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National Museum of Australia

Collection Explorer



  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7553)

    St Thomas Church, Enfield
    Mustering sheep
    La Petite Commissionare
    Portland, NSW view showing public school
  • Guna Kinne collection no. 1(7)

    Latvian ring-shaped brooch
    Latvian silver-coloured metal brooch with amber coloured bead
    Latvian natural-coloured linen waistcoat with black embroidery
    Latvian white, red and grey costume blouse

    The Guna Kinne Collection no 1 comprises objects which make up a Latvian womanÂ?s national costume including blouse, waistcoat, skirt, headdress, bonnet and brooches. Guna Kinne made the outfit over a period of 30 years, starting work on it as a sewing project while a schoolgirl in Riga in 1942, completing the jacket as she fled Latvia at the end of the Second World War, final touches were made to the costume after she migrated to Australia. As she fled her homeland, she took the unfinished costume with her, together with some clothes and photographs. She later wore the costume at a dance in a displaced persons camp in Germany, the day she met her future husband.

    Mrs Kinne's experiences are representative of post-war Latvian migration to Australia. After World War Two, the Australian Government adopted a new immigration policy which encouraged European emigration to Australia to boost a low population. By 1952 almost 20,000 Latvians had come to Australia as part of the program. Many, including Mrs Kinne, participated in Latvian community organisations formed to help maintain cultural activities and provide mutual social support as emigrants adapted to life in their new country. Mrs Kinne and her husband Arturs arrived in 1948 and settled in Maffra, Wangaratta and then Melbourne in Victoria. Mr Kinne attempted to make a living through his wood carving and used his skills in dairy production while Mrs Kinne continued her artistic skills through colouring photos as paid employment and painting as a hobby.

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Art (ATSIAA) collection(2104)

    Photograph of a man with scaring on his chest
    Untitled painting, by Emily Kame Kngwarreye.
    Carved emu egg and stand
    Sugarbag Dreaming by Jimmy Wululu

    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.

  • Tanya McIntyre collection(1)

    Silkscreen print poster 'Stop the Miss Victoria Quest'

    The Tanya McIntyre collection consists of a screenprinted poster titled Stop the Miss Victoria Quest, 1984. This poster was created by Tanya McIntyre, probably while working as artist-in-residence at Redletter studios - one of Melbourne's earliest community screenprinting workshops. The poster is representative of the social protests held against the Miss Australia Quest (of which the Miss Victoria Quest was part) by feminist and activist groups for the disabled during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

    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 USA 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 over $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.

  • Nance Pownall collection(19)

    Note to Nancy Clements
    Invitation to Miss Clements to a reception to meet YWCA Friends From Other Countries
    Hand-coloured and annotated map of Holland
    Cricketer Nance Clements putting on batting pads
  • Diana Baxter collection no. 2(3)

    Mr Guthrie requests Miss Forlongs acceptance of the Necklace and Flower sent herewith
    Letter from William Gray addressed to Janet Templeton, beginning 'My Dear Cousin, The case sent here-with is by Mr Guthrie...', dated 2 March 1814
    Newspaper clipping about

    The Diana Baxter Collection No. 2 consists of the following items; a letter dated 11th February 1814 from Mr Guthrie to Miss Forlong, a letter dated 2nd March 1814 from William Gray to Janet Templeton and a newspaper clipping about Janet Templeton from 'The Argus', 1934. All objects are in good condition.

    The collection relates to Janet Templeton (1785-1857), a woman who played a significant role in the development of the Australian wool industry. Sheep and wool have long been considered of great importance to colonial Australia and wool production dominated Australian exports from the 1870s until well into the twentieth century. The fortunes of those involved in the wool industry have of course, been subject to the rise and fall of the industry itself. Recently historians have reconsidered 'givens' in Australia's pastoral history and John Macarthur's claims to be the 'father' of the industry have now been displaced, not only by his wife Elizabeth, but by other notable woman and their extended families such as Janet Templeton and Eliza Forlong.

    The Collection is also significant as it provides further information about Janet Templeton's pearl jewellery (Diana Baxter Collection), which was accepted into the National Historical Collection in 1998.

  • Timothy Millett collection(314)

    Convict love token from G. Johnson, 1841
    Convict love token engraved with the initials S.C., 1824
    Convict love token from Henry Bidulph, 1827
    Convict love token from William Williams, 1827

    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.

  • Political Humour Competition 1999 collection(113)

    Killer Sponge
    Sand in the Face
    But Seriously Though!

    This collection consists of 134 political cartoons collected under the auspices of the National Museum's 1999 Political Humour Competition.

    The cartoons provide a satirical record of the major events and personalities in Australian politics in 1999. Major topics addressed within the collection include the Goods and Services tax, the Sydney Olympics, the 'cash comment controversy' on talkback radio, the defeat of Jeff Kennett in the Victorian election, Republic referendum, the independence struggle in East Timor, racism, Aboriginal land rights and Australia's international relations. There are a number of illustrations and caricatures of notable political figures including John Howard, Peter Costello, Jeff Kennett and Peter Reith. The collection features works from all of Australia's major metropolitan newspapers. Taken together the collection provides a wonderful archive of the best of Australian political cartooning in 1999.