page loading
Menu toggle

National Museum of Australia

Collection Explorer



  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7553)

    Booklet of postcards
    Pay Day
    Education Department, Sydney
    A man standing on a path viewed through tree ferns
  • Springfield - Faithfull Family collection(3501)

    Photograph taken at the Tirranna Races
    Pen and ink drawing depicting a young boy and horse
    Photograph - Florence Ethel and Hazel Faithfull in Egypt
    Depicts a flower

    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.

  • Canning Stock Route collection(124)

    'Waruwiya' by Helicopter Tjungurrayi, 2007
    Fibre basket by Noreena Kadibil, 2008
    Fibre basket by Lily Long, 2008
    'Sunday Well' by Dadda Samson, 2008

    The Canning Stock Route collection is comprised of 125 works and includes paintings, drawings, baskets, boomerangs, coolamons, headdresses, carved figures and shields.

    The Canning Stock Route is a no-longer-used cattle droving route that traverses the Great Sandy and Gibson Deserts of central Western Australia. Comprised of 48 wells along an 1800 kilometres stretch of track, the route links Wiluna in the south with Sturt Creek in the north and traverses the traditional lands of nine Aboriginal language groups. The route was founded in 1905 when Alfred Canning was commissioned to investigate a route suitable for the droving of 500 head of cattle, with water sources spaced at intervals of no more than one day's walk apart. Although Canning's map records observations of the land and water resources, it makes no mention of Indigenous places and their associated meanings which the route traversed. This collection, composed of 'painting stories', sculptural works and oral histories, re-dresses Canning's omission and records the impact of the stock route on Indigenous lives and country. A six week journey with traditional owners held in July and August of 2007 inspired the artworks, many of which were produced during the journey, and provided an opportunity for more than 70 senior and emerging artists to reconnect with traditional lands..

  • Dr Herbert Basedow collection(424)

    Glass plate negative - Wagon carrying 8-tonne load, Victoria River, Northern Territory, photographed by Herbert Basedow, 1922
    Glass plate negative - The old open-cut in pre-Cambrian clay-slates at the Daly River copper mine, Northern Territory, photographed by Herbert Basedow, 1905
    Film negative - Dinjimanne and family, South of Mt Woodroffe, south-central Musgrave Ranges, South Australia, photographed by Herbert Basedow, 1903
    Film negative - A lone huntsman, photographed by Herbert Basedow, Petermann Ranges, Northern Territory, 1926
  • Nettie McColive collection(189)


    Needlework has been an important creative outlet for women throughout Australian history. This work has often been denigrated due to the (gendered) divide between high and low culture which regards domestic work as trivial, feminine and unworthy of the title "Art". A reassessment of history informed by womens' history and feminism has led to domestic needlework being acknowledged as more than simply functional labour. The social role of this type of work is now better appreciated making it a vital aspect of domestic material culture.

    This collection consists of objects relating to the life of Minetta (Nettie) McColive (nee Huppatz). Mrs McColive's quilts form the centre piece of the collection. Three of these were made in the 1930's, the Farm Life Quilt, Wildflowers Quilt and the International Quilt. Also featured in the collection are certificates, photographs and d'oyleys. This collection helps to document issues such as women in rural Australia, quilting and needlework, education in the outback, community or commemorative quilting, shows and competitions.

    Mrs McColive's work has been the subject of considerable interest both in South Australia as well as in the general quilting community. Her work is featured in two books, Jennifer Isaac's The Gentle Arts and Margaret Rolfe's Patchwork Quilts in Australia. Her work has also featured in exhibitions such as the Quilt Australia '88 exhibition as well as an exhibition held in Prospect showcasing the work of local artists.

  • Alexander Ferguson collection(3)

    1803 Pattern British Infantry Officer's sword and scabbard of New South Wales Colonial Governor Lachlan Macquarie
    Dirk, scabbard, by-knife and fork used by New South Wales Colonial Governor Lachlan Macquarie
    Black leather dirk scabbard used by New South Wales Colonial Governor Lachlan Macquarie

    The Alexander Ferguson Collection consists of a 1803 Pattern British Infantry Officer's sword and scabbard, a dirk, scabbard, by-knife and fork and a black leather scabbard belonging to and used by Lieutenant-Colonel Lachlan Macquarie, Governor of New South Wales from 1810 to 1821. The regimental sword was purchased by Macquarie after serving in North America, India and Egypt, before his appointment to the colony of New South Wales. It reflects his Scottish heritage with a decorative thistle relief. The number of his new regiment, the 73rd, is engraved on the main knuckle-bow. Dirks were worn by senior officers of Scottish regiments as clan insignia.

    Lachlan Macquarie is a key figure in the development of the colony of New South Wales. He was chose to replace Governor William Bligh and began his term on 1st January 1810. Over the next decade he transformed the colony's infrastructure, economy and prospects. His determination to rehabilitate the social status of 'reformed' convicts won him powerful enemies in the colony and in Britain, and in 1822 he sailed for London to defend himself against his critics. Fearing that his achievements would be eclipsed by the 'false, vindictive and malicious' report of the Bigge Commission, Macquarie battled to salvage his reputation. He died in London on 1 July 1824, two months after a grueling journey from Scotland to secure his pension

  • Donovan Family collection(5)

    Sterling silver cigarette box presented to Lieutenant Commander Jack Donovan, RAN
    Telegram addressed to Lieutenant Commodore J Donovan regarding the birth of his son, 1942
    Bassinette and stand

    The Donovan Collection No. 2 comprises a silver cigarette box, bassinette, telegram and parish newsletter. The cigarette box was a gift for the donor's parents, Lieutenant Commander Jack Donovan and Dr Ella Donovan on the occasion of their wedding in 1941. The bassinette, telegram and parish newsletter relate to the birth of their first son John in 1942. The National Museum of Australia already holds Mrs Donovan's wedding dress which was donated in 1990.

    The set of items on offer connect the experiences of one family during the Second World War to wider issues surrounding war-time marriage, population growth, infant welfare groups and rationing. Jack and Ella married in 1941, and their first child John was born in February 1942, in the period before war time rationing was enforced in Australia. During the war, the birth rate in Australia rose significantly encouraged by policies of population growth. Ella's experiences of motherhood would have been inflected by her own medical training as an obstetrician and gynaecologist and by a wider social emphasis on mothercraft and child welfare.

  • Timothy Millett collection(314)

    Convict love token from John Giddens
    Convict love token from Robert Bridges, 1843
    Convict love token from Edward Kershaw, 1834
    Convict love token from Joseph Kelf, 1833

    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.