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.
The John 'Johnny' Warren Collection includes an extensive range of materials detailing his days playing for junior teams in the Botany area of South Sydney in the 1950s, through his senior club years in the 1960s and 1970s, and national representative career as a Socceroo from 1965 to 1974. The collection also details Warren's later work as a soccer coach and administrator, journalist and television commentator, and incorporates files and publications related to his work as a government advisor and advocate for the sport.
Warren was Australia's most famous soccer player who tirelessly championed a sport regarded as a minor footballing code in this country. An attacking midfielder of great speed and skill, he played in the NSW State League and was chosen to represent Australia in 1965. His national representative career stretched over a decade, culminating in his participation in the 1974 World Cup in West Germany. After retiring as a player, Warren worked as a coach, administrator, journalist and television commentator promoting the sport he loved. He became the face of Australian soccer, championing the sport for many years through a long and cherished partnership with his colleague and friend Les Murray on SBS Television.
The Tooloyn Koortakay Collection comprises thirty pieces including a reproduction of the Maiden's Punt Yorta Yorta possum skin cloak collected in 1853, a reproduction of the Lake Condah Gunditjmara possum skin cloak collected in 1872, pastel drawings, lino cuts, etchings, possum skin dance ornaments and a selection of tools for making possum skin cloaks. As the cloaks were well over one hundred years old and slowly deteriorating, Lee Darroch, Treahna Hamm, Vicki Couzens and Debra Couzens undertook the project as a commitment to cultural regeneration.
Possum skin cloaks are a significant aspect of Aboriginal cultural heritage from Victoria and other parts of southeastern Australia. Prior to 1830 almost every person had his or her own possum skin cloak to wear during winter and use for a mattress or blanket. Cloaks were incised with designs representing clan identity, animals, plants and natural features. As there are only five cloaks from this region known to exist in the world, the Tooloyn Koortakay collection is an important historical record as well as a significant expression of contemporary cultural change and identity.
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.
The Sir Hubert Opperman Collection No. 2, comprises 181 objects relating to his cycling, political and RAAF careers. Items of note include a silver tray presented to him for duties as Immigration Minister in 1966; Knights Bachelor Medal awarded by Queen Elizabeth II in 1968; and a Basque Beret worn when he was awarded the Gold Medal of Paris in 1991 by Jacques Chirac.
Sir Hubert Opperman, or 'Oppy' has he was affectionately known, became a household name in the 1920s and 1930s as a result of his cycling achievements. He set 101 state, national and world records and was the public face of Malvern Star Bicycle Company. From 1949 to1972, Opperman pursued a career in politics, holding several portfolios for the Liberal party, and became Australia's first High Commissioner to Malta in 1966. He was knighted in1968 and retired from politics in 1972. Sir Hubert Opperman died in 1996 at the aged of 92.
The Ken Ross collection comprises 11 medals, 9 sashes and 1 racing jersey which belonged to professional cyclist Ken Ross. Ross competed successfully as a road cyclist in New South Wales during the 1920s and 1930s. He was also among the few Australian cyclists competing in Europe after the First World War and was among the first English-speaking sportsmen to enter German after the conflict had ended. The collection includes medals and sashes won in Australia and Europe.
The bicycle has played an important role in Australian life since the 1880s, both as a sport and as a means of transportation. Cycle racing was immediately popular with clubs forming in every state by the 1890s. The period after the First World War saw a great revival of competitive cycling and local and interstate competitions drew large crowds and full newspaper coverage. The few Australian cyclists who left Australia in the 1920s to compete overseas established a long tradition of professional cyclists who have achieved success at an international level.
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.