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National Museum of Australia

Collection Explorer



  • Nettie McColive collection(189)


    Needlework has been an important creative outlet for women throughout Australian history. This work has often been denigrated due to the (gendered) divide between high and low culture which regards domestic work as trivial, feminine and unworthy of the title "Art". A reassessment of history informed by womens' history and feminism has led to domestic needlework being acknowledged as more than simply functional labour. The social role of this type of work is now better appreciated making it a vital aspect of domestic material culture.

    This collection consists of objects relating to the life of Minetta (Nettie) McColive (nee Huppatz). Mrs McColive's quilts form the centre piece of the collection. Three of these were made in the 1930's, the Farm Life Quilt, Wildflowers Quilt and the International Quilt. Also featured in the collection are certificates, photographs and d'oyleys. This collection helps to document issues such as women in rural Australia, quilting and needlework, education in the outback, community or commemorative quilting, shows and competitions.

    Mrs McColive's work has been the subject of considerable interest both in South Australia as well as in the general quilting community. Her work is featured in two books, Jennifer Isaac's The Gentle Arts and Margaret Rolfe's Patchwork Quilts in Australia. Her work has also featured in exhibitions such as the Quilt Australia '88 exhibition as well as an exhibition held in Prospect showcasing the work of local artists.

  • Timothy Millett collection(313)

    Convict love token from John Bournes, 1831
    Convict love token from C. Wilkingson, 1824
    Convict love token engraved with the names D. Clarke and M. White, 1828
    Convict love token from Thomas Spicer, January 17, 1818

    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.

  • Kevin Hannan collection(9)

    Photograph of Winnie O'Sullivan standing in front of the bow of a ship
    Gold mourning locket containing a photograph of Australian champion boxer Les Darcy, who died in 1917
    Postcard sent by boxer Les Darcy to Thomas Moloney, 1917
    Photograph of Winnie O'Sullivan sitting on a backless stool, c1917

    The Kevin Hannan collection consists of material relating to the grieving of Winnie O'Sullivan over the death of her fiance, Australian champion boxer Les Darcy, in 1917. The collection is supported by 2 postcards and 6 photographs depicting Darcy's ill-fated boxing career in America, and friends and family of Winnie O'Sullivan central to the Darcy story throughout various periods of her life.

    After rising to stardom as a champion boxer during the First World War period, Les Darcy became a political scapegoat of the first conscription referendum in 1916. A young, fit and healthy example of Australian masculinity, Darcy symbolized all males whom the greater public had deemed eligible for service and were shirking their duty of serving their country on the battlefield. Darcy subsequently left Australia to establish a boxing career in America, but died from septicaemia caused by a tooth infection in May 1917 at the age of 21. Although the material speaks something of Darcy's plight, it also reflects the ways in which Australians dealt with death, loss and mourning during the early twentieth century, but more importantly, during the devastating years of the First Word War.

  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7551)

    Leg of Mutton Lake, Mt Gambier, SA
    An Australian Sheep Station
    Presbyterian Church, Wollongong N.S.W
    Australians.  Greetings at Xmas
  • Warakurna Tjanpi collection no.2(5)

    Yilkaringkatjanyayi Pitja (Has the Plane Come?) by Dianne Ungukalpi Golding
    Untitled basket by Nancy Nyanyarna Jackson
    Y'iwarra Kultu Warakurnala Kutu (The Road to Warakurna) by Jean Burke
    Helicopter (Flat Chopper) by Polly Pawuya Jackson

    The Warakurna Tjanpi Collection No. 2 consists of five woven fibre art pieces produced by artists from the Warakurna Aboriginal community. The three individual works and two collaborative works were made by Dianne Ungukalpi Golding, Jean Burke, Polly Pawuya Jackson, Nancy Nyanyarna Jackson, Nora Holland and Eunice Yunurupa Porter during the period 2011 to 2012.

    These objects reflect the dynamism of the art movement in the Western Desert and are closely related to the narrative style paintings being produced at Warakurna. Like other Western Desert artworks and artefacts adapted for sale, woven fibre objects had their origins in traditional forms. A shift in recent years has seen artists produce woven sculptural objects which reference a range of historical and contemporary themes, in addition to the Tjukurrpa (creation) stories for which Western Desert artists are well-known.

  • Judy Horacek collection no. 2(5)

    Black and white cartoon titled 'Damn feminists'
    Coloured cartoon titled 'Dr Jekyll and Mrs Hyde'
    Black and white cartoon titled 'Cemetery of Women'
    Black and white cartoon titled 'Photographing marbles'

    The collection consists of 45 cartoons by free lance cartoonist Judy Horacek produced from mid 1980s to 2001. The cartoons provide social and political comment on gender relations. Horacek's work has appeared in number newspapers and journals including the Australian, the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald.

    Horacek's work has always been especially concerned with women and feminism. Her characteristic spiky, sassy figures provide heroines which her readers readily identify with. Her cartoons reflect some of the major issues of the feminist movement including women and politics, women's place in society and women and work.

  • Myrtle Wilson collection(87)

    Certificate awarded at the Kiama Agricultural and Horticultural Association 117th Annual Show, 1965  for first prize for a tapestry bag
    Certificate awarded at the Captain Cook Bi-Centenary N.S.W Glouster Show for first prize for a tatted butterfly doily
    Certificate awarded to V.M. Wilson at the Bruce Rock and District Agricultural Society Annual Show, 1963 for first prize for a snow white play apron
    Certificate awarded at the Royal Melbroune Centenary Show, 1948 for first prize for a snow white play apron
  • Springfield - Faithfull Family collection(3501)

    Typed knitting pattern for a
    Marble Church Near Rhyl
    Extract from Mr Charles Matcham's letters to a relative in England 1834
    Two sequencial pages out of a bible.

    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.