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National Museum of Australia

Collection Explorer



  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7553)

    Forming the Human Flag
    Railway line passing through a small town.  Christmas joy be thine
    A good bush crop
    Camp Cove, Watson's Bay, Sydney
  • Patricia Heath collection(151)

    Kimberley Native - Nor' West Native
    Kimberley Native
    Nor' West Black
    Aboriginal man standing by a creek or river with his back to the camera displaying tribal scarring
  • Canning Stock Route collection(124)

    'Kiriwirri' by Jan Billycan, 2008
    'Kinyu' by Eubena Nampitjin, 2007
    'Martilirri, Kalpaa and Kartaru' by Ngamaru Bidu, 2008
    'Nyaru' by Brandy Tjungurrayi, 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..

  • Dr Herbert Basedow collection(424)

    Film negative - Ullparidja people, Tomkinson Range, north of Mt Davies, South  Australia, photographed by Herbert Basedow, 1903
    Lantern slide - Pitjantjatjara men wearing wooden hair ornaments known as 'elenba', central Australia, photographed by Herbert Basedow, 1920-1924
    Lantern slide - Pineapple plantation, Charles Point, Northern Territory, photographed by Herbert Basedow, 1905
  • Bill Reid - John Cawte collection(47)

    Emu egg carved with image of a dingo and possum by Bill Reid
    Emu egg carved with image of a face by Bill Reid
    Emu egg carved with image of Alva Reid by Bill Reid
    Emu egg carved with image of Betty Watts by Bill Reid

    The Bill Reid - John Cawte Collection comprises a series of emu eggs carved by William 'Bill' Reid (1917 -1993), a renowned Gamilaraay artist from northern-central NSW. The collection contains sixteen emu eggs - fourteen carved, one partly carved and one uncarved. They feature representations of Truganinni, Mum Shirl, the Ella brothers, Bill Reid, Albert Namatjiria and Tony Mundine, Alva Reid - Bill Reid's daughter, as well as John Cawte and Betty Watts (John Cawte's wife).
    The collection also includes Reid's innovative system for internally illuminating each carved egg, consisting of a light stand on a circular cork board with a plastic batten holder and cord, sixteen plastic batten holders, sixteen switch cases, sixteen "push button or bell press" mechanisms, a tungsten 15 watt clear light bulb, seventeen plastic "Café HAG" coffee jar lids.

    The collection is significant as constituting a rare series of representations of prominent Indigenous people and other figures undertaken by a renowned Aboriginal artist. As a set of carved emu eggs it is also an important contribution to the National Museum's collection of 20th century Indigenous craft objects. The collection compliments an existing NHC collection of six carved eggs depicting prominent Indigenous figures also carved by Reid.

  • Tran Thi Nga collection(12)

    Ship's wheel from the fishing vessel Hong Hai
    Motor Fishing Vessel Hong Hai, which transported 38 Vietnamese refugees to Australia in 1978

    Booklet about the Hong Hai Restoration.

    Five sheets of plans of the Hong Hai held in cylinder.

    The Tran Thi Nga collection includes the fishing vessel 'Hong Hai', a pair of binoculars, the steering wheel, a large metal water container and an aluminium chair used by the captain. There is also a collection of archival documents that relate to the arrival of the vessel in 1978 and its restoration in 1988. The wooden fishing boat 'Hong Hai' was made by Truong Van Soi and his family in Kien Giang, Vietnam in 1969 to use for commercial trawling. In 1978 Mr Truong was informed that his property would be confiscated by the government on his return from his next fishing voyage. As the boat was stocked and prepared he elected not to return and instead embarked on a 51-day, 6000 kilometre trip to Darwin via Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia with 37 crew, friends and family, 12 of whom were less than 15 years of age.

    The twentieth century saw rapid rises in immigration with notable numbers of refugees after conflicts around the world. Many Vietnamese people fled their homes after the fall of Saigon to North Vietnam in 1975. By 1982 about 54,000 Vietnamese refugees had made their homes in Australia, of which approximately 2000 arrived by boat. The arrivals prompted debate in Australia about immigration, refugees and the now ubiquitous term 'boat people'. The 'Hong Hai' is one of the most significant objects in the National Historical Collection representing the experiences of refugees in Australia.

  • Department of Administrative Services collection(10)

    Ferrier's Lever Wool Press, Serial No 1831, made by Humble & Sons, Geelong, c.1912

    Mahogany single bed with empire scroll sides from the Prime Minister's Lodge, Canberra

    George IV extendable wooden dining table on pedestal from the Prime Minister's Lodge, Canberra

    Pine corner cabinet from the Prime Minister's Lodge, Canberra

    Painted green with 'FERRIER'S / TRADE-MARK / Lever / WOOLPRESS / 1831 / HUMBLE / & / SONS / Makers / GEELONG / 1831' in yellow on the front, this double box wool press with a central pole and a conical drum rope winch or fuzee is one of several items that make up the Department of Administrative Services collection. This large and high quality press was designed to be used in large sheds where wool had to be pressed quickly. Originally purchased from Humble and Sons around 1912 by Australian Estates and Mortgage Co Ltd, wool and produce selling brokers and stock and station agents, the press was sold to a Mr D T Boyd of Victoria. In 1952 the press was sold to the NSW Department of Transport.

    The Ferrier's Press was invented by David Ferrier from Surat, Queensland, and first manufactured by Humble and Nicholson of Geelong. The Press obtained first prize and first order of merit at the Melbourne International Exhibition, I881, and received glowing testimonials from customers who referred to its cheap price, speed and efficiency. Compressing shorn wool into bales remains the standard method of packing wool, and the bale is still the standard trading unit for wool on the wholesale national and international markets. Efficient, cost-effective baling technology has been essential to the growth of Australia's wool export industry, one of Australia's most important export industries, and the early presses are an example of the ingenuity and enterprise of Australian settlers. Manual woolpressing remained, nevertheless, hard, tiring work and the early presses, which were very labour intensive, were later discarded for more efficient fuel and electricity-driven types.

  • Rosie Egyedi collection(4)

    I'm sorry
    Let's walk together
    Let's walk together
    I'm sorry

    The Rosie Egyedi collection consists of two white cotton T-shirts, each screen printed on the front with the text 'I'm Sorry, Let's walk together' surrounding an image of both black and white footprints, and two black cotton T-shirts, each screen printed on the front with the text 'Let's walk together' surrounding an image of both black and white footprints.

    These T-shirts were acquired from Rosie Egyedi, who designed and produced them in the lead up to the inaugrual National Sorry Day in 1998 . Sorry Day was an event xxxxxxx. Immediately popular, Egyedi's T-shirts became a point of identification for supporters of the cause and were purchased widely, including by many Aboriginal people. It was the challenge to 'walk together' issued by the National Indigenous Working Group on Stolen Generations that generated the idea for the T-shirt slogan.