‘Banned’ café display

Our new café display is up at the National Archives in Canberra. Featuring a large wall montage and stories about books banned in Australia from the 1920s to the 1970s, the display reveals much about how our social attitudes and morals changed during the 20th century.

'Banned' at the National Archive in Australia

‘Banned’ at the National Archives in Canberra
Photographer: Angus Kendon

For conservation reasons, the original books are not on display in the brightly-lit café area, but we scoured bookshops and trawled through eBay to find copies to flick through. We’ve also included copies of censorship documents which provide an insight into why some books were banned.

Check out our Books page for more information about the prohibited publications on display, including links to digitised documents in the National Archives collection.

Stay tuned next week for a story about JD Salinger’s classic novel, The Catcher in the Rye. The banning of this novel in 1956 caused national embarrassment and led to an overhaul of the censorship system.