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National Museum of Australia

Collection Explorer



  • Dr Howard Morphy collection no. 1(18)

    Bark painting 'Yingapungapu' by Narritjin Maymuru, Yirrkala
    Painting depicts 4 flying foxes with wings outspread
    Painting depicts a large circle within abstract pattern with yellow bird
    Painting depicts a large black shark with mouth slightly open
  • William Beausang collection(24)

    Photograph album containing historic aviation photographs
    Painting of The Southern Cross by John Allcot
    Miniature medals of William Beausang
    The Sky's the Limit by J.M. Spaight

    The collection consists of approximately 140 items relating to Australian aviation, war service, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. The items were collected by Mr William Beausang during his life and formed part of his wife's estate. The collection includes a painting of the Southern Cross by John Allcot, photographs of Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith, early aviators and planes, signed photographs of concert musicians and conductors, newspaper articles, miniatures of Beausang's World War One medals, a strip map and several books.

    William (Bill or Liam) Beausang was born in Youghal, County Cork, Ireland on 22 May 1900. He travelled to Australia in 1924 after distinguished military service and began working with Kingsford-Smith as an engineer in the late 1920s. The large amount of aviation-related material in the collection reveals Beausang's engagement with the celebrity, memorialisation and commemoration of Kingsford-Smith and other aviators, with Beausang's own contribution in the form of articles and photographs a significant part of the collection. The material related to the ABC and Sydney Symphony Orchestra also highlights the place of classical music in wartime Australia and the cultural importance of visits by celebrated musicians to Australia in the 1940s and 1950s.

  • Springfield - Faithfull Family collection(3501)

    Length of linen tape
    Clematis Alpina
    Group of people having tea in a garden

    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.

  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7553)

    Four children.
    National Park, Sydney
    The monolith, Mt Buffalo, Victoria
    Story Bridge, Brisbane, Qld
  • Aboriginal Arts Board collection no. 2(561)

    Painting depicts kalkberd, the euro (Macropus robustus)
    Bark painting depicting a 'nature story' of dukala, possums and lambalk, the sugar glider, by Bardayal Nadjamerrek
    Glazed ceramic bowl with a narrow base
    Painting depicts kangaroo, x-ray style
  • Tania Verstak collection(12)

    Trophy awarded to 'Tania Verstak Miss Australia in recognition of outstanding service for Queensland Industry'
    Golden yellow poplin dress with Australian wildflower applique
    Smiling woman
    Deep pink silk chiffon dress with train

    The Tania Verstak collection documents Tania's experience as a participant and eventual winner both of the 1961 Miss Australia Quest and the 1962 Miss International contest. Trophies are a particular strength of this collection, representing the then unprecedented level of success achieved by Tania Verstak as the first naturalised Australian to win the Miss Australia Quest, and as an Australian winner of a high profile overseas beauty contest. Also in this collection are two evening gowns worn by Tania during competition for the Miss Australia Quest, and a dress worn for 'national costume' judging at the 1962 International Beauty Congress held in Long Beach, California. This collection is supported by file copies of photographs, newspaper clippings and ephemera, sourced from Tania Verstak's personal archive, that document her progression through the state and national stages of the Miss Australia Quest, her participation at the International Beauty Congress, and her world tour as Miss Australia 1961.

    The Miss Australia Quest (from 1992 known as the Miss Australia Awards) ran continuously from 1953 to 2000 and was arguably the longest running, most popular and most successful charitable enterprise in Australia's history. The first documented nationwide contest to identify Australia's ideal woman was held in 1907, however the first official use of the title 'Miss Australia' is more generally thought to have been used in relation to 'Miss Australia 1926' - Beryl Mills from Western Australia. Further contests were held in 1927, 1937, and from 1945 until 1950. It was in 1953 when Bernard Dowd (manufacturer of Hickory Lingerie in Australia) and his company Dowd Associates took over running of the competition that the Quest became a registered business enterprise, and the 'search for Miss Australia' gained momentum. From 1954 until 2000 the Quest ran primarily as a fundraising event for the Australian Cerebral Palsy Association (ACPA), and is estimated to have raised $90 million for people with cerebral palsy. Over its lifetime, the Quest reflected many of the changes that took place in Australian society and culture: the changing role and perceptions of women; changing perceptions of people with disabilities; the influence of migrants and 'New Australians'; and the presentation of Australia and Australians overseas.

  • American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land (AASEAL) collection(218)

    Canoe Kangaroo Men Fish
    The Black Ant, Uaipa
    Two quartzite flaked stone spearheads, bundled in bark sheath and secured with textile strips
  • Bill Reid - John Cawte collection(47)

    Carved emu egg by Bill Reid
    Emu egg carved with image of Betty Watts by Bill Reid
    Emu egg carved with image of a horse by Bill Reid
    Emu egg carved with images of a possum and two kangaroos 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.