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National Museum of Australia

Collection Explorer



  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7553)

    The Walker Hospital, Parramatta River, N.S.W, 1906
    Neutral Bay, Sydney
    Bird's Eye View of Port Pirie
    Bronte Beach Sydney, N.S.W
  • Papunya Art 2008 collection(15)

    Pencil drawing in Papunya style by Uta Uta Tjangala, Pintupi, 1971
    Pencil and watercolour, on paper in Papunya style by unknown Pintupi artist, 1971
    Untitled painting by Anatjari Tjakamarra, 1972, polymer on board
    Pencil drawing in Papunya style by Uta Uta Tjangala, Pintupi, 1971

    The Papunya Art 2008 Collection consists of fifteen artworks, comprising eleven untitled watercolours and drawings on paper produced by Pintupi artists in 1971, 'Goanna Corroboree at Mirkantji' painted on plywood by Kaapa Tjampitjinpa in 1971, 'Snake Dreaming for Children' painted on particle board by Uta Uta Tjangala in 1971, an untitled work painted on wooden board by Anatjari Tjakamarra in 1972, and an untitled work on linen by Uta Uta Tjangala painted in 1986. It also includes some supporting documentation held in the Archive collection.

    The works in this collection are all significant Indigenous works, representing different stages and some of the major artists involved in the development of the Western Desert art movement at Papunya, which has become internationally renowned as the origin of the contemporary Aboriginal acrylic painting industry. The fourteen works from 1971 and 1972 represent the very earliest phase of the movement at Papunya. The eleven watercolours and drawings on paper , three attributed to Uta Uta Tjangala, represent a formative moment in this movement when artists began experimenting with different media.The sketching of designs on paper took place prior to the production of acrylic paintings. Although the designs themselves had been produced traditionally by the artists as body decoration, ground and cave paintings, when Papunya school teacher Geoffrey Bardon supplied the Pintupi men with paper, watercolour and pencil, this was the first time their designs had been applied to a non-traditional surface. Kaapa Tjampitjinpa, Uta Uta Tjangala and Anatjari Tjakamarra were all important artists who contributed to the birth and subsequent development of the Papunya painting movement. The three paintings on boards in this collection, done during 1971 and 1972, therefore enhance the Museum's holdings of significant works from this early period. The 1986 Uta Uta Tjangala painting is also a significant addition to the NMA's growing holdings of this important artist. Overall, the items in this collection are significant in expanding the chronological sweep of the NMA's holdings of Papunya related material, beyond its current strengths in the 1974-1981 period.

  • Andrew Reeves collection no. 5(24)

    The Federated Railway Loco Engineman's Association of Australia
    Melbourne Wharf Labourers' Union Certificate of Recognition
    Australasian Federated Butchers Union, Queensland Certificate of Recognition
    Amalgamated Society of Engineers

    The Andrew Reeves collection consists of twenty-three trade union certificates used in Australia from 1860-1970. They are generally in good condition considering their age, use and material (paper based). They cover a range of Australian worker's unions, including a number which either were amalgamated into larger unions or ceased to exist.

    The period between the 1850s and the 1970s spans a key time in the development, working condition gains and various ebbs and flow of Australian trade unions. Certificates in this collection document achievements including the eight hour work day but also allow reflection on the dwindling support for unions during the 20th century. In addition, as the designs of Australian certificates follow the centuries old British tradition of union emblems they provide examples of links between worker's organisations in Australia and England.

  • Bureau of Mineral Resources collection no. 1(534)

    Toepfer mirror galvanometer
    DTMCIW magnetometer S/N 16
    Falconer No 4916 chronometer
  • 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.

  • The Christensen Fund collection no. 3(1)

    Document known as the 'Batman Land Deed', between John Batman and Aboriginal 'chiefs' of the Kulin nation, Port Phillip area, 1835

    The Christensen Fund collection no. 3 contains an historic document, handwritten in 1835, known as the 'Batman land Deed'. The Deed, one of three originals covering the purchase of land in the Port Phillip region, was drawn up by colonial lawyer and member of the Port Phillip Association, Joseph T Gellibrand. A similar deed, for the exchange of land at Geelong, was also prepared. The type of conveyancing used, known as a 'feoffment', or 'gift', involved a transfer of land by 'livery of seisin'. The term livery of seisin, meaning 'transfer of possession' referred to a process of transferring land, commonplace in England from medieval times to 1925. The transfer ceremony sometimes included a symbolic gesture, such as giving a handful of soil or a twig by the transferor the 'feoffor'. The transferee was known as a 'feoffee', and the land, the 'fief'.

    The 'treaty' between John Batman (1801-1839), as representative of the Port Phillip Association, and eight Aboriginal elders of the Kulin nation (an alliance of five Aboriginal nations, Wurundjeri, Bunurong, Wathaurong, Taungurong and Dja Dja Wurrung as traditional owners of lands around the Yarra River prior to European settlement), granted Batman and his associates freehold ownership of 240,000 hectares - almost all of the ancestral lands of the Kulin peoples. The treaty signing is believed to have taken place at a bend in Merri Creek, a tributary of the Yarra River, in what is now the Melbourne suburb of Northcote. According to the entry in John Batman's journal for 6 June 1835, "This took place alongside of a beautiful stream of water, and from whence my land commences, and where a tree is marked four ways to know the corner boundary. The country about here exceeds anything I ever saw, both for grass and richness of soil. The timber light, and consists of sheoak and small gum, with a few wattle." As a privately drawn-up treaty, this document was unusual at this time, because, under English feudal law, all land belonged to the crown. Under this scheme, private individuals could not own land absolutely but were merely tenants of the crown. It is unlikely that Aboriginal people understood what the document represented, or would have agreed to it if they had. The deed was effectively annulled on 26 August 1835, when Governor Bourke proclaimed that the Batman 'treaty' was "void and of no effect as against the rights of the Crown". Burke's document became the basis for the concept of terra nullius, upon which British settlement was based, which did not recognize prior ownership of Australian land by Aboriginal peoples. The principles expressed in Bourke's proclamation did not change until the Australian High Court ruled in the Mabo v. Queensland case in 1992 that land title of the Indigenous Peoples, the Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, is recognised at common law.

    The Batman land deed contained in the Christensen fund collection no. 3 is a very significant document that has had far-reaching and long-term ramifications for Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and powerfully reminds us of the injustices which Aboriginal people have suffered since European colonization. In this sense, it relates most strongly to the NHC's core collecting areas of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories, and to Australian history and society since 1788.

  • Diana Boyer collection(137)

    'Time Change'
    Sketchbook, 'SPRING 05 -SUMMER 06', Diana Boyer
    'Time Change'
    'Time Change'

    The Diana Boyer collection comprises artworks, annotated sketches and other recordings of life on 'Bobbara Creek', a rural property in the Binalong district of southern NSW, between 1981 and 2007. There are twenty eight items and groups of items in the collection. All are in good condition.

    This collection records the imaginative and emotional processes by which Diana Boyer, a migrant from Argentina, settled in an Australian place. The artworks, sketchbooks and other items show Diana's engagement with the ecological particularities of the Binalong district, and with significant issues arising from the social and economic dynamics of colonial history and the present. The items record Diana's exploration of a range of topics related to her life and work on 'Bobbara Creek', including Aboriginal dispossession, the representation of rural women, the value of biological diversity, the broader implications of introducing genetically modified canola to Australia, and the possible consequences of global warming for Australian agriculture.

  • Springfield - Faithfull Family collection(3501)

    Mourning card for Isabella Lewis
    Membership card for Mrs W.H. Faithfull Anderson to the Australian Polo Club
    Handwritten recipes
    Drawing of a dog

    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.