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National Museum of Australia

Collection Explorer



  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7553)

    S.S. Wyreema
    Postcard of Melbourne Cup winner - The Grafter
    Newcastle Post Office
    The Ocean Baths, Newcastle, NSW
  • Social History Museums (South Australia) collection(172)

    Anzac Day - Lest We forget Gallipoli, 25 April, 1915
    Souvenir badge that commemorates the first flight from England to Australia by Ross and Keith Smith in 1919
    Cheer-Up Society
    Australia Day 1916
  • David Allen medals collection(111)

    Liverpool Plains P A & H Association 1877 'Arab Stallion'
    Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society of South Australia 1903 'Suffolk Punch Entire'
    Kerang Agricultural & Pastoral Society 1885 'Chaff Cutter'
    Port Phillip Farmers Society 1859 'Hay Cart'
  • Timothy Millett collection(314)

    Convict love token from W. Taylor, 1834
    Convict love token, Mary Hill, May 11, 1826
    Convict love token from Robert Francis, 1848
    Convict love token from F. Buck, 1830

    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.

  • Torrens Island Quarantine Station collection(203)

    Timber rat trap
    Woven cane basket for baby weighing scales
    Pair of crutches

    The South Australian Government established a quarantine station on Torrens Island in 1877 (although there had been a quarantine camp on the island since 1855). It operated as a quarantine station for humans to 1980 and for animals to the mid 1990s. The last large group of people to be isolated at the Torrens Island Quarantine Station were the passengers and crew of the P&O liner Straithaird in 1954.

    For over a century the Torrens Island Quarantine Station endeavoured to protect the population of South Australia from yellow fever, cholera, plague, smallpox, typhus fever, leprosy and influenza. In 1911-12 the Commonwealth government took over the management of the quarantine station and greater cooperation and coordination with other stations around the nation was achieved. The Torrens Island Quarantine Station collection contains objects from most of the phases ofthe quarantine process employed at Torrens Island Quarantine Station during the middle decades of this century.

    Most of the collection dates from the period beginning with the influenza epidemic that followed the Great War (1914-1918) and was used through to the end of post World War migration in the 1960s. Two obvious 19th century exceptions to this are the book Mayhew's German Life dated 1864 (seven years before the creation of the German nation) and a mid 19th century government issue bed believed to have come from the Port Arthur penal establishment in Tasmania. The closure of Port Arthur and the establishment of Torrens Island Quarantine Station were barely 12 months apart and it is possible that government stores were transferred from Port Arthur for use at Torrens Island Quarantine Station.

    The number and comprehensive range of objects in the collection allow a wide range of possibilities for interpreting the collection and for displaying aspects of the role of quarantine stations in Australia and the experiences of those who passed through them as inmates and as quarantine staff.

    The collection includes objects from management of the arrival of the suspect vessel and its passengers, crew and cargo; from the fumigation process; from the accommodation and treatment of both sick and healthy people undergoing quarantine; and from the general administration of the station, its hospital and equipment.

  • Dennis Nona Collection no. 2(7)

    Byerb Ibaik brass skull by Dennis Nona
    Skateboard triptych by Dennis Nona
    One panel of skateboard triptych by Dennis Nona
    One panel of skateboard triptych by Dennis Nona

    The Dennis Nona Collection No 2 includes four artworks created by renowned Torres Strait Islander artist, Dennis Nona. These include a white brass kuik (human skull) titled Byerb Ibaik, two etchings titled Pyban and Kuik and a laser cut laminated wood skate-deck triptych titled Lagan Wakkimthimin. These works were all made as part of the Muluka Pyban (Passing Down) exhibition and are based on histories, cultures and practices of the Torres Strait.

    This collection represents important aspects of Torres Strait Islander objects and history that are often difficult to display and discuss including ceremonial practices and the trade of kuik (human skulls). These works could be used for display whilst avoiding the display of actual human remains and for this reason have an immediate application in a forthcoming module re-development in the Torres Strait Islander Gallery. The works can also be used in exhibitions on the theme of repatriation. The National Museum currently holds actual trophy skulls that would be problematic in any exhibition. Renowned for his artistic innovation and the sociocultural significance of his works, Dennis Nona has created a new visual language that is enabling a large audience to share in Torres Strait Islander culture.

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

    Bark painting 'The night-bird, karawak, and the opossum, marungo' attributed to Narritjin Maymuru, Yirrkala, 1948
    Weapon - Spearthrower
    Hive of Honey, Milingimbi
  • School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine collection(121)

    Oertling 62FM beam balance
    Zeiss binocular microscope and case
    Zeiss 188014 binocular microscope and box
    Photo-micrographic apparatus stand and accessories