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National Museum of Australia

Collection Explorer



  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Art (ATSIAA) collection(2104)

    Morning Star by David Malangi
    Fish scoop
    Painting by Gordon Syron - Left side of tryptic
    Girl Shattered

    The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Art collection comprises 2050 artworks and other objects. The artworks - which numerically dominate the collection - were produced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities throughout Australia. The accumulation of these artworks into a single collection has resulted from the choices and selections made during a 38 year period by a variety of staff working for the Council for Aboriginal Affairs (CAA), the Department of Aboriginal Affairs (DAA), the Aboriginal Development Commission (ADC) and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) at the national, regional and local levels.

    The collection spans the years following the 1967 referendum, when dramatic changes in the governance of Aboriginal people took place, up to 2005 when the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission was dissolved. It provides a snapshot of the diversity and changes in Indigenous art and its representation which occurred during the period of its formation. The small number of 'non-art' objects in the collection is also significant in providing insights into the working of the various Commonwealth bodies involved in Indigenous affairs. As well as the significance of many of the individual pieces, the collection is also significant as a whole, as a complex artefact stemming from Australia's history of governance of Australian Indigenous peoples.

  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7553)

    King William Street North Adelaide, SA
    Little Miss Muffit
    Watson's Bay, Sydney
    Bonny Mary of Argyle
  • Les Robertson collection(52)

    Certificate of Honour awarded by the Commonwealth of Australia to Lesley Robertson for Services Rendered in Connection with the Sale of War Savings Certificates, 1919
    Department of Education certificate issued to Lesley Robertson to certify that he passed composing theory examinations from 1921-1923
    Certificate of merit awarded by the Victorian Education Department to Lesley Robertson on 19 November 1918

    Composing rule

  • Springfield Merino Stud collection(166)

    First Prize card awarded at the Murrumbidgee Annual Show, 1887
    Certificate awarded at the Murrumbidgee Annual Show, 1889, Special Prize
    Second Prize card awarded at the Murrumbidgee Annual Show, Wagga Wagga, 1889
  • Leo Murphy collection(4)

    REGA brand pneumatic kerosene tank used with a burner to heat cattle branding irons, used on Idracowra Station, NT
    Knife used to castrate cattle
    Branding iron of soft iron with
    Branding iron of soft iron with
  • Pfrunder Women collection(6)

    Manuscript journal 'Oct 11th 1912, Baden Journal', written by the Pfrunder sisters
    Manuscript journal 'Christmas Number, Baden Journal, Dec 11 1912', written by the Pfrunder sisters
    Manuscript journal 'Nov 11th, Baden Journal', written by the Pfrunder sisters
    Manuscript journal 'Febuary [sic] 1913, Baden Journal, 5th Number', written by the Pfrunder sisters

    This collection consists of six manuscript journals kept by daughters of the Pfrunder family in around 1912-1913. Although the journals were part of a longer series kept by the girls, family tradition associates them with the period when the girls' parents travelled to Germany before the First World War. Their father, Johannes Adolph Pfrunder, a German-born Swiss, took their mother there for a medical procedure. Pfrunder came to Australia in 1880, married, raised a large family and established a farm called Baden, near Grong Grong in rural New South Wales. Adolph is said to have charged the girls with having something to show for the time they were alone and encouraged them to maintain these journals, which they may have begun before their parents left Australia. Each manuscript is called a 'Baden Journal' and is filled with coloured illustrations, poems, tongue-twisters, letters and stories. The girls have contributed to the journals under pen-names and acknowledged their sources.

    The journals give a rich insight into the girls' worldviews and the books that captured their imaginations. They also show how the girls' heritage informed this outlook and what life was like for rural children prior to the First World War. In this way, the journals provide a snapshot of the lives of a Swiss-German Australian family on the eve of the First World War.

  • Gowans Auctions collection(2)

    Pardon for convict Mary Jones, issued by John Franklin on 15 May 1839
    Archive copy of a convict record of conduct for Mary Jones

    The Gowans Auctions Collection consists of Mary Jones' Conditional Pardon signed by John Franklin, 15 May 1839. Mary Jones was a nursery and housemaid by trade, sentenced at the age of 19 to fourteen (14) years transportation for stealing she departed London on the 11 May 1828 on board the ship Borneo, arriving in Hobart on the 8 October 1828.

    Over 12,000 women were transported to Van Diemen's Land between 1803 and 1853. The female convicts were typically sentenced to seven or fourteen years for petty crimes such as theft. In the colony, women were either assigned as domestic servants to free settlers or were incarcerated within Female Factories, a work house for convicts who were employed in such tasks as laundry and sewing. A Conditional Pardon remitted the remainder of a convict's sentence, on the condition that the person did not return to England. It was usually only given to convicts who had long sentences, such as fourteen years as in the case of Mary Jones.

  • Timothy Millett collection(314)

    Convict love token from J. Stoneham, 1823
    Convict love token from William Kennedy, 1832
    Convict love token from James Farley, 1834
    Convict love token from Robert Francis, 1848

    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.