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National Museum of Australia

Collection Explorer



  • People's Paraphernalia collection no. 8(6)

    Invitation to the Returning Officer for Williamstown, Mr F.H. Bolton & Lady, in the Exhibition Building, Melbourne, Thursday 9th May 1901, to witness the Opening of the Parliament of the Commonwealth
    Invitation to the opening of the Parliament of the Commonwealth by his Royal Highness the Duke of Cornwall and York
    Invitation from the Government of Victoria to Mr Bolton and Lady to attend the Royal Review at Flemington on 10 May 1901
    Invitation to a Conversazione at Exhibition Building, Melbourne, 1901
  • J Davidson collection no. 3(319)

    Bark painting depicting pike, file snake, diver bird, water goanna and kangaroo by David Malangi, Milingimbi, 1965
    Bark painting depicting sacred waterhole at Bilipinya by Wandjuk Marika, Yirrkala, 1966
    Bark painting depicting a male human figure with outstretched hands by David Malangi, Milingimbi, 1965
    Bark painting depicting two Nyapililngu ancestral women by Narritjin Maymuru, Yirrkala, 1966
  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(5906)

    W. Whyte's Chemist Shop
    Merry Christmas. Superior Public School, Granville, North. Superior Public School, Granville, N.S.W
    Throwing a Boomerang.
    Randwick Race Course, Sydney, NSW
  • Timothy Millett collection(314)

    Convict love token from Richard Crucknell, 1831
    Convict love token from G. Coats, 1836
    Convict love token from 1830
    Convict love token from Charles Betts, 1849

    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.

  • Tooloyn Koortakay collection(28)

    Multi-coloured pastel drawing re-interpreting markings etched into the underside of an old possum skin cloak
    Possum pelt with poker work designs burnt into the skin, and ochre added to the incised markings
    Coloured pastel drawing representing the markings on the underside of an old possum skin cloak

    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.

  • Campfire Group All Stock Must Go collection(2)

    A colour concept photograph of the installation artwork
    Concept photograph of nine members of the Campfire Group of artists seated around the oval boardroom table of the Queensland Art Gallery

    The installation work All Stock Must Go is an assemblage of body parts from an old Dodge truck painted with significant Aboriginal designs. It comprises a truck cab, a bonnet, a fuel tank, tray back, side mirror, 4 wooden human figure cut outs, 2 contextual photographs, decorated goggles, a CD and Video documentaries and lid support for the monitor. This work was created in 1996 in Brisbane by the Campfire Group (primarily a collective of urban Indigenous artists) for inclusion in the 1996 Asia-Pacific Triennial held in Brisbane.

    This installation is a symbolic visual statement by a collective of Indigenous people about urban culture and related socio-political issues. The use of the truck references the history of the removal of Aboriginal people from ancestral lands to depots of assimilation such as missions. Parallels are drawn with the use of cattle trucks for the herding of cattle. The title is a play on words which simultaneously refers to the commodification of culture at sale prices - thus "all stock must go" - and the further devaluation of urban and tribal artefacts by selling art from 'the back of a truck', both of which highlight the use of Indigenous designs through the tourist trade. Issues of cultural loss, self determination and cultural reclamation were addressed in various ways including the re-purposing of the truck which led to it being dismantled. Truck parts were re-possessed or re-appropriated through the application of traditional markings.

  • Aboriginal Arts Board collection no. 2(561)

    Bark painting depicting a 'nature story' of dukala, possums and lambalk, the sugar glider, by Bardayal Nadjamerrek
    Child's drawing
    Bark painting 'Rainbow Serpent wrapped around tree' by Yuwunyuwun Marruwarr, Gunbalanya, 1974
    Child's drawing titled 'Landrights'
  • Benny Zable collection no. 1(35)

    Gas mask used as part of a protest costume

    Protest banner 'Better Active Today Than Radioactive Tomorrow'

    White cloth protest banner 'Land Rights means...'

    Metal conical road marker used as a nose cone on an imitation missile attached to the roof of ...

    The Benny Zable collections comprise a diverse range of large and small objects, including a blue Ford XA panel van, conical road markers, protest banners and badges, costumes, photographs, political posters, leaflets, letters, placards, legal documents and documents. These objects were donated to the Museum by environmental protester, peace activist and performing artist, Benny Zable.
    Born in 1945 and raised in a Jewish family in Melbourne, the tragic senselessness of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War was the first in a series of life changing experiences for Zable who journeyed to Israel in 1968 to work on a kibbutz on the Lebanese border. This transformational experience was followed by visits to London and Paris, which, at that time, were witnessing the rise of counter culture and peace movements. The Paris student uprising in 1968 was a watershed event precipitating the largest general strike ever recorded, bringing France to a virtual standstill. The World Symposium on Humanities in Los Angeles, which Zable attended in 1979, coincided with the America's worst nuclear accident at Three Mile Island nuclear power plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. On his return to Australia, Zable became active in anti-nuclear protest organization, Nomadic Action Group (NAG). Using his artistic and performative skills, Zable developed a caricature costume of the grim reaper "I visualised a dark character with a skull head, "Greedozer" to portray the ugly side of civilisation". A pedestal, formed from black painted forty-four gallon drums, allowed for extra height from which to hang protest banners. On receiving an Australia Council for the Arts grant, Zable developed a road show, transporting his costume and toxic tower statue, to which he had added a PA system, a mike in the gas mask, a video display unit and tape deck, in a blue Ford panel van. After touring Australia, Zable travelled first to Asia and then the US, before returning to Australia and settling in Nimbin, northern New South Wales. Benny Zable has been continuously active in protest movements spanning three decades. Most recently, while acting as creative director for New York's Ecofest and attending the UN's International Vigil for peace, Benny brought his performance and costume to support the 2011 New York 'Occupy Wall Street' protest in Manhattan's Zuccotti Park. This protest sparked a series of massive global protest movements among disaffected citizens throughout the world, prompting a remarkable move by Time Magazine to nominate 'The Protester' as its 2011 'Person of the Year'.