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National Museum of Australia

Collection Explorer



  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7553)

    Australian Troops March Through London
    The lookout tower, Arthur's Seat, Vic
    Glimpse of City Skyline from the Botanical Gardens, Sydney, N.S.W
    QSL card for VK3JT
  • American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land (AASEAL) collection(218)

    Woven pandanus fibre armband, pigmented in stripes
    Weapon - Spear
    Naluk - The Woman
    Bark painting divided into three panels depicting a goanna, a snake, two turtles, a bird and eight fish, all cross-hatched
  • Ken Ross collection(20)

    Goulburn to Sydney Road Race 1928 - Winner's medal
    C.C.L.B.C. 20 Mile Road Championship NSW 1919 sash
    1/4 Mile Australasian Championship 1926 - 2nd place medal
    1/2 Mile Australasia Championship 1926 - 2nd place medal

    The Ken Ross collection comprises 11 medals, 9 sashes and 1 racing jersey which belonged to professional cyclist Ken Ross. Ross competed successfully as a road cyclist in New South Wales during the 1920s and 1930s. He was also among the few Australian cyclists competing in Europe after the First World War and was among the first English-speaking sportsmen to enter German after the conflict had ended. The collection includes medals and sashes won in Australia and Europe.

    The bicycle has played an important role in Australian life since the 1880s, both as a sport and as a means of transportation. Cycle racing was immediately popular with clubs forming in every state by the 1890s. The period after the First World War saw a great revival of competitive cycling and local and interstate competitions drew large crowds and full newspaper coverage. The few Australian cyclists who left Australia in the 1920s to compete overseas established a long tradition of professional cyclists who have achieved success at an international level.

  • Banks Florilegium collection(2476)

    Bougainvillea spectabilis Nyctaginaceae
    Crataeva religiosa Capparidaceae
    Erythrina vespertilio Leguminosae
    Bomarea edulis

    The Banks' Florilegium was published by Alecto Historical Editions (London) in association with the British Museum (Natural History) between 1980 and 1990. Each of the 100 sets that comprise the edition consists of seven hundred and forty three botanical line engravings, after the watercolours drawn from nature by Sydney Parkinson recording the plants collected by Joseph Banks and Dr Daniel Carl Solander during their voyage round the world on HMB 'Endeavour' with Lieutenant James Cook, 1768-1771. Each set is divided into 35 parts and housed in Solander Boxes. Each print or sheet within the set is identified by a blind embossed stamp on the recto, recording the publisher's and printer's chops (ie: their signatures), the copyright symbol and date. The initials of the individual printer, the plate number and the edition number are recorded in pencil. The plate-marks are virtually uniform in size: 18 x 12 inches (457 x 305 mm), and the paper is Somerset mould-made 300gsm, each sheet watermarked 'AHE' and produced specially for this edition by the Inveresk Paper Company. The sheet of paper on which the image is printed measures 28 ½ x 21 inches (724 x 556 mm), and each of the engravings is protected within a double-fold sheet of the same acid free paper which has been cut to form a window mount. Every print includes watercolour embellishments added by artists working directly from Banks' own notes. The condition of the Museum's set, No 5/100, is excellent.

    The Banks' Florilegium records and celebrates the botanical discoveries made during the first voyage of scientific discovery undertaken by Britain's Royal Navy. In addition to the vast collections of botanical and zoological specimens created, astronomical observations made and accurate maps compiled during HMB Endeavour's voyage to the Pacific, the east coast of Australia was mapped and claimed for the British Crown, leading 18 years later to the establishment of a colony in New South Wales. Joseph Banks, who financed and led the natural history contingent onboard the Endeavour, planned to publish the botanical results of the voyage in a 14 volume folio work. He hired artists to complete Sydney Parkinson's drawings and engaged a team of 18 engravers to create the copperplates. The project took 12 years and was then put aside by Banks who was by now President of the Royal Society and closely involved with the Royal Horticultural Society, Kew Gardens, the British Museum and was a friend of and unofficial advisor to the King. Sir Joseph, as he became in 1781, would go on to serve as a member of the Board of Longitude, the Coin Committe and the Privy Council's Committee for Trade, and Plantations, and his wealth, social position and extraordinary range of contacts within the political, scientific, manufacturing and diplomatic spheres made him one of the most influential figures of his day. Although the Florilegium was not published during his lifetime, he took steps for its preservation and made the drawings, notes and specimens upon which it is based available to interested visitors to the Herbarium he maintained at his home.

  • Ben Chifley collection no. 3(53)

    Invitation to Mrs Chifley, to a State Ball in honour of the Elizabeth, the Queen Mother
    Four letters of condolence to Mrs Clark and two photographs
    Far West Children's Health Scheme
    Presbyterian Church

    The objects in the Ben Chifley Collection refer to the lives of Ben and Elizabeth Chifley, primarily from the Chifleys' days as Prime Minister and Prime Minister's wife, but stretching beyond Ben's death in 1951 until Elizabeth's death in 1962. Significant objects include a letter of condolence to Elizabeth Chifley from Elsie Curtin (former PM John Curtin's wife) on the death of Ben Chifley (above), photos of Chifley as a young boy and a bible on which Chifley was sworn in as minister in the short-lived Scullin government of 1931.

    Joseph Benedict Chifley was Australia's sixteenth Prime Minister, leading the Australian government between 1945 and 1949. This period was one of particular importance in Australian history, being the time during which many of the contours of post-War Australian social and economic development were established. Chifley also articulated the values of the reforming Labor Party in his "Light on the Hill" speech of 1949. However, the election of December that year saw the beginning of a drastic re-alignment of political allegiances in voting behaviour, leading to over twenty years of conservative dominance in Australian politics. An understanding of Ben Chifley, in both his private and public guises, illustrates much about this crucial era in post-War Australian history.

  • George and Robert Dovers collection(8)

    Icepick used on 1911-1913 Australian Antarctic Expedition
    Wooden skis
    Diary of George Dovers, Antarctica 1911-1913
    Wooden skis

    The collection consists of a pair of dog-sled runners, an icepick engraved 'Australasian Antarctic 1911' and a diary, all used by George Harris Sarjeant Dovers (1887-1971) in Antarctica. The collection also includes a pair of wooden skis used by his son Robert George Dovers (1922 - 1981) in two later Antarctic expeditions; the first to Adelie Land in 1951-52 and then to the Antarctic continent to establish the new Mawson Station in 1953-55. Robert also used his father's icepick in Antarctica.

    Douglas Mawson led the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) from 1911 to 1914. Three bases were established at Macquarie Island, Cape Denison (main base) and the Western base station at Queen Mary Land for which George Dovers was the cartographer. After the Second World War the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions (ANARE) was formed and the first expedition was to Heard Island in 1948. Robert Dovers served as the surveyor on this and the 1949 expedition to Macquarie Island. He also served as the Officer-in-Charge and Surveyor for the party which established the Mawson Station during the 1954 ANARE. Mawson is now one of the longest continuously operating stations in Antarctica and the oldest south of the Antarctic Circle. Australia continues to be one of the leading Antarctic nations, taking an intense strategic, economic and scientific interest on the continent. The collection is intimately linked to key events in Australia's Antarctic story.

  • Erin Craig collection(2)

    Disembarkation tag worn by Erin Craig when arriving in San Francisco on the SS 'Lurline' in 1946
    Stuffed toy pig prize won by Erin Craig for having the reddest hair of children aboard SS Lurline, 1946

    The Erin Craig Collection consists of a red and white spotted cotton toy pig missing its tail and right ear. The toy pig belonged to Erin Craig the daughter of Australian war bride Iris Adams and James (Jim) Craig who was a Master Sergeant in the US Army during World War Two. Erin received the pig as a prize during her and her mother's voyage to the U.S. to meet her father in 1946. The collection also contains a debarkation tag which Erin wore on her arrival in San Fransisco in 1946.

    Between 1942 and 1946 almost 1 million US servicemen were stationed in or visited Australia, although there was never over 200 000 at any one time. The social impact of the temporary migration in certain places, such as Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and some regional areas, was massive. US troops were initially seen as the saviours of Australia and the Australian public was encouraged to open their hearts to troops stationed or on leave in Australia. One consequence of this influx of American servicemen was that personal and romantic relationships were formed. In total around 12 000 - 15 000 Australian women married American GIs with about 10 000 leaving Australia for America.

  • Springfield - Faithfull Family collection(3501)

    Handwritten note with a recipe
    The Tasman Glacier, N.Z.
    Invitation addressed to Miss Faithfull from the Captain and Officers of H. M. S. Calliope

    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.