National Library of Australia

Opening hours Australia Day long weekend: Saturday 25 & Sunday 26 January: Library open during regular opening hours; Monday 27 January: All Reading Rooms closed, Bookshop & Exhibition Galleries open from 9am-5pm.

You must be logged in to Tag Records
Tried the rest, now buy Boomerang Mouth Organs : easy to blow, easy to play
Bib ID 7251528
Format BookBook [still image, text, sheet]
Description [Sydney] : [J. Albert and Son], [1925?] 
1 poster : colour ; 31.2 x 23.9 cm 

Australian ephemera collection (Formed)


An advertising sign for shop counter display, colour lithographically printed on thick board, designed to be freestanding, with a folding cardboard support on the verso. A boomerang shaped mouth organ is depicted in the centre. Text on it reads: "The Boomerang De Luxe. Interchangable parts. Alberts system. Hand filed reeds." Above the red text panel (which has slanted corners like the top of an octagonal stop sign) is a die-cut image of a bearded Aboriginal man playing a large Boomerang mouth organ. He has white boomerang-shaped body paint on his upper chest and arms, and is wearing a gorget or breastplate engraved "King Boomerang." The word Boomerang is written with the two o's interlinked. A small lyre with its frame formed from overlapping boomerangs also appears.


"The J. Albert and Son Boomerang mouth organ was an iconic Australian musical instrument during the late nineteenth century and throughout much of the twentieth century. Being compact, portable, tuneful and cheap it became immediately popular with the Australian public upon its release onto the market in 1897. Between late 1896 and late 1897 an estimated 44,000 mouth organs, including the Boomerang, were sold by Alberts ... From their introduction the instrument remained popular supporting a notion of Australian identity, bolstered by broader national concerns such as Federation in 1901 and later, World War One. Being pocket sized, mouth organs generally became a popular instrument amongst Australian soldiers providing a welcome distraction to the rigours and tedium of war. Ironically most mouth organs including the Boomerang were made by German manufacturers such as CA Seydel and Son of Klingenthal in Saxony, who manufactured the Boomerang mouth organs for Alberts. ... Boomerang mouth organs came in a variety of pitches, styles and sizes, most being the more common rectangular shape. From about 1924 the production of an instrument actually shaped like a boomerang, complete with similarly shaped box, created a unique design that would always be associated with Australia....." (Michael Lea, Curator, Music & Musical Instruments, Powerhouse Museum, March 2014., viewed October 2016).

The Large De Luxe "Boomerang" had 48 reeds and was introduced in about 1925, priced at 18/6. (See advertisement,, viewed October 2016).


Caption title.

Subjects J. Albert and Son.  |  Harmonica -- Australia -- Posters.  |  Aboriginal Australians -- Songs and music.  |  Advertising -- Australia.  |  Printed ephemera -- Australia.  |  Store decoration -- Australia -- Miscellanea.  |  Australian
Other authors/contributors J. Albert and Son, issuing body
Also Titled

Boomerang Mouth Organs : easy to blow, easy to play


    In the Library

    Request this item to view in the Library's reading rooms using your library card. To learn more about how to request items watch this short online video Help Video.

    Details Collect From
    Ephemera Formed Collection 23 (Australian shop counter display advertisements) Special Collections Reading Room

    Order a copy

    - Copyright or permission restrictions may apply. We will contact you if necessary.

    Help Video To learn more about Copies Direct watch this short online video Help Video.
    close Can I borrow items from the Library?

    You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video embedded.

    You can view this on the NLA website.

    close What can I get online?

    You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video embedded.

    You can view this on the NLA website.

    close Can I get copies of items from the Library?

    You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video embedded.

    You can view this on the NLA website.

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flags
    Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and other First Nations people are advised that this catalogue contains names, recordings and images of deceased people and other content that may be culturally sensitive. Please also be aware that you may see certain words or descriptions in this catalogue which reflect the author’s attitude or that of the period in which the item was created and may now be considered offensive.