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National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer



  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7551)

    The Observatory, Sydney
    Entente Cordiale
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Art (ATSIAA) collection(2104)

    Red bow and arrow with feathers
    Girl Shattered
    Fraser Island
    Weapon bag by Yvonne Koolmatrie

    The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Art collection comprises 2050 artworks and other objects. The artworks - which numerically dominate the collection - were produced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities throughout Australia. The accumulation of these artworks into a single collection has resulted from the choices and selections made during a 38 year period by a variety of staff working for the Council for Aboriginal Affairs (CAA), the Department of Aboriginal Affairs (DAA), the Aboriginal Development Commission (ADC) and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) at the national, regional and local levels.

    The collection spans the years following the 1967 referendum, when dramatic changes in the governance of Aboriginal people took place, up to 2005 when the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission was dissolved. It provides a snapshot of the diversity and changes in Indigenous art and its representation which occurred during the period of its formation. The small number of 'non-art' objects in the collection is also significant in providing insights into the working of the various Commonwealth bodies involved in Indigenous affairs. As well as the significance of many of the individual pieces, the collection is also significant as a whole, as a complex artefact stemming from Australia's history of governance of Australian Indigenous peoples.

  • Springfield - Faithfull Family collection(3501)

    Big House at Springfield.
    Carte de visite photograph depicting a burial monument bearing the names the Deane family
    School report
    Kath Bryden

    The Springfield Collection comprises about 1550 artefacts from Springfield station, south of Goulburn. It includes colonial era costume, a bushranger medal, surveying instruments, a late-19th century landau, firearms and edged weapons, wool samples and Joseph Foveaux's pocket watch and bible. The objects are complemented by over 400 photographs. This diverse collection reflects the growth and economic success of the property, responses to changes in the wool market and the daily lives of the people who have lived on Springfield.

    Springfield has grown from a 518-hectare land grant given to William Pitt Faithfull in 1828 to the current 3183 hectares with ownership remaining in the one family. William Pitt Faithfull established the Springfield Merino Stud in 1838 with ten rams selected from the Macarthur Camden Park stud. The stud evolved slowly over the years until the early 1950s when, under the management of Jim Maple-Brown, a scientific approach to wool-growing was adopted and the stud's name was changed to Fonthill to reflect this.

  • American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land (AASEAL) collection(218)

    Weapon - Spearthrower
    Totem Place of Wild Honey
    Bark painting divided into square and rectangular panels and depicting a rectangular figure with two triangular prongs on the top
    Armband - Milingimbi, N.T.
  • Tania Verstak collection(12)

    Smiling woman
    Trophy awarded to 'Tania Verstak Miss Australia in recognition of outstanding service for Queensland Industry'
    Golden yellow poplin dress with Australian wildflower applique
    Deep pink silk chiffon dress with train

    The Tania Verstak collection documents Tania's experience as a participant and eventual winner both of the 1961 Miss Australia Quest and the 1962 Miss International contest. Trophies are a particular strength of this collection, representing the then unprecedented level of success achieved by Tania Verstak as the first naturalised Australian to win the Miss Australia Quest, and as an Australian winner of a high profile overseas beauty contest. Also in this collection are two evening gowns worn by Tania during competition for the Miss Australia Quest, and a dress worn for 'national costume' judging at the 1962 International Beauty Congress held in Long Beach, California. This collection is supported by file copies of photographs, newspaper clippings and ephemera, sourced from Tania Verstak's personal archive, that document her progression through the state and national stages of the Miss Australia Quest, her participation at the International Beauty Congress, and her world tour as Miss Australia 1961.

    The Miss Australia Quest (from 1992 known as the Miss Australia Awards) ran continuously from 1953 to 2000 and was arguably the longest running, most popular and most successful charitable enterprise in Australia's history. The first documented nationwide contest to identify Australia's ideal woman was held in 1907, however the first official use of the title 'Miss Australia' is more generally thought to have been used in relation to 'Miss Australia 1926' - Beryl Mills from Western Australia. Further contests were held in 1927, 1937, and from 1945 until 1950. It was in 1953 when Bernard Dowd (manufacturer of Hickory Lingerie in Australia) and his company Dowd Associates took over running of the competition that the Quest became a registered business enterprise, and the 'search for Miss Australia' gained momentum. From 1954 until 2000 the Quest ran primarily as a fundraising event for the Australian Cerebral Palsy Association (ACPA), and is estimated to have raised $90 million for people with cerebral palsy. Over its lifetime, the Quest reflected many of the changes that took place in Australian society and culture: the changing role and perceptions of women; changing perceptions of people with disabilities; the influence of migrants and 'New Australians'; and the presentation of Australia and Australians overseas.

  • Ben Chifley collection no. 3(53)

    Eight Christmas note cards from Mrs Laura Wilkins to Mrs Elizabeth Chifley
    United Hospital Auxiliaries of N.S.W.
    Six documents, and a lace sample
    Australian Red Cross Society

    The objects in the Ben Chifley Collection refer to the lives of Ben and Elizabeth Chifley, primarily from the Chifleys' days as Prime Minister and Prime Minister's wife, but stretching beyond Ben's death in 1951 until Elizabeth's death in 1962. Significant objects include a letter of condolence to Elizabeth Chifley from Elsie Curtin (former PM John Curtin's wife) on the death of Ben Chifley (above), photos of Chifley as a young boy and a bible on which Chifley was sworn in as minister in the short-lived Scullin government of 1931.

    Joseph Benedict Chifley was Australia's sixteenth Prime Minister, leading the Australian government between 1945 and 1949. This period was one of particular importance in Australian history, being the time during which many of the contours of post-War Australian social and economic development were established. Chifley also articulated the values of the reforming Labor Party in his "Light on the Hill" speech of 1949. However, the election of December that year saw the beginning of a drastic re-alignment of political allegiances in voting behaviour, leading to over twenty years of conservative dominance in Australian politics. An understanding of Ben Chifley, in both his private and public guises, illustrates much about this crucial era in post-War Australian history.

  • Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority collection(15)

    Blood collection kit
    Plastic urine/blood vial
    Lidded plastic beaker for collection of urine samples

    Urine sample kit

    The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) collection comprises urine and blood testing kits, public education posters and documents related to the administration of testing programs. These objects speak to ASADA's work in drug testing Australian athletes who compete at state and national levels, as well as international athletes if they are competing in events held in Australia. The posters also illustrate the agency's role to inform the sporting community of drugs and related safety issues.

    Athletes since ancient times have used a myriad of substances to enhance their physical and mental performance during sporting endeavours. The development of rules, procedures and penalties related to the use of certain substances did not begin in earnest until the 1960s, when the Council of Europe tabled a resolution against the use of doping. Blood and urine testing became more common into the 1970s. The first anti-doping initiative in Australia was a survey into drug use in sport in 1979 by the Australian Sports Medicine Federation. Following a Senate inquiry into drug use in sport in 1989-90, the Federal Government established the Australian Sports Drug Agency (ASDA). On 14 March 2006, Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) replaced the ASDA.

  • Hampden Love collection(1)

    Autographed wooden cricket stump from the fourth test cricket match, Australia v England, Brisbane, 1933, in the 'Bodyline' series

    The Hampden Love collection consists of a cricket stump from the fourth test of the 1932-33 English Cricket side's tour of Australia, also known as the Bodyline series. Hampden Love, the Australian wicket keeper for the Brisbane Test, souvenired the stump at the completion of the match on 16 February 1933.

    Hampden Stanley Bray Love (known as Hammie Love) played only one test in the Bodyline series, that being the fourth test in Brisbane. This is significant in itself as Love was standing in for the injured Bert Oldfield. Oldfield had been assisted from the field with a fractured skull in the third test after being hit on the head by a delivery from English bowler Harold Larwood. This incident was emblematic of the bodyline series where the English side employed the tactic of bowling at the body's of the Australian batsman. The bodyline series is often sited as the most controversial episode in the history of Australian and English test competition. The series has entered into the folk lore of cricket as a moment where values of sportsmanship clashed with the desire to win. It is also an important moment in the history of relations between Australian and Britain with a popular Australian backlash against the tactics of the English team.