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National Museum of Australia

Collection Explorer



  • Carmelo Mirabelli collection no. 1(20)

    Sugar cane cutting knife
    Zeiss Ikon Nettar camera and case
    Reversible pink jacket
    Carmelo Mirabelli's suitcase and suitcase straps

    The Carmelo Mirabelli collection consists of 16 items relating to Mr Mirabelli's six years of itinerant work after migrating from Sicily to Australia in 1951. He travelled between Ingham, Qld; Shepparton and Mildura, Vic. following the seasonal harvests of sugar cane in Queensland and stone fruit and grapes in Victoria in order to find a 'home' in Australia. The collection includes his cane-cutting knife, fruit-picking apron, grape picking basket, camera, bicycle, kerosene stove and Remitter's Record Card which he used to send money to his mother in war-ravaged Sicily.

    The Mirabelli collection reflects aspects of post-WWII Italian migration. It is representative of itinerant or seasonal workers lives in the post war period and how these flows of people connected Queensland to Victoria. The fact that Mr Mirabelli encouraged other cane cutters to pick fruit in Shepparton supports this. The collection adds to the understanding of post war agricultural history, particularly that of fruit picking and cane cutting which are not represented in the NHC. The Mirabelli collection also illustrates how phases of mobility and consolidation were part of the Italian male migrant experience in the post war era.

  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7553)

    Newcastle Post Office
    S.S. Karatta at Jetty, Kingscote, K.I.
    Looking over Prince's Bridges & the Yarra, Melbourne, Vic
  • Nettie McColive collection(189)


    Needlework has been an important creative outlet for women throughout Australian history. This work has often been denigrated due to the (gendered) divide between high and low culture which regards domestic work as trivial, feminine and unworthy of the title "Art". A reassessment of history informed by womens' history and feminism has led to domestic needlework being acknowledged as more than simply functional labour. The social role of this type of work is now better appreciated making it a vital aspect of domestic material culture.

    This collection consists of objects relating to the life of Minetta (Nettie) McColive (nee Huppatz). Mrs McColive's quilts form the centre piece of the collection. Three of these were made in the 1930's, the Farm Life Quilt, Wildflowers Quilt and the International Quilt. Also featured in the collection are certificates, photographs and d'oyleys. This collection helps to document issues such as women in rural Australia, quilting and needlework, education in the outback, community or commemorative quilting, shows and competitions.

    Mrs McColive's work has been the subject of considerable interest both in South Australia as well as in the general quilting community. Her work is featured in two books, Jennifer Isaac's The Gentle Arts and Margaret Rolfe's Patchwork Quilts in Australia. Her work has also featured in exhibitions such as the Quilt Australia '88 exhibition as well as an exhibition held in Prospect showcasing the work of local artists.

  • Adrian Luck collection no. 1(56)

    Beni Souef Bank of Egypt
    Malta-Maltese Cab (Carrozin)
    Australian Cavalry Parading in Cairo
    Fez Djedid - Rue du Marche (Souk)
  • Timothy Millett collection(314)

    Convict love token from T.N.
    Convict love token from James Broker, 1820
    Convict love token engraved with the names H. Orum and H. Cutler
    Convict love token engraved with the initials J.T. and S.B., 1827

    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.

  • Dr William Warner collection(123)

    Ornamental shoulder band
    Headband of fibre string
    Bark canoe
    Spearthrower with triple ringtail incisions
  • Sir Littleton Groom collection(21)

    Letter from Sir Littleton Groom dated June 26th 1905
    First Anzac Day, 25th April, 1916 for Classes V and VI
    Explanatory leaflet about the Memorial to Sir Littleton Ernest Groom
    Box for Henry Walker & Sons Ltd, watchmakers and jewellers

    The Sir Littleton Groom collection consists of eleven objects relating to the political career and achievements of this long-serving Australian federal politician, Minister and Speaker of the House of Representatives. These items include gifts given to Sir Littleton Groom, commemorative medallions, items relating to the conferring of his knighthood and souvenirs.

    Sir Littleton Ernest Groom was an administrative and constitutional lawyer and a federal politician who held office as a Member of the House of Representatives (1901-1929) and as Speaker of the House of Representatives (1926-1929). As a politician he was a protectionist and a strong nationalist. Many of the causes and issues he took up in the course of his parliamentary life were directed towards national development and the assertion of Commonwealth power over the States. In his various Ministerial roles Sir Littleton Groom negotiated with the States over the federal capital site, was instrumental in establishing a Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics and drafted and carried through the Parliament legislation for the provision of old age and invalid pensions. As Minister for External Affairs he presented a bill to provide for an Australian High Commissioner in London and he held the portfolio of Attorney-General for four years from 1921, during which time he extended the industrial powers of the Commonwealth and introduced a public service superannuation scheme. Groom was an enthusiastic supporter of the war effort, and served as assistant Minister for Defence and later as Vice-President of the Executive Council. Sir Littleton Groom was knighted in 1924, made Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1926, and presided over the first parliamentary sittings in the new Parliament House in Canberra.

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

    Landscape with grass tree
    Painting by Gordon Syron - Middle of tryptic
    Namanjwarra (Estuarine Crocodile) by Curly Bardkadabbu
    Eddie Marbo, by C B Robinson.

    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.