Menu toggle

National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer



  • L Richard Smith breastplate collection(20)

    Brandy Uanda
    Nugget, Billee-ling-oo, Queen of Boulia, 1930
    Eve, Queen of Wurtimurti
    Bob Wheelpoolee, King of Boulia, 1930

    This collection is comprised of seventeen Australian Indigenous breastplates (also known as king plates or gorgets). They come from a collection accumulated by L. Richard Smith, a noted collector of medals and porcelain. The breastplates are associated with Indigenous people from Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia. The breastplates are all metal, of varying size, and are generally crescent shaped. Each is inscribed with the recipient's name, and many include an associated region and an honorary title such as 'king', 'queen' or 'chief'.

    During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, government authorities and settlers gave breastplates to Indigenous people for a variety of reasons. They were used as a way of selecting and identifying local elders to act as intermediaries between settlers and local Indigenous people. They were also given out in recognition of service and/or assistance (for example to Aboriginal stockmen or for saving people from ship wrecks). As such, they are significant cross-cultural objects that document early interaction between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in different regions of Australia. They often record the names of Indigenous people, and the station or region with which they are associated; people who are not otherwise represented in historical records. The collection is also significant in expanding the geographical scope of the National Museum's existing breastplate collection.

  • Rabbits in Australia collection no. 3(10)

    Black and white photograph 'The Return of the Rabbiters'
    Coloured photographic postcard 'LIFE IN THE BACK BLOCKS', about 1905
    Coloured photographic postcard 'Rabbit poison carts'
    Coloured photographic postcard 'Rabbit Trappers Western District of Victoria', about 1907
  • William and Jeanette Derham Family - Bendigo Pottery collection(417)

    Glazed brown ceramic demijohn with screw-threaded stopper [Mt Lyell M&R Co Ltd, Port Adelaide]
    Ceramic vase
    Ceramic demijohn with cork
    T W Tyzack, Melbourne, metal stamp, no base or handle

    The William and Jeanette Derham family collection is the physical manifestation of Mr Derham's commitment to documenting the work of Bendigo Pottery, its wares and institutional history, as well as the association he and his family had with the business between 1968 and 1983. The collection consists of historic Bendigo Pottery ceramics from the 19th and 20th centuries which illustrate the diversity of wares produced between 1858 and 1971, as well as a comprehensive range of items manufactured during the Derham era. This material is supported by a unique collection of stamps and printing blocks used as part of the manufacturing and advertising processes as well as documentary materials, photographs and ephemera which illustrate working life at Bendigo Pottery.

    Since its establishment in 1858, Bendigo Pottery has played a significant role in the history of Australian ceramics, producing wares ranging from the domestic and decorative, to the utilitarian and industrial. The history of the business illustrates the process of technological transfer in the decorative arts, the adaptation of imported ceramic traditions to local markets and the development of distinctively Australian imagery, styles and pottery products. Bendigo Pottery has provided useful products and employment opportunities to the community for 150 years and on an aesthetic level ensured that the skills of the potter, which so easily could have been lost with the advent of mass production techniques, have been preserved for posterity.

  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7551)

    Christmas card from the Australian Commonwealth Military Forces
    King Street, Newtown
    West Australian Flora no.4
    Arch of Triumph, White Hills, Bendigo, Vic
  • Springfield - Faithfull Family collection(3501)

    Note about the location of several sets of keys
    Ethel Faithfull and Lucian Faithfull, standing on the driveway to the right of the main entrance at Springfield
    Photocopy of typescript giving information on the Faithfull brothers' university studies

    The Springfield Collection comprises about 1550 artefacts from Springfield station, south of Goulburn. It includes colonial era costume, a bushranger medal, surveying instruments, a late-19th century landau, firearms and edged weapons, wool samples and Joseph Foveaux's pocket watch and bible. The objects are complemented by over 400 photographs. This diverse collection reflects the growth and economic success of the property, responses to changes in the wool market and the daily lives of the people who have lived on Springfield.

    Springfield has grown from a 518-hectare land grant given to William Pitt Faithfull in 1828 to the current 3183 hectares with ownership remaining in the one family. William Pitt Faithfull established the Springfield Merino Stud in 1838 with ten rams selected from the Macarthur Camden Park stud. The stud evolved slowly over the years until the early 1950s when, under the management of Jim Maple-Brown, a scientific approach to wool-growing was adopted and the stud's name was changed to Fonthill to reflect this.

  • Dr Herbert Basedow collection(424)

    Glass plate negative - Two men throwing spears
    Film negative - Men at Aparanya, South Australia, photographed by Herbert Basedow, 1903
    Glass plate negative - Group Aboriginal children and women, Hermannsburg, Northern Territory, photographed by Herbert Basedow, 1923
  • Papuan Official collection(1043)

    Carved and mounted coconut
    Dance wand
    Barbed fish trap
  • Dorothy Bennett collection(167)

    The Manangii Miwal finds the Sugarbag Dreaming  (wild honey).
    The  Wawilag Spirits of Marwiyu - A Mandalbui Dreaming.
    Wooden decorated carving of a pelican