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National Museum of Australia

Collection Explorer



  • John McNally collection(1)

    Little Grey Fergie toy tractor handcrafted from salvaged box timber and wire by 10 year old Brian Burns in 1943.

    The John McNally collection comprises a homemade toy tractor constructed during World War II in south-east New South Wales.

    The toy tractor made by Brian Burns is illustrative of a "make-do" response to wartime conditions and offers us an insight into what life might have been like for a young boy living on a farm in 1943. World War II was a time of enormous change for primary producers and their families, at work and at home. The official message promulgated by government was that military victory would inevitably be linked to civilian deprivation and self sacrifice. Rural families like the Burns' would have experienced this aspect of the war directly through supply shortages and rationing.

  • Dr Karel Kupka collection(71)

    Bark painting 'Map of painter's travell [sic] by plane from Yirrkala to Sydney' by Mawalan Marika, Yirrkala, 1963
    Bark painting 'Fight between Crocodile-man and Stingray-man' by Narritjin Maymuru, Yirrkala, 1963
    Bark painting 'Six Mimi Spirits (four males and two females) walking' by Jimmy Namiridali Nonganyari, Croker Island, 1963
    Bark painting 'Two Mimi Spirits (males) dancing' by Paddy Compass Namatbara, Croker Island, 1963
  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7553)

    Ferns, with a fence in the foreground.
    Observatory, 'Rocks', Sydney
    He swore if we're bles't with childrenThe darlings I'll always adore
    Launceston from Trevallyn, Tasmania
  • Timothy Millett collection(314)

    Convict love token from Dennis Greenfield, 1833
    Convict love token with a cross on a stand
    Convict love token from Joseph Kelf, 1833
    Convict love token engraved with the names J. Kelly and C. Underwood, 1835

    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.

  • Macquarie Gallery collection(6)

    The Male and Female Dugong Story
    The WaterSpout  Story or Thunermun.
    Painting depicts a lizard-like creature with a frill-neck surrounded by different species of fish.
    The Thwathu Scerpent Rainbow
  • Dr Helen M Wurm collection no. 5(60)

    Bark painting 'Rainbow snake in the stone country of Gumadir' by Yirawala, Croker Island, 1968
    Bark painting 'A mam or namandi spirit in Margolidjban' by Dick Nguleingulei Murrumurru, Gunbalanya, 1968
    Bark painting 'The mimi man Normogormo on his way from Majong to Guriba' by Bobby Barrdjaray Nganjmirra, Gunbalanya, 1968
  • Anne Stockton collection no. 1(1158)

    Alex Henry, Draper & Clothier...Number One Drapery Warehouse, Turriff, March, 1929
    LCO Aumuller Powhattan Hankow. Home Sick Nankin Love Innes
    Ve 8 Hankow 12 14 1640....VERY DELIGHTED LOVE, KARL
  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 6(9)

    See the better farming train
    Australia - Land of Tomorrow
    An advertising sign for Pelaco shirts, collars and pyjamas.
    Don't Falter, Go and meet the Hun menace

    This collection consists of 10 excellent examples of Australian advertising posters. Artists represented include Percy Tromf, James Northfield, Norman Lindsay and May Gibbs . The majority of the posters were produced as lithographs.

    The poster as a form of advertising was popular in Australian throughout the twentieth century, particularly before the age of radio and television. The posters in this particular collection document a number of different types of advertising campaigns including war time recruitment, public health and safety, product endorsement and railway travel.