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Behind the Lines: The Year's Best Cartoons (2006) was developed and presented by the National Museum of Australia. It was originally on show at the National Museum in Canberra from December 2006 to March 2007. The exhibition also toured nationally.
Australian history has been the focus of considerable public debate in recent times. The National Museum of Australia, in its capacity as custodian of the National Historical Collection, has a key role to play in preserving and interpreting Australian history.
One of the most important functions of the Museum is to build a set of collections that provide a resource for understanding Australia's past. A small, but important, part of these collections is our holding of political cartoons.
The Museum has been acquiring cartoons for the past 20 years and now has a wonderful visual archive of recent Australian political history.
The items in this exhibition represent the best of our 2006 acquisitions from cartoonists around Australia, including Alan Moir, Cathy Wilcox, Geoff Pryor, John Spooner, Mark Knight and Warren Brown. Cartoons from major city newspapers are represented along with examples from regional publications. As you look through these images, the major events of the year unfold, including the ongoing war on terror, the 'cash for crops' controversy, and the debate over the nation's industrial relations laws. You will also find many of the events that briefly dominated the headlines, including the Cronulla riots, leadership speculation and concerns over global warming. Viewed as a group, the cartoons are both amusing and at times thought provoking, providing a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months of Australian politics.
National Museum of Australia