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National Museum of Australia

Collection Explorer



  • Springfield Merino Stud collection(166)

    Small, off-white calling card, with
  • People's Paraphernalia collection no. 11(6)

    Coal is Vital to Victory
    Gifts That Last War Saving Certificates
    Souvenir china ashtray of the opening of Federal Parliament House, Canberra, 1927

    Series of three poster promoting wartime security

  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7553)

    QSL card for Radio 2UE Sydney Ltd. Studios: 296 Pitt St., Sydney, N.S.W.
    Botanical Gardens, showing Levy Memorial Fountain.
    QSL card for VK2DK
    Group of people standing outside a bakery
  • Dorothy Bennett collection(167)

    Garma Circumcision Rite and Dancing at the Narra  Ceremony
    Bark painting 'The Dead Spirit' by Yirawala, Marrgulidban
    A Strange Sea-Creature.
    Bark painting 'The first firing of the bush at Caledon Bay' by Mungurrawuy Yunapingu, Port Bradshaw
  • Lin Onus collection(1)

    Firing the Humpy by Lin Onus

    The Lin Onus Collection is comprised of a framed Lin Onus oil painting on canvas, entitled 'Firing the Humpy'. The painting is 108cm x 128cm.

    Painted in circa 1977, Lin Onus' Firing the Humpy is an important cultural document, signifying the wakening moments of a new generation of Indigenous political activism. Revealing the connection between oral, visual and political culture that was a defining element of the era, this work demonstrates the reclamation of an historical narrative, part of the cultural reinvigoration which was to lay the ground for profound change in Australian racial politics. Drawing on both his Aboriginal and Scottish ancestry, Onus sought to reconcile cultural difference in terms of his own identity as well as within the broader cross-cultural and political landscape. This work exemplifies the way in which Onus attempted to address these tensions, as well as the political and social concerns of his people, through art.

  • George and Sylvia Milne collection(6)

    Queensland Federation medallion
    Australian Commonwealth Federation medallion
    Federation-era bunting
    Federation-era bunting

    Associated with the Federation celebrations of 1901, this collection consists of six decorative and souvenir objects. The vendor acquired the collection in approximately 2001 during research into the social history of Federation. A Federation flag and two pieces of bunting depicting the Union Jack and portraits of royalty were thought to have been used in street decorations. Two souvenir medallions and a souvenir silver teaspoon were produced as souvenirs for the Australian public. All objects are in a good 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.

  • Tooloyn Koortakay collection(28)

    Thanambool Yana
    Coloured pastel drawing representing the markings on the underside of an old possum skin cloak
    Reproduction of a possum skin cloak collected in 1853 from Maiden's Punt (Echuca)

    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.

  • Timothy Millett collection(314)

    Convict love token from James Faulkner, 1828
    Convict love token from J. Williams
    Convict love token from E.H. Elliot
    Convict love token captioned

    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.