Menu toggle

National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer


Scorched Earth

Object information


Exhibition: Bringing the House Down 1999 Entrant. Exhibition venue: Old Parliament House. Exhibition Category: East Timor.

Physical description

Colour print. Depicts village in East Timor, with burning buildings and school, people leaving with soldiers, soldiers killing with guns and machetes, decapitated heads on bamboo poles. In foreground are Indonesian President Habibie, General Wiranto holding paper marked 'SCORCHED EARTH', Suharto and fourth figure. Caption -- Wiranto: 'WHEN WE MAKE / A PROMISE, / WE / KEEP / IT.'. Signed '11.9.99 / Nicholson' in bottom left corner.

Statement of significance

This collection consists of 134 political cartoons collected under the auspices of the National Museum's 1999 Political Humour Competition.

The cartoons provide a satirical record of the major events and personalities in Australian politics in 1999. Major topics addressed within the collection include the Goods and Services tax, the Sydney Olympics, the 'cash comment controversy' on talkback radio, the defeat of Jeff Kennett in the Victorian election, Republic referendum, the independence struggle in East Timor, racism, Aboriginal land rights and Australia's international relations. There are a number of illustrations and caricatures of notable political figures including John Howard, Peter Costello, Jeff Kennett and Peter Reith. The collection features works from all of Australia's major metropolitan newspapers. Taken together the collection provides a wonderful archive of the best of Australian political cartooning in 1999.

Object information

Back to top