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National Museum of Australia

Collection Explorer



  • John Batman Documents collection(3)

    Manuscript containing the account of Edward Russell of the association of John Batman and the runaway convict Eliza Cunningham, 1825
    Memorial manuscript containing the petition of John Batman to Colonel George Arthur for leave to marry convict Eliza Thompson (alias Elizabeth Callaghan), 1828
    Personal letter from Eliza Batman to her daughter Elizabeth, describing the drowning in the Yarra River of her son John Charles Batman

    The collection consists of three documents relating to experience in the private life of John Batman and Elizabeth Batman.The first, is a statement sworn against John Batman by his servant regarding Batman's concealing of the convict Eliza Callaghan. The second is correspondence from Batman to Governor Arthur requesting permission to marry Eliza Thompson, alias Callaghan. The third is Eliza Batman's original autograph letter to her daughter, Elizabeth, announcing and describing the drowning in the Yarra River of her only son, John Charles Batman.

    John Batman is famous for his attempts to settle what is now Melbourne based upon the 'purchase' of lands from resident Aboriginal owners. The acquisition was not recognised by the authorities at the time. The legality of the exchange and the subsequent debates over whether it acknowledged or voided Aboriginal ownership of land have continued till the present day. John Batman has thus become a significant public figure in Australia's history. The significance of these documents is that they provide a complementary history, illustrating select and significant moments in Batman's private life and the life of his family.

  • Papunya Art 2008 collection(15)

    Untitled painting by Anatjari Tjakamarra, 1972, polymer on board
    Pencil drawing in Papunya style by unknown Pintupi artist, 1971
    Pencil drawing in Papunya style by Uta Uta Tjangala, Pintupi, 1971
    Pencil drawing in Papunya style by Uta Uta Tjangala, Pintupi. 1971

    The Papunya Art 2008 Collection consists of fifteen artworks, comprising eleven untitled watercolours and drawings on paper produced by Pintupi artists in 1971, 'Goanna Corroboree at Mirkantji' painted on plywood by Kaapa Tjampitjinpa in 1971, 'Snake Dreaming for Children' painted on particle board by Uta Uta Tjangala in 1971, an untitled work painted on wooden board by Anatjari Tjakamarra in 1972, and an untitled work on linen by Uta Uta Tjangala painted in 1986. It also includes some supporting documentation held in the Archive collection.

    The works in this collection are all significant Indigenous works, representing different stages and some of the major artists involved in the development of the Western Desert art movement at Papunya, which has become internationally renowned as the origin of the contemporary Aboriginal acrylic painting industry. The fourteen works from 1971 and 1972 represent the very earliest phase of the movement at Papunya. The eleven watercolours and drawings on paper , three attributed to Uta Uta Tjangala, represent a formative moment in this movement when artists began experimenting with different media.The sketching of designs on paper took place prior to the production of acrylic paintings. Although the designs themselves had been produced traditionally by the artists as body decoration, ground and cave paintings, when Papunya school teacher Geoffrey Bardon supplied the Pintupi men with paper, watercolour and pencil, this was the first time their designs had been applied to a non-traditional surface. Kaapa Tjampitjinpa, Uta Uta Tjangala and Anatjari Tjakamarra were all important artists who contributed to the birth and subsequent development of the Papunya painting movement. The three paintings on boards in this collection, done during 1971 and 1972, therefore enhance the Museum's holdings of significant works from this early period. The 1986 Uta Uta Tjangala painting is also a significant addition to the NMA's growing holdings of this important artist. Overall, the items in this collection are significant in expanding the chronological sweep of the NMA's holdings of Papunya related material, beyond its current strengths in the 1974-1981 period.

  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7553)

    S.A.P.Rabbit Poison Laid here - This is no place for us. It's back to the Crown Lands
    R. C. Presbytery
    Bronte Beach, Sydney
    A dog, cockatoo and cat, and a drawing along the bottom edge showing a man leading two horses.
  • Nanette Ward collection(226)

    Dinner menu from R.M.S. Niagara with the autographs of the 1913 Australian Cricket team
    C. Blythe from the 1901-02 English Cricket Team to Australia
    South Australian and Australian cricketer Bill Whitty
    Handwritten note
  • Dr Herbert Basedow collection(425)

    Glass plate negative - Humbert River station, Northern Territory, photographed by Herbert Basedow, 1922
    Film negative - Typical porcupine grass country on Northern Territory boundary, Musgrave Ranges, South Australia, photographed by Herbert Basedow, 1926
    Glass plate negative - Sandstorm approaching from beyond Lake Killalpaninna, South Australia, photographed by Herbert Basedow, 1919
    Glass plate negative - Lipoma on right shoulder of a man called Raueruka, Hermannsburg, Northern Territory, photographed by Herbert Basedow, 1920
  • Vic Armbruster collection(4)

    Australian rugby league jersey
    Queensland Rugby League cap, 1924
    Australian rugby league cap, 1924
    New South Wales Rugby League football cap, 1922

    The Vic Armbruster collection comprises a 1922 NSW Rugby league cap, a 1924 Queensland Rugby League cap, a 1924 Australian cap and a Kangaroos jersey, dating from 1929-30.

    Louis Victor Armbruster, known throughout his career as "Vic", played Rugby League for both NSW and QLD, and was a member of the legendary Toowoomba Clydesdales, as well as representing Australia internationally. His career is illustrated by the collection material. Caps were issued to rugby league players as part of their off-field uniform, and were worn on official occasions. The cap was a legacy of an established tradition in rugby union, and was only given to players of representative sides. They featured as a prominent part of representative football uniform up until the late 1930s. The three Vic Armbruster caps are illustrative of the caps issued to members of representative rugby league teams throughout the 1920s. Jerseys are the most recognisable item of Rugby League memorabilia, being part of the universal uniform of football, though for all this they are quite rare, having by their very nature been subjected to much wear and tear. They also serve as a valuable tool for tracking the evolution of the game in terms of styles and team colours. The Kangaroos jersey among the Armbruster material dates from 1929, and represents the very first incarnation of the Kangaroos jersey, which has continued to be used with little alteration since then.

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

    Bark painting 'Birth of a Mimi' by Yirawala, mouth of the Liverpool River
    Red bow and arrow with feathers
    MABO Treaty
    Two Turtles by Billy Yirawala

    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.

  • Archibald William Hayes collection(4)

    Handcrafted model sulky
    Hand carved wooden head sculptures
    Wollongong Annual Show First Prize certificate
    Handcrafted wooden toy monkey on a stick