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National Museum of Australia

Collection Explorer



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

    Wooden carving of a crocodile
    Reproduction painting of eight figures camping on a beach with two dingoes
    Landscape by Greg Kelly
    Fish scoop

    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.

  • Turner and Valentine Families collection(177)

    Card in memoriam of Barbara Strachan Stool
    Card in memoriam of Barbara Strachan Stool
    Exercise book containing handwritten compositions
    This Australia engagement calander and diary for 1962
  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7553)

    Advance Australia
    St. Mary's Cathedral, Sydney
    Deserted hut
    Maps of Australia from Adelaide
  • Dorothy Bennett collection(167)

    Inv: 'Dance of the long-legged Swamp Bird', on Bark: 'Diver Duck Dance'
    Bark painting depicts four creatures, possibly frogs
    Milikapiti (Snake Bay) at Kulama Time.
    Bark painting 'Female Namurrordo, Malicious Spirit of the Stone Country' by Charlie Najombolmi, Balawurru
  • Canning Stock Route collection(124)

    'Witji Rock Holes' by Jane Gimme, 2007
    'Canning Stock Route Country' by Patrick Tjungurrayi, 2007
    'Lampu, Kurninarra, Kartalapuru, Kujuwarri' by Kuji Rosie Goodjie, 2007
    'Minyipuru Claypan' by Bugai Whylouter, 2007

    The Canning Stock Route collection is comprised of 125 works and includes paintings, drawings, baskets, boomerangs, coolamons, headdresses, carved figures and shields.

    The Canning Stock Route is a no-longer-used cattle droving route that traverses the Great Sandy and Gibson Deserts of central Western Australia. Comprised of 48 wells along an 1800 kilometres stretch of track, the route links Wiluna in the south with Sturt Creek in the north and traverses the traditional lands of nine Aboriginal language groups. The route was founded in 1905 when Alfred Canning was commissioned to investigate a route suitable for the droving of 500 head of cattle, with water sources spaced at intervals of no more than one day's walk apart. Although Canning's map records observations of the land and water resources, it makes no mention of Indigenous places and their associated meanings which the route traversed. This collection, composed of 'painting stories', sculptural works and oral histories, re-dresses Canning's omission and records the impact of the stock route on Indigenous lives and country. A six week journey with traditional owners held in July and August of 2007 inspired the artworks, many of which were produced during the journey, and provided an opportunity for more than 70 senior and emerging artists to reconnect with traditional lands..

  • Springfield - Faithfull Family collection(3501)

    Length of linen tape
    Illustration of Lady Howards Gum
    Lilian Hazel Faithfull on her wedding day to Henry Yorke Graham Henderson on 11 July 1922

    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.

  • Frank Proust collection(7)

    Frank Proust slips en route to Southern Cloud crash site
    Plane lost for 27 years
    Frank Proust with tachometer plate
    Frank Proust and others en route to Southern Cloud crash site

    The Frank Proust collection consists of the damaged tachometer plate from the instrument panel of the aircraft Southern Cloud and four black and white photographs by Sydney Morning Herald photographer Alan Kemp.

    Southern Cloud, operated by Australian National Airways, crashed in 1931 during appalling weather on the Sydney-Melbourne route. The wreck was not found in the subsequent search and the mystery of the plane's disappearance captured the nation's attention during the dark days of the Depression. It was Australia's first major civil aviation disaster. Only in 1958 - and quite by accident - was the wreckage found by a worker on the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme. A significant outcome of the crash was a recommendation for the adoption of radio in civil aircraft in Australia, enabling changed weather forecasts to be conveyed to aircrews. The loss of Southern Cloud and the eight persons on board played a part in creating safer air travel for all Australians. The damaged tachometer plate forms a poignant and graphic reminder of the dangers of flying in the 1930s.

  • Timothy Millett collection(314)

    Convict love token from S. Hart, 1844
    Convict love token from Robert Francis, 1848
    Convict love token from John Bloxidge, 1839
    Convict love token from John Gardiner

    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.