It is Nice in the Surf but What about the Men in the Trenches? Go and Help


This 1917 Australian poster is representative of many used to recruit volunteers to serve with the British forces in World War I. Australian recruitment drives were highly successful and resulted in more than 400,000 men enlisting from a population of fewer than five million. Posters such as this one appealed to the Australian value of “mateship” or comradeship, while others appealed to patriotism. In addition to the young man swimming in the surf, the poster features the emblem of the Win the War League, an organization founded in 1917 by the Women’s State Recruiting Committee in Adelaide. The artist, David Henry Souter (1862–1935), was born in Scotland. He was apprenticed there at age 12 to a house-painter and sign writer, and studied drawing at a local art school. After moving to South Africa in 1881, he settled in Sydney in 1887. Souter drew cartoons for the weekly Tribune and News of the Week and, from 1895 until his death 40 years later, was a weekly contributor of cartoons to every edition of the influential magazine the Bulletin. A man of many talents, Souter illustrated books for children and adults, designed and drew posters, designed bookplates, produced plays, and wrote librettos for light operas.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

William Brooks & Company, Limited, Sydney


Type of Item

Physical Description

1 print (poster) : lithograph, color ; 77 x 51 centimeters



  1. Vane Lindesay, “Souter, David Henry (1862–1935),” Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,

Last updated: November 14, 2017