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.