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National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer



  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7551)

    A baby
    Postcard featuring Melbourne Cup winner - Acrasia
    The Ovens Valley from the gorge, Mt Buffalo, Vic
    Postcard featuring a comic drawing of a soldier on a donkey with the pyramids in the background.
  • Timothy Millett collection(313)

    Convict love token from Robert Bridges, 1843
    Convict love token from Benjamin Cox, 1839
    Convict love token from J.J. or T.T. 1832
    Convict love token from James Keen

    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.

  • Nettie McColive collection(189)

    Country Women's Association South Australia Quorn Branch, Second Prize, 1946 awarded to Miss MacColive

    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.

  • Convict Era Shirt collection(6)

    Cylindrical oil lamp with fluted conical top and circular convex glass window
    Metal handcuffs
    Convict hand-stitched shift shirt of woven fabric of white and blue stripes
    Axe with iron head and wooden shaft

    The Convict Era Shirt collection comprises six convict era artefacts found at the Commandant's Cottage in Granton, Tasmania during renovations in the 1960s.The collection includes a convict era shirt c.1830, a convict punishment shoe, a Government-issue metal candle holder impressed with a broad arrow mark, a whale oil burning lamp with original convex magnifying lens, a waisted iron axe with an impressed crown over a broad arrow, and a pair of handcuffs marked 'Froggatt Warrented Wrought Iron'.

    A secondary punishment station was established at Bridgewater in 1829 to build a causeway across the Derwent. Approximately 200 convicts were employed, in chains, to erect the Commandant's cottage, convict barracks, the Black Snake inn and to break stones to form the foundation of the causeway. This was a difficult and punishing task, and the project was abandoned seven years later uncompleted. The significance of the shirt, as one of only two surviving examples of such a ubiquitous article of clothing, is given added importance due to the circumstances that led to its and the shoe's preservation. The shirt had been placed into a wall cavity and the shoe was placed under the floor. Both items appear to have been deliberately concealed in the cottage by its convict builders as a 'house sacrifice', a folk practice common in England from the 1400s.

  • John Harvey collection(1)

    1948 36hp Daimler landaulette as used in the 1954 Royal Tour of Australia

    This Daimler DE 36 landaulette came to the attention of National Museum of Australia curators during research into transport used for the Royal Tour of Australia in 1954. The Museum acquired the car from a private collector in South Australia in August 2009. This impressive four-ton vehicle is coachbuilt by Hooper and Co. on a Daimler 'straight eight' chassis. At almost 6 metres long, it is finished in black with Royal blue side panels and red pin-striping. Luxurious interior fittings include cream cord and blue leather upholstery, a walnut dash, silk window blinds and engraved glass light fittings.

    Primarily an iconic reminder of the Royal Tour, this vehicle has strong relevance to broad areas of Australian history and can be used to address the themes of royal transport, the monarchy in Australia and innovation in the motor industry. The vehicle's subsequent ownership ably illustrates other aspects of history, such as Daimler's fall from favour and the lasting impact of the Royal Tour on a generation of Australians. This acquisition is representative of a remarkable small number of vehicles to be fabricated for the Royal Tour and as such is extremely rare.

  • Horne-Bowie collection(720)

    Kimberley point
    Utilised flake [stone implement]
  • Olive Pink collection(77)

    Pigmented oval shield
    Pigmented oval shield
    Pigmented oval shield
  • Bothwell Museum collection(192)

    Wire clothes peg
    Tintype portrait of a young child
    Factory made wooden dolly peg
    Wignalls bamboo pram