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National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer



  • Timothy Millett collection(313)

    Convict love token from George Robotham, 1827
    Convict love token to Maria
    Convict love token from William Hall, 1830
    Convict love token inscribed with the initials R.L and S.L., 1819

    The Timothy Millett collection comprises 307 convict love tokens dating from 1762 to 1856, and seven contemporary documents relating to the criminal justice system including: recommendations to commute the death sentences of Hester Sampson and Thomas Hayes to life transportation; a calendar of prisoners awaiting trial in the goals of Durham, Newcastle and Northumberland; a request to the Middlesex assizes for rewards to be paid; a printed copy of George Skene's last speech prior to execution; a printed broadside listing prisoners in Dorchester jail awaiting transportation; and a 60 page handwritten account of the life of Thomas Jones, who was transported twice and finally hanged at Winchester Prison in 1856.

    Convict love tokens, typically made from smoothed-down coins and engraved or stippled with a message, derive from traditional sailors' farewells. The production of these 'leaden hearts' rose as criminal indictments increased in Britain, with the majority produced during the 1820s and 1830s. As mementos made by or for convicts facing transportation (or death) to leave behind for their loved ones, the tokens provide a poignant, personal insight into the transportation system.

  • Tandanya collection no. 1(1)

    Mono-plane - sculpture of a single propeller aeroplane by Yvonne Koolmatrie

    The Tandanya collection no. 1 comprises four objects by Ngarrindjeri artists, including a small sculpture of a single engine aeroplane woven from pandanus fibre, a carved river red gum sculpture of a bird (bush curlew), a screenprint titled "The Unhappy Race" and a screenprint, "The Tree". The objects were purchased from Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute, Adelaide, in 1992.

    Tandanya, meaning "place of the red kangaroo"' was established in 1989, and was Australia's first Aboriginal-owned and managed multi arts centre. Its purpose is to facilitate and to foster knowledge and understanding, through artistic expression, of the diversity, adaptability and resilience of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures. The original Ngarrindjeri basketware mono-plane was made by Janet Watson who made the plane from her memory of the first time she saw a plane, which was when her brother left to go shearing. Ngarrindjeri weaver, Yvonne Koolmatrie, was commissioned by Tandanya to reproduce the mono-plane in the traditional Ngarrindjeri style of weaving, symbolising innovation in Ngarrindjeri culture. The carving of the bush curlew, by Ngarrindjeri sculptor, Max Roberts, was conceived while bushwalking near Menindee, NSW, and captures the moment when the curlew looks over its shoulder to look for predators. "The Unhappy Race" by Dora Smith, a Ngarrindjeri artist from Berri, is a personal work using photos of her children. DoraÂ?s work is often intensely political, incorporating disturbing aspects of European colonisation and focusing on Aboriginal futures. Self-taught Ngarrindjeri painter, woodcarver and screenprinter, Rodney Abdulla's works draw inspiration from his family and the landscape. "The Tree", with its canoe scar, is a symbol of Aboriginal peopleÂ?s culture and close association with the land.

  • Dick Roughsey Rainbow Serpent collection(16)

    Painting no. 15, Rainbow Serpent story by Dick Roughsey - Goorialla tears the mountain to pieces and hurls it all over the country
    Painting no. 8, Rainbow Serpent story by Dick Roughsey - The young Bil-bil brothers come running in for shelter
    Painting no. 5, Rainbow Serpent story by Dick Roughsey - Goorialla watching men dancing the sacred Butta keera
    Painting no. 4, Rainbow Serpent story by Dick Roughsey - Goorialla making Minalinka lagoon

    The Dick Roughsey Rainbow Serpent collection consists of 16 works produced for the children's book 'The Rainbow Serpent' (1975) by Lardil artist Dick Roughsey (Goobalathaldin).

    The rainbow serpent is an important ancestral being in Indigenous communities and emerged in ancestral stories and related manifestations for the first time some 3,000 to 6,000 years ago. 'The Rainbow Serpent' won a Children's Picture Book of the Year Award in 1976 and was one of seven successful children's books produced by Dick Roughsey in collaboration with his colleague and friend Percy Tresize.

  • Springfield Merino Stud collection(166)

    Four lambs
    Prize card awarded at the Murrumbidgee Annual Show, 1887
    Certificate awarded at the Murrumbidgee Annual Show, 1887, First Prize
  • Everitt and George Family collection(911)

    Photographic print depicting Mr George with a toy theatre
    Photographic prints depicting the toy theatre
    Photograph print depicting the Toy Theatre with illuminated electric llights
    Photographic print depicting the toy theatre with adjoining side curtains

    The Everitt and George Family collection consists of over 800 objects including a Toy Theatre with a 'Redington' proscenium and a second back stage, play booklets and associated scenery, photographs of the Toy Theatre, and documents and working notes related to the collection. The collection is in good condition.

    The Toy Theatre was invented in England around 1811, reflecting the popularity of pantomimes and plays performed in the leading theatres around London in the same period. They soon became a favourite pastime for teenage boys and adult collectors alike, with a long list of publishers producing a wealth of material. B Pollock was one of the most famous of these publishers and the earliest pieces in this collection have been attributed to Pollock. Though this was largely an English tradition the collection reflects the first owner Edward Everitt's heritage, who migrated to Australia in the 19th century bringing parts of the Toy Theatre with him.

  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7550)

    Pattinson & Co.prescription and envelope
    Caulfield Cup, 1905
    Fairy Bower Steps, Bundanoon, 1906
    TheTimber Industry at the Huon, Tasmania
  • Political Humour Competition 1998 collection(129)

    Scare Campaign
    Reith - Closet Republican
    The Faraway
    The FU Holden Howard
  • Betty Hall collection(58)

    Invitation to a luncheon in honour of Sir Edward Harding, Canberra, 4 December 1936
    Invitation 'To meet Mr Tatsuo Kawai, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of Japan...', 1941

    The Betty Hall Collection represents a unique collection of material relating to the history of the Parliamentary Dining Rooms in the Provisional Parliament House.

    This collection was put together by Mr H L Napthali who worked as the Chief Steward in the Parliamentary Refreshment Rooms from 1939 - 1945. He moved to Canberra in 1939 after having worked in the NSW Parliamentary Refreshment Rooms. While at Provisional Parliament House Mr Napthali supervised a staff of fifty people and was responsible for purchasing as well as servicing the various bars and dining rooms within the House. He was also responsible for organising special dinners for commemorative occasions and for overseas visitors. Mr Napthali accumulated material relating to the history of the Federal Parliament both when worked in the NSW Parliament and in the Federal Parliament.