The Mary Evans Picture Library was founded in 1964, when Mary and Hilary Evans, two avid collectors of old books, pictures and ephemera, were encouraged by a friend to turn their hobby into a business. Over the last 50 years it has grown into a leading source of historical imagery for editorial and commercial use, with more than half a million images in their archive and clients all over the world.
AAP picture researcher Kristen Daly selects highlights from the archive that bring over two centuries of Australian history to life.
Drawings, photos and other mementos from the 20th century
British fashion designer Hardy Amies created this and several other designs for Princess Elizabeth, now Queen Elizabeth II, ahead of her planned royal tour of Australia in 1952. The tour was postponed due to the death of her father, King George VI.
A photograph from the 1930s shows a bustling Kings Cross in Sydney.
This painting depicts an unknown Aboriginal man who served in the Australian expeditionary forces during World War One. In 2017 SBS reported that the artist behind the compelling portrait is German artist Thomas Baumgartner, who completed it in 1917 at a PoW camp south of Berlin. Andrew McIntosh of the Victorian Aboriginal Remembrance Committee found a print of the painting on eBay and expressed hope that a wider search would reveal the man's identity.
Colourful posters offer window into another time
Huntley and Palmer's issued this 1956 advertisement depicting a Christmas dinner in Sydney's Centennial Park, with their biscuits giving the meal a "quintessential British twist".
Nicole Kidman is now one of Hollywood's biggest stars, but she made her debut in the 1983 drama Bush Christmas. Image courtesy of the Ronald Grant archive.
As Australia's official airline, Qantas has positioned the country as a tantalising overseas destination through advertisements like this, of glamorous travellers enjoying a beachside lifestyle.
The fairies and folklore of Australian artist Ida Rentoul Outhwaite
Depicting the Queen of the Shell Fairies, this watercolour painting by Australian artist Ida Rentoul Outhwaite is from the advertising booklet, The Fairy Story That Came True, originally published in 1924 by the British Imperial Oil Company in Australia.
This photograph shows Ida as a young woman. The children's books illustrator was in her time a "belle of Melbourne society", whose work is now praised for "celebrating the power of the feminine in subtle ways", wrote the ABC in 2018. Image by an unknown photographer and courtesy of the Peter & Dawn Cope Collection.
From Blinky Bill to Babe, see nostalgic favourites from our screen history
Blinky Bill, the star of the popular children's television show of the same name, and his friend Nutsy appear in a promotional still.
Charlie Schlatter and Kylie Minogue pose for a photo promoting their 1989 film The Delinquents.
A poster for Australia, Baz Luhrmann's 2008 epic starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman.
The cover image is by G C Kilburne and appeared in the Illustrated London News in the 1880s. It depicts Australians celebrating Christmas at the height of summer with a picnic.
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