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National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer



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

    Letter from Reserve Bank to ATSIC
    Young Girls by Wally Mandarrk
    Carving of a lizard
    Mountain Devil Dreaming

    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.

  • John Ramsay collection(1)

    Federation-era flag or bunting

    Associated with the Federation celebrations of 1901, this collection consists of a flag or piece of bunting measuring 55x70cm. It is made of a thin fabric with machine-stitched edging and printed pattern. The red, blue and white design depicts six stars, a single portrait of the Duke of Cornwall and York (1865-1936) (later King George V), a Union Jack and a representation of an unrolling scroll, upon which is written '1901 Australian Federation'. It is in an excellent state of conservation.

    Federation provided an opportunity for the new nation to assert its position within the British Empire and was enthusiastically celebrated by the Australian public. As documented in archival collections, this collection may be examined as an example of the commercial aspect of street decoration in many urban centres across the country. It also illustrates the centrality of small promotional souvenirs to many individuals' participation in the celebrations surrounding Federation.

  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7551)

    North Arm from breakwater, Lakes Entrance, Vic
    Street, which has a chemist's shop and a draper's shop
    Jubilee Park, Cootamundra, NSW
    A two storey building and street lamp with brick pedestal
  • Mary Lee collection(1)

    Larakia flag
  • Timothy Millett collection(313)

    Convict love token from E.W., 1831
    Convict love token from John Waine, 1832
    Convict love token from H.S., 1836
    Convict love token from R. Myers, 1837

    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.

  • Dr Herbert Basedow collection(424)

    Film negative - Horses watering, Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, photographed by Herbert Basedow, 1928
    Glass plate negative - Rock engravings, Deception Creek, Flinders Ranges, South Australia, photographed by Herbert Basedow, between 1905 and 1914
    Glass plate negative - Women and children coming out of church, Hermannsburg mission, Northern Territory, photographed by Herbert Basedow, 1920
    Film negative - Expedition party on march, central Australia, photographed by Herbert Basedow, 1926
  • Jack Heenan collection(25)

    GMH Pointers
    Tape measure
    Cartoon related to General Motors Holden employee Jack Heenan and Holden cars
    GMH Pointers

    The Jack Heenan collection comprises memorabilia, artwork, clothing accessories and industry journals relating to the career of Jack Heenan who worked for General Motors Holden (GMH) from 1935 until his retirement in 1974. He began his career working in forecasting, but later transferred to the sales department. These objects were used by Mr Heenan in his daily working life.

    GMH has played an important role in the history of Australian motor transport. The early model Holdens (the FX and FJ) are among the most recognisable cultural artefacts of 1950s and 1960s Australia. Motoring memorabilia illustrates the passionate connection some people feel towards motoring and Holden cars. The creation of marketing symbols as functional and collectible items also demonstrates the nature of Holden's powerful marketing campaigns. This collection of objects also traces the evolution of Australia's motoring history, Holden's own sense of its history and connection to post-war development, and Holden's continuing prominence in the popular imagination.

  • Maningrida Arts and Crafts 07/09/1973 collection(12)

    Sugar Bag  Dreaming
    Painting depicts oval shapes, 3 men and 3 footprints.

    Eleven stone flake spearheads

    Fish trap made from pandanus fibres