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The charm of local ephemera

Ephemera – items that were made for brief and fleeting purposes and never intended to last a long time – has always interested me. Perhaps it comes from working at a newspaper, where the product you work hard all day to create becomes, famously, tomorrow’s budgie cage liner or chip wrapper.

Is it the tiny glimpses ephemeral items give of times and places distant or lost? Or is it the design effort that went into making them appealing to the eye of buyers or users? Probably both, plus an element of compulsion in the personality: the desire to collect, or at least document, things that many people would not regard.

My accumulation of ephemera is, alas, quite unguided by rationality. Nor is it well-organised. But I’ve gathered some material that relates to my local area, so that at least provides thematic unity for some of it. Pity help my poor children when I fall off the perch. I imagine they will struggle to deal with the mess I leave behind.

That day hasn’t arrived yet, however, so in the interests of making some use of the aggregation, here’s a gallery of ephemeral items from Newcastle and the Hunter Region of NSW.

A charming piece of folk art of Nobbys Breakwater and headland. Perhaps not so ephemeral.

Also not so ephemeral. The true colour is deep copper bronze.

Again, perhaps not ephemeral, but hardly heirlooms, these are promotional shoehorns.

Wartime clothing ration card
Wartime clothing ration price card from a retail store

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