The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences acknowledges Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land and gives respect to the Elders – past and present – and through them to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are advised that the MAAS website contains a range of Indigenous Cultural Material. This includes artworks, artifacts, images and recordings of people who may have passed away, and other objects which may be culturally sensitive.
2007/56/35 Poster, 'Pig Iron Bob / Dead at last', screenprint on paper, designed by Chips Mackinolty, Earthworks Poster Collective, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1978. Click to enlarge.

Poster, ‘Pig Iron Bob dead at last’

Poster art has evolved significantly from the early posters first produced in Australia in the early 19th century that only featured text, to the posters in the Di Holdway Collection that are characterised by bold designs and effective use of photographic and graphic screen print techniques. The Di Holdway Collection is an important poster archive that shows the emerging political voice of Australia's youth culture through poster art. The collection shows how the poster was used as a political tool during the 1970s and 1980s to actively communicate information to a mass audience. It also reveals how the decorative style has effectively been engaged to highlight social issues.

From an historical perspective, the Di Holdway Collection is particularly significant as many of the posters in the collection reflect the social concerns of Australian youth during the 1970s. The Di Holdway Collection is an important collection that reflects the emerging politicisation of a generation. The use of posters for social and political intent, helped politicise a generation and illustrate the belief that art could influence social action and make political comment.

The resurgence of printmaking in Australia in the 1970s emerged as a consequence of Gough Whitlam's Labor government abolishing tertiary education fees and introducing Advanced Colleges of Education. This resulted in more opportunities for artists in training from different socio-economic backgrounds, bringing a different perspective to art. Included in the collection are posters by renowned Australian print makers Jan Mackay, Chips Mackinolty, Michael Callaghan, Marie McMahon and indigenous designed posters and posters from innovative print workshops, Earthworks Poster Collective and Redback Graphix. Many of the posters are rare and now viewed as a highly collectable art commodity.


Object No.


Object Statement

Poster, 'Pig Iron Bob / Dead at last', screenprint on paper, designed by Chips Mackinolty, Earthworks Poster Collective, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1978

Physical Description

Poster, 'Pig Iron Bob / Dead at last', screenprint on paper, designed by Chips Mackinolty, Earthworks Poster Collective, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1978

Poster features black and white photographic screenprint of Sir Robert Menzies on a background of text relating to Menzies political career. The full main text wording printed in black, red and white reads 'Obscene imperialist rites for militarist, witch hunter / Pig Iron Bob / dead at last / Only the ruling class / mourns its dead hero'.


Earthworks Poster Collective symbol.



760 mm


510 mm



Designed by Chips Mackinolty, at Earthworks Poster Collective in 1978.



Copy in the Queensland Art Gallery Collection.

Sir Robert Gordon Menzies (1874-1978) was Prime Minister of Australia between 1939 and 1941 and 1949 through to 1966. He had the misfortune of leading Australia into WWII. During his life Menzies acquired two nicknames, 'Ming the Merciless' and 'Pig-Iron Bob', the later appearing on this poster. The nickname emerged after waterside workers refused to load ships of scrap iron destined for Japan in late 1938 for fear it would be used for armaments. Menzies developed a reputation among waterside workers and the Left as a hard-core Conservative. Anger and resentment lingered even after his death in 1978 when this poster was produced.

This poster is from the Di Holdway collection of posters accumulated over 20 years in Sydney, Alice Springs and Darwin and largely focuses on the work of print makers who first worked with the Earthworks Poster Collective at the Tin Sheds, University of Sydney. Di's involvement with the Tin Sheds began in 1974 when she was working at the Students Representative Council--initially as a secretary and later as its CEO. Dianne Margaret Holdway (died 2001) was close to a number of 'Earthworkers', and during 1974-76, volunteered as a printer and 'racker'. After finishing work at the Students Representative Council, Di worked at the South Sydney Women's Centre and worked closely with the Sydney University Settlement, both located in Chippendale. In the 1980s, Di worked for Aboriginal organisations in the Northern Territory. Throughout this period, Di kept in touch in particular with Michael Callaghan of Redback Graphix, originally from Earthworks Poster Collective, who was at that stage commissioned to produce posters for a number of Central Australian Aboriginal organisations.

The posters in the Di Holdway Collection reflect their times, of course, but also represent Di's wide political and social interests over a period of two decades from the 1970s to 1990s. They very much represent her friends and work mates from the period. Some of the posters are represented in public collections such as the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the National Gallery of Australia. (Extract from notes provided by Chips Mackinolty, Darwin, September 2005)


Credit Line

Gift of Alberto and Demetrio Alati, 2007

Acquisition Date

21 May 2007

Cite this Object


Poster, 'Pig Iron Bob dead at last' 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 30 October 2020, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Poster, 'Pig Iron Bob dead at last' |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=30 October 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}