Householders’ Handbook for Nuclear Warfare

A Practical Pamphlet to Survive the H-Bomb

When we think of doomsday prepping, our imagination is likely to conjure images of eccentric characters in American documentaries, or, more recently, the stockpiling of food and supplies undertaken by many around the globe while we were cast into the initial throes of the COVID-19 pandemic. But here, in the Householders’ Handbook for Nuclear Warfare, issued by the Director of Civil Defence for New South Wales and likely collected from a council building in the Greater Newcastle area, we find a completely different kind of doomsday prepping guide.

Complete with a brief overview of the three main effects of nuclear explosions, information on how to prepare one’s household for such an event, instructions for the immediate aftermath, as well as a full list of non-perishable food items, specifications for water supply, first-aid supplies, as well as other essentials, this pamphlet came with the intention to equip citizens for a much-anticipated nuclear war.

Whether this pamphlet was kept and preserved because the owner themselves believed this householders’ handbook was bound to come in handy some day or whether they kept it purely for the sake of posterity, it is a unique insight into the political climate and the universal fear of nuclear war during the Cold War era, when booklets such as these were aplenty.