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National Museum of Australia

Collection Explorer



  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7553)

    Darlinghurst Rd. Kings Cross. Sydney
    Sharp St, Cooma
    Dusolina Giannini - Desdemona
    Bridge over Clarence River
  • Canning Stock Route collection(124)

    'Bush Tucker' by Ngilpirr Spider Snell, 2007
    Fibre basket by Lily Long, 2008
    'Nyilnigil' by Nyangkarni Penny K-Lyons, 2007
    Fibre basket by Renette Biljabu, 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..

  • Esme Timbery collection(3)

    Shellwork Sydney Harbour Bridge, La Perouse, Sydney
    Shellwork Sydney Harbour Bridge, La Perouse, Sydney
    Shellwork Sydney Harbour Bridge, La Perouse, Sydney

    The Esme Timbery Collection consists of three models of the Sydney Harbour Bridge made in 2006. Each model measures approximately 350mm x 160mm x 100mm. The bridges are constructed from a plywood skeleton, covered in fabric (two in lavender and one in red), glitter and shellwork.

    These shellwork 'Harbour Bridges' were made by contemporary Bidjigal woman Esme Timbery, following the century old tradition of shellwork artefacts produced by Indigenous women from La Perouse, NSW. The production of shellwork artefacts dates to at least the late 19th century, with documents recording women selling shell baskets at Circular Quay and Botany Bay as early as the 1880s. The history of the production of objects by the local Aboriginal community is deeply entangled with the development of La Perouse as a tourist destination . Located 15 kilometres from central Sydney on the northern headland of Botany Bay, La Perouse is one of two principle locations associated with Aboriginal people in the Sydney region, and after the construction of a tramline in the early twentieth century, became an important Sydney tourist destination. As a result, during the early to mid twentieth century the production of Aboriginal artefacts for sale to non-Indigenous tourists was a mainstay of the La Perouse economy, with women and girls making shellwork items and men and boys making wooden artefacts such as boomerangs and shields.

  • Embroiderers' Guilds of Australia collection(138)

    Photocopy of technical diagram for installation and display of Parliament House Embroidery, top elevation
    Letter from Embroiderers' Guild of Tasmania
    Newspaper clipping and three handwritten notes
    Handwritten note found with sampler in folder

    This collection of fabric samples, stranded wools and cottons, samplers, seams, design cartoons and transfer material, mounts, needlework equipment, notes and photographs details the process of the making of the Parliament House Embroidery by members of the embroiderers' guilds of all eight States and Territories.

    The Parliament House Embroidery was created in a community gesture as a gift to the nation, one of many such initiatives around the time of the Bicentenary of European settlement in Australia. However, the scale of the embroidery was without precedent in Australia and the process of its making could be considered a historic event. The collection documents the extent of research, practice, experimentation and discussion undertaken by the highly skilled and imaginative needlewomen - all of whom were volunteers - as they evaluated materials and explored techniques to best interpret designer Kay Lawrence's painted cartoon. In charting the realisation of the Parliament House Embroidery, and its own concepts of national identity and relationships to land, the collection also provides opportunities for discussions of the art/craft debate, women's creative expression, collaborative and community art, and the nature of volunteering in Australia.The collection is additionally invaluable in documenting the evolution of a traditional craft practice into an art form in twentieth-century Australia.

  • Timothy Millett collection(314)

    Convict love token from James Brecknell, 1846
    Convict love token from G. Barker
    Convict love token from 22nd May, 1829
    Convict love token from H. Flood., 1844

    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.

  • Dr Herbert Basedow collection(424)

    Glass plate negative - Grave with painted grave posts, Bathurst Island, Northern Territory, photographed by Herbert Basedow, 1911
    Glass plate negative - The vice-regal party at breakfast, central Australia, photographed by Herbert Basedow, 1923
    Glass plate negative - Emily Gap, Northern Territory, photographed by Herbert Basedow, 1924
    Glass plate negative - Old man in front of his hut, Yandruwandha people, Innamincka district, South Australia, photographed by Herbert Basedow, 1919
  • Springfield - Faithfull Family collection(3501)

    Pencil sketch depicting four deer
    Colt Model 1851 Navy revolver
    Dining room at Camelot, home of Lilian Faithfull after her marriage to William Hugh Anderson
    The Tourist.

    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.

  • Frank Proust collection(7)

    Frank Proust at crash site of Southern Cloud
    Frank Proust and others en route to Southern Cloud crash site
    Plane lost for 27 years
    Frank Proust with tachometer plate

    The Frank Proust collection consists of the damaged tachometer plate from the instrument panel of the aircraft Southern Cloud and four black and white photographs by Sydney Morning Herald photographer Alan Kemp.

    Southern Cloud, operated by Australian National Airways, crashed in 1931 during appalling weather on the Sydney-Melbourne route. The wreck was not found in the subsequent search and the mystery of the plane's disappearance captured the nation's attention during the dark days of the Depression. It was Australia's first major civil aviation disaster. Only in 1958 - and quite by accident - was the wreckage found by a worker on the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme. A significant outcome of the crash was a recommendation for the adoption of radio in civil aircraft in Australia, enabling changed weather forecasts to be conveyed to aircrews. The loss of Southern Cloud and the eight persons on board played a part in creating safer air travel for all Australians. The damaged tachometer plate forms a poignant and graphic reminder of the dangers of flying in the 1930s.