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National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer



  • Fred Daly collection(481)

    Fred Daly seated behind a desk
    Fred Daly on the steps of Parliament with three unidentified males, four boys and a security officer
    Black and white photograph of Fred Daly as
    Colour photograph of Fred Daly with the 'Young Australian of the Year'
  • Kerry Sharp collection(5)

    Drawing captioned 'Azaria Chamberlain Court Case, Darwin, Sept 82, Jo Darbyshire'
    Drawing captioned 'Azaria Chamberlain Court Case, Darwin, Sept 82, Jo Darbyshire'
    Drawing captioned 'Azaria Chamberlain Court Case, Darwin, Sept 82, Jo Darbyshire'
    Drawing captioned 'Azaria Chamberlain Court Case, Darwin, Sept 82, Jo Darbyshire'
  • Enid Bowden collection(227)

    Message stick
    Message stick
    Stone knife
    Cylindrical basket
  • Aboriginal Arts Board collection no. 2(4603)

    Child's drawing
    Child's drawing
    Child's drawing
    Child's drawing
  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7617)

    Watts River, Vic
    Mosman's Bay, Sydney.
    German Kulture - Retribution
  • Louis Zmak collection(16)

    Cartoon depicting a cricket match and a seated man with 'YARB' printed on his T-shirt
    Cartoon depicting a man sitting and talking to a stabled horse
    Cartoon of man seated in a lounge chair, watching three TV sets through binoculars
    Cartoon depicting a customs officer talking to man wearing glasses, who has four daggers in his back
  • Anne Stockton collection no. 1(1158)

    Birds Eye view of Yunnanfu, July 1920
    Lambs on the plateau in Mongha, Jan 1915
    View of one of the lakes near Yunnanfu - 11.7.1917
    Hair brush and comb set
  • Solomon and Josephine Ahmat collection(19)

    Ankle band or Ngarau Musurr
    American fighter aeroplane headdress by Mafali Nona
    British fighter aeroplane headdress by James Eseli
    British Mitchell carrier aeroplane headdress

    Solomon and Josephine Ahmat are two Torres Strait Islander dancers from the Badu Islands in the Torres Straits. They are members of the Goigai Pudhai Badu Island dance group. Their collection, the Solomon and Josephine Ahmat collection of dance costumes and objects, consists of three model Aeroplane mounted headdresses and an aeroplane dance outfit comprising a singlet, a pair of pants, a wrap skirt, two ankle and wrist bands and a grass skirt. The collection also includes Josephine's dress, headband, leg bands and two white hand flags - a costume associated with the Flag dance. A snake skin drum and a seed rattle are also included in this collection.

    This collection of dance outfits and associated objects was used at the Australian War Memorial to celebrate the opening of the 'Australia Under Attack 1942 - 1943' exhibition on 14 December 2004. This was the first time the Aeroplane and Flag dance had been performed outside of the Torres Strait Islands. The dances reflect the memories of World War II in the Islands by the original composers James Eseli and a unnamed female Elder. The Aeroplane dance represents the flight of Allied American and British planes over the Torres Straits with the dancers moving in slow controlled movements in a V formations as the planes would have flown during the war. The headdresses use detailed model replicas of a British Mitchell Carrier plane, an American Fighter plane and a British Fighter plane. This dance is only performed by the men. The Flag dance, which is only performed by women, was conceived after a female Elder saw images of the Navy Semaphore flag signalling system in an old Scout book. The dancers use the flags to signal out words relating to the War and the Torres Straits. Both dances are unique to the Torres Straits and show the creativity and ingenuity of the Islanders when telling a story through performance. The headdresses are significant as they are rarely made and are symbolic of the transfer of knowledge from an elder to the young people in the community. The headdresses and costumes are also significant for their association with the way in which Torres Strait Islander performers recollect a non-Indigenous event or interaction. As such they are an example of the Torres Strait Island tradition of using dance as a narrative form in the representation of their history.