Holt

Dib dib dib, dob dob dob – A World War II plan to use boy scouts on border patrols

Cost of a kiss: The Displaced Persons Program – Maira Kalnin and her family find a new home in Australia, 1949

Knit one, purl one... – The Australian Red Cross mobilises women volunteers to knit socks for World War I soldiers

Yes or no? – The 1967 referendum and references to Aboriginal people in the Australian Constitution

Have you locked the door? – The 1975 evacuation of Australians from Saigon 

Many a true word... – A 1943 prayer for women’s rights

The man who is Australia – Singer Slim Dusty’s 1942 copyright application for ‘Beautiful Aussie Land’

Australia's own – the FX Holden – The car company plans its postwar future in 1943



So this is Christmas – Alfred George Jones’ handmade Christmas cards, 1909

Lest we forget where we buried it… – Gunner Bailey’s Returned from Active Service Badge reported missing, 1964 

Menzies v Enid Blyton – war of the words – The Prime Minister claims that Blytons book is immoral, 1964

Sing a song of springcleaning housewives – Stratos Moraitis sings the praises of the homemaker, 1945–46

Those magnificent men in their flying machines – An entry in the 1910 Department of Defence flying competition

Love thy game – The Reverend Oliver and son create a soccer board game in 1966

Ugly men to the rescue – The Ugly Men’s Voluntary Workers’ Association help the ladies during World War I

From the fowl house to the High Court – Neighbours come to blows over roosters in 1930

The car with no name – Norm ‘Wizard’ Smith and the racing car formerly known as ‘Anzac’, 1930

A man and his Malvern Star – Ernie Old offers to promote the 1956 Melbourne Olympics on his trusty bicycle

Bird flu no laughing matter for Kooka and Gumnut – May Gibbs’ 1919 illustration for a public health poster

Australia, Dear Australia – Jack Morgan’s 1972 proposal for a new national anthem



You can't cook your coin and eat it too – The 1966 introduction of decimal currency upsets a Christmas tradition 

Dear Gough… – Sir John Kerr looks forward to his role as Governor-General in a 1974 letter to Gough Whitlam

Rockin' Rollin' Clementine – Songwriter Ken Taylor’s 1959 copyright application

John, Paul, George and Ricky! – 1964 incoming passenger cards for the Beatles

Blinded by the light – Reports in 1960 of UFO sightings near Maralinga, South Australia

Flourish the Vine – Attempts in the 1940s to sell Australian wine to the local market

Security of the Prime Minister's family – A 1971 attempt to kidnap the wife of Prime Minister McMahon is foiled

Beyond the call of duty – Prime Minister Edmund Barton protects Miss Jackson's honour, 1903

'I allus has wan at eleven' – Sam Knott becomes the face of Carlton Ale in the 1890s

Female trade commissioners – A 1963 departmental minute on why women should not be trade commissioners

A star is born! – Norman Hetherington’s 1962 copyright application for Mr Squiggle

Hung out to dry! – Hills Hoists offers its rotary clothes line to the British royal family, 1959

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019