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National Museum of Australia

Collection Explorer



  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7553)

    Brisbane is awfully rippin', I've bought the place
    Fern Creek, Bundanoon, NSW
    Town Hall, Parramatta, N.S.W, 1906
    Breaking the record
  • J Davidson collection no. 3(319)

    Painting depicts four water goannas, the sons of
    Split cane basket
    Fire dreaming
    Bark painting 'Yirritja Narra flying fox dance' by George Milpurrurru, Milingimbi, 1966
  • L Richard Smith breastplate collection(20)

    Tommy, King of Connai
    Sambo [crossed out], King of Mount Morris, W.M. Hill
    Brandy Uanda
    Cobbler, King, Mogil Mogil

    This collection is comprised of seventeen Australian Indigenous breastplates (also known as king plates or gorgets). They come from a collection accumulated by L. Richard Smith, a noted collector of medals and porcelain. The breastplates are associated with Indigenous people from Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia. The breastplates are all metal, of varying size, and are generally crescent shaped. Each is inscribed with the recipient's name, and many include an associated region and an honorary title such as 'king', 'queen' or 'chief'.

    During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, government authorities and settlers gave breastplates to Indigenous people for a variety of reasons. They were used as a way of selecting and identifying local elders to act as intermediaries between settlers and local Indigenous people. They were also given out in recognition of service and/or assistance (for example to Aboriginal stockmen or for saving people from ship wrecks). As such, they are significant cross-cultural objects that document early interaction between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in different regions of Australia. They often record the names of Indigenous people, and the station or region with which they are associated; people who are not otherwise represented in historical records. The collection is also significant in expanding the geographical scope of the National Museum's existing breastplate collection.

  • Aboriginal Arts Board collection no. 2(561)

    'Carpet Snake Dreaming', painted by Toby Brown Tjampitjinpa, 1976
    Bark painting 'Head of Animal (Kangaroo)' by Yuwunyuwun Marruwarr, Gunbalanya, 1974
    'Mala and the bad uncles at Tjikarri', painted by Johnny Warangula Tjupurrula, 1976
    Wooden container, painted on both sides with red ochre by Daisy Leura Nakamara, 1980
  • Dr Herbert Basedow collection(424)

    Glass plate negative - The old battery,  Arltunga, Northern Territory, photographed by Herbert Basedow, 1923
    Glass plate negative - Men catching a horse, Innamincka station, South Australia, photographed by Herbert Basedow, 1919
    Film negative - Smithy at Mt. Davies camp, Tomkinson Ranges, South Australia, photographed by Herbert Basedow, 1903
    Glass plate negative - Balami and his wife Indamun, Western Australia, photographed by Herbert Basedow, 1916
  • American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land (AASEAL) collection(218)

    Weapon - Spear
    Sculpture - wood
    Woven pandanus fibre armband, pigmented in stripes
    Men Dancing at a Ceremony
  • Margot Child collection(1215)

    Wedding invitation
    Card expressing good wishes
    Card of appreciation
    Description of wedding
  • Warakurna Tjanpi collection no.2(5)

    Helicopter (Flat Chopper) by Polly Pawuya Jackson
    Y'iwarra Kultu Warakurnala Kutu (The Road to Warakurna) by Jean Burke
    Yilkaringkatjanyayi Pitja (Has the Plane Come?) by Dianne Ungukalpi Golding
    Untitled basket by Nancy Nyanyarna Jackson