Museum Victoria holds uniforms, guns, photographs, diaries, artworks and printed material from World War I.
The honour certificate artwork, 'In Freedom's Cause', was designed for use as a personal memorial, depicting the nation's respect and gratitude for those who fought and returned. During World War I, Cecil Smith was employed as a graphic artist by D.W. Paterson and Company, a well-established printing firm in Collins Street, Melbourne. Smith designed a number of honour certificates for presentation by local authorities to returning war veterans, to thank them for their service and to welcome them home.
Museum Victoria holds four of his designs, including those for the City of Footscray and for the Shepparton Town Council. Earlier honour certificates had portrayed Australian soldiers in battle, emphasising their bravery and the hardships they had suffered. Sometimes the certificates acted as spurs to encourage further enlistment.
Smith designed 'In Freedom's Cause' at the end of 1917, after Australian forces had suffered huge losses in the war. Its mood is different from earlier designs - quieter and more solemn - and it depicts a nation's gratitude for the sacrifices of its volunteers. The young woman, representing Australia, kneels in homage, offering laurel, a symbol of victory, to the returned veteran. The soldier's tin hat and rifle lie abandoned, but a flame burns eternally in memory of his service. The names of the allied nations signify that the soldier's work was part of a great war effort. Great Britain is represented by roses, thistles and clover at the base of the design.