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Northern Australia : route maps and full information from the Shell Company of Australia Ltd Overlanding Department / W. H. A. Constable
Bib ID 7896306
Format PicturePicture [still image, text, sheet]
Constable, Bill (William), 1906-1989, artist
Related Online
Description [Melbourne?] : Shell Company of Australia Ltd Overlanding Department, 1931 
1 poster : colour ; 99 x 74 cm 

A travel poster promoting journeys to Northern Australia by automobile, with a depiction of an Aboriginal hunter holding a spear looking out over a lagoon with colourful foilage surrounding him. A caption below the image reads: “Lagoons with acres of lilies, white, pink and blue ... So much beauty, so few to see.” (Bleeser on “The Flora of the North.”). The multicolour photo-lithographic image is framed by a blue border, set against a brown background, with all of the hand-lettered text in the panel below the image.


William Henry Archibald Constable (1906-1989) was born in Bendigo and studied at the National Gallery of Victoria School. This poster was completed before he left Melbourne on the Esperance Bay on 11 May 1931 to spend a year studying and painting in England, returning on the Largs Bay, which arrived in Fremantle from London on 10 June 1932 (see The Age (Melbourne), 7 May 1931, page 8,; The Daily News (Perth), 11 June 1932, page 1, and The West Australian (Perth, WA), 11 June 1932, page 14, Another of his posters for Shell, for their “Advance Australian Industry” series (reproduced in Robert Murray, Go Well: One Hundred Years of Shell in Australia, 2001, following page 28), probably undertaken slightly before, or at around the same time as this travel poster, is mentioned in the Sunday Times (Perth, WA), 15 February 1931, page 13,, viewed 20 Feb 2019.

F. A. K. (Florenz August Karl) Bleeser (1871-1942), whose words are quoted on the poster, was a long term employee of the Darwin Post Office with a strong interest in botany and the development of the Northern Territory (see The Advertiser (Adelaide), 3 November 1942, page 4,;;

The Overlanding Department of the Shell Company of Australia was established in 1930. It promoted outback travel by providing information and maps that advised where their company’s fuel products and drinking water were available. From the mid-1930s the Overlanding Department’s services were promoted at film screenings in country towns, at which it was claimed that Shell was the first petroleum company to institute bulk distribution of their products throughout Australia. In 1947 the Overlanding Department was renamed the Shell Touring Service, and continued to offer free maps and touring information from a network of outlets across the country (based in part on Melinda Barrie, Everybody Loves a Road Trip! (Melbourne, Vic.: University of Melbourne, 2009,!, viewed 20 Feb 2019).


Caption title.

Signed and dated across the bottom edge of the image.

Publisher’s code (bottom right corner): 22/31.

PIC Poster Drawer 329 copy Digital master available National Library of Australia

Subjects Lagoons -- Australia -- Posters.  |  Aboriginal Australians -- Posters.  |  Automobile travel -- Australia -- Posters.  |  Travel posters, Australian  |  Australia, Northern -- Posters.  |  Australian
Other authors/contributors Bleeser, Florenz A. K., 1871-1942, contributor of added text  |  Shell Company of Australia. Overlanding Department
Terms of Use Copyright restrictions may apply. 


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