Historical information

This set of two posters were displayed in the sale rooms for wool, skin, hides, and tallow at the Wool Exchange in Melbourne, on the corner of King and Little Collins Street. The posters were found in the storeroom under the white sale room in the late 1970s, when the Melbourne Woolbrokers Association moved around the corner to 530 Little Collins Street.

The first poster is dated 21st of September 1914. It predates the second poster which replaced it on the 4th of December 1914. The posters detail that the Auctioneer will accept any bid from German or Austrian buyers on the condition that the buyer is not acting on behalf of any country which is at war with Great Britain. The Auctioneer also reserves the right to cancel any purchases found to be in violation of this condition.

Presumably, the posters were in use until 1916, when Australia's 7th Prime Minister, Billy Hughes, negotiated the sale of Australia's entire wool clip to the British Government for the remainder of The Great War. The British government agreed to buy Australia’s entire wool production in 1916 at 55% above market price. In the end, £160,000,000 British pounds was paid by the UK Government to Australia for the nation’s entire wool clip between 1916‑1920. This would be equivalent to £7,619,760,000 in 2022 money when accounting for inflation, or $13,239,000,000 AUD.

Physical description

Two posters on yellowed card. The first poster is printed in black text with a title of “NOTICE”. The second poster is printed in red text with the same title, “NOTICE”. Both posters have 4 body paragraphs of text, detailing restraints put on potential wool buyers because of war with Germany in the Great War. Both Posters are finished with a date in the bottom left corner.