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National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer



  • Helen Eager and Christopher Hodges collection no. 2(43)

    Awelye- panel 2 by Gloria Petyarre
    Awelye painting by June Bird
    Untitled painting by Ada Bird Petyarre
    Awelye by Gloria Petyarre

    This collection consists of works made during the 1990s by artists at the Ngkawenyerre camp in the Utopia homelands, NT. They are varied in size and media, and in good condition. All works refer to aspects of the 'Awelye' ceremony and feature women's body paint designs. The associated ceremonies are an integral part of community life and the 'Awelye' is performed by women to ensure the fertility of the land, spiritual and physical well being and social harmony.

    Aboriginal people of the Utopia region have a strong tradition of mark making in a range of media and their work is well represented in museum and art gallery collections in Australia and overseas. These works, collected in the 1990s, are seminal examples that represent the early transference of ceremonial design from traditional forms and methods of painting to portable two dimensional surfaces for outside audiences. They are historically significant examples of the use of introduced tools and materials such as acrylic paint on canvas and papier mache and wire. The papier mache figures were an experimental form, of which few examples now exist.

  • Papuan Official collection(1043)

    Shell money
    Cane cuirass
    Shell money
    Canoe paddle
  • Warakurna History Paintings collection(33)

    The Army Plane that came to Warburton by Eunice Yunurupa Porter
    Tjamu Tjukurrpa by Cecily Winiragu Yates
    Mission Time by Anna Porter
    Warakurna Roadhouse by Roshanna Yinga Williamson

    This collection consists of thirty-three paintings produced by Warakurna Artists for a collaborative commercial exhibition with the Outstation Gallery in Darwin. The exhibition, 'History Paintings - All the Stories got into our minds and eyes', opened in May 2011.

    The collection is significant as a broad and comprehensive body of work that presents a series of (related) Aboriginal perspectives on events in Australian history, some of which fundamentally challenge other accounts in the historical record. The collection documents the historical perspective of Ngaanyatjarra people who currently reside in the community of Warakurna. Contextualised by more customary mythic narratives, most of the works address historical events and provide an insight into the Aboriginal experience of contact on the colonial frontier. Taken together, from the Seven Sisters Dreaming to football carnivals in Warakurna today, the collection encompasses 100 years (and more) of history in the Ngaanyatjarra lands.

  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7551)

    The Government Viticultural College at Rutherglan, Victoria
    Christmas Joys be Thine
    Lassetter's The Leading Universal Providers, Sydney - Sydney Harbour
    The War Memorial, North Terrace and the Hills, Adelaide, SA
  • Springfield - Faithfull Family collection(3501)

    Pencil sketch depicting a church
    Gold pocket watch presented to William Faithfull by Joseph Foveaux in 1801
    Pencil sketch depicting a cliff with a ruined castle
    Envelope addressed to Mrs A. I. Maple Brown

    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.

  • Tony Shibasaki collection(2)

    Carved pearlshell pendant that resembles a dhari headdress with a drum below it
    Carved pearlshell pendant that resembles a dhari headdress with a morning star in the middle

    The 'Tony Shibasaki Collection' of pearlshell carvings from Mr Tony Shibasaki are from Thursday Island in the Torres Strait. The pearlshell carvings illustrates the contemporary expression of Torres Strait Islander culture. It also represents the diversity of the pearlshell industry thoughout the Torres Strait with the boom in the 1920s and decline during the 1960s.

    The Morning Star carving represents the iconic sysmbolism of the Torres Strait Islander Dhari (headdress) unifying the people of the Torres Strait Islands. The Dhari was traditionally worn by men during warfare and today is worn for dancing and ceremony. The Morning Star (or 5-pointed star) represents the five island groups in the Torres Strait. The Dhari carving with drum connected on the bottom shows the diverse style of headdress in the Torres Strait. The drum is symbolic of dance and ceremony and used as a musical instrument. These two works reveal the cultural expression of contemporary forms through the medium of carving.

  • Dr Herbert Basedow collection(424)

    Film negative - Travelling in Nullabor station Ford truck, South Australia or Western Australia, photographed by Herbert Basedow, 1920
    Glass plate negative - Lionel Gee with unnamed man, Northern Territory, photographed by Herbert Basedow, 1905
    Film negative - Aboriginal children bathing, Sunday Island, Western Australia, photographed by Herbert Basedow, 1916
  • Christies Auction collection(172)

    Pages 33 to 36 of the copy of the Jerilderie Letter, which was originally composed by Ned Kelly
    Book titled 'The Voyage of Governor Phillip to Botany Bay', 1789.
    Envelope for a copy of the Jerilderie Letter, which was originally written by Ned Kelly
    Pages 5 to 8 of the copy of the Jerilderie Letter, which was originally composed by Ned Kelly