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National Museum of Australia

Collection Explorer



  • Major James Nunn's Sutlej Medal collection(1)

    Sutlej Medal 1845-46 with clasps SOBRAON and FEROZESHUHUR, issued to Major James Winniett Nunn, 80th Regiment, British Army

    The collection consists of the Sutlej Medal, awarded to the notable colonial military figure, Brevet Major James Nunn (1789-1847), a major in the 80th Regiment. The medal was awarded to Nunn for his participation the Sutlej campaign of 1845-46 on the northwest frontier in the Punjab. The 80th Regiment, garrisoned in NSW from 1837-1844, was charged with guarding convicts and conducting operations to ensure the security of settlers from the depredations of Aborigines and bushrangers. On departing NSW the 80th Regiment fought the First Sikh War in the Punjab.

    The significance of the medal rests in Nunn's notoriety in NSW (at the time) as the Commandant of the NSW Mounted Police. He led an attack a number of Aboriginal people about 26 January 1838 at Snodgrass Lagoon on Waterloo Creek, 40km SSW of Moree. That event is known as either the "Waterloo Creek Massacre" or "Major Nunn's Campaign". The object exemplifies the different conception of military engagements in the Punjab compared with the Australian frontier where military activities were seen as police actions of dispersal. No medals were issued in Australia for martial engagements. Thus, from a strictly British military perspective, there were no frontier wars in Australia, unlike New Zealand, Africa, the subcontinent and North America.

  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7553)

    His Private Secretary
    Central mine zinc plant
    A winter glow
    Rawson Falls, Bundanoon
  • Ellarose Savage collection no.1(4)

    'Susu Shell III' by Ellarose Savage, 2009
    'Susu Shell IV' by Ellarose Savage, 2009
    'Susu Shell' by Ellarose Savage, 2009
    'Susu Shell II' by Ellarose Savage, 2009

    This collection consists of a series of four lino prints on paper titled 'Susu Shell Suite'. The artist, Ella-Rose Savage, is from Erub Island in the Torres Strait. Susu shell is the Torres Strait Creole name for Trochus shell. Ella-Rose accompanied her father on a camping and diving trip to collect and process Trochus shells. The prints illustrate the events of the expedition and the different stages in the collection and processing of the shells.

    Trochus shells were collected for trade and jewellery and, in the post-contact period, were widely sought after for buttons. Torres Strait Islanders have a close connection with, and understanding of, the waters around their Islands. Many Islanders worked in maritime-based commercial activities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including diving for pearl and Trochus shells, gathering Beche-de-mer (Trepang) and commanding or crewing on sailing luggers. Ella-Rose Savage documents her interest in expressing her relationship with the sea and the links between her surroundings, objects and culture. These prints not only tell the story of a common secular activity but also provide representations of the modern resources used in that activity. These include the western board shorts worn by the divers, the aluminium dinghy and outboard (an iconic feature of the Torres Strait today) and the tents at the temporary processing site.

  • Barry Williams collection(60)

    Scout's Pathfinder badge certificate
    Scout's 1st Cords badge certificate
    King Scout badge
    Scout's Electrician badge certificate

    The Barry Williams collection comprises 53 items of 1940s scout memorabilia, including awards and items of uniform from the Surry Hills scout troop, Sydney. Awards such as badges, cords, shoulder tabs and dated certificates are a complete material record of the donor's progress from scout to king's scout. The collection contains the full range of awards available to scouts in the 1940s, except for two awards.

    This collection records a scouting experience that is typically Australian. The 1940s marks a stage of great popularity for the Scouting movement when they were a very visible presence in Australia. The Surry Hills scout troop was disbanded in the 1990s, the demise of the group was probably caused by the changing demographic and social values, of the people living in Surry Hills. This collection is a record of a past urban scouting experience in Australia. It is also evocative of some of the social changes that have taken place in Australia, that have contributed to the decrease in popularity, of the scouting movement.

  • Timothy Millett collection(314)

    Convict love token from Charles Waldron, 1844
    Convict love token from W.R. McKay, 1835
    Convict love token from A. Woolley, Manchester, 1804
    Convict love token from Robert Salmon, 1841

    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.

  • Springfield - Faithfull Family collection(3501)

    William Percy Faithfull
    Extract from Mr Charles Matcham's letters to a relative in England 1834
    Handwritten note of sections of the bible
    Sir Ernest Cable's property, Devo

    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.

  • Sir Hubert Opperman collection no. 2(216)

    Paris - Brest - Paris, 1891-1991 [cycling]
    Collector's silver-plated teaspoon bearing figure of cyclist
    Single cufflink
    Paris - Brest - Paris, 1891-1991 [cycling]

    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.

  • David Allen medals collection(111)

    Liverpool Plains P A & H Association 1877 'Arab Stallion'
    Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society of South Australia 1903 'Suffolk Punch Entire'
    Wilcannia P. A. & H. Society 1893 'Brood Mare With Foal at Foot'
    Aldinga Annual Ploughing Match 1853 'Best Man'