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National Museum of Australia

Collection Explorer



  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7553)

    A view at Lorne, Vic
    Postcard featuring a sepia photograph of bush shanties and people boating on Wingecarribee River, Berrima, N.S.W.
    Cleveland Street School
    At the fountain
  • Margot Child collection(1215)

    Wedding invitation
    Card of appreciation
    Card expressing good wishes
  • MJ Brown collection(5)

    Hexagonal-shaped smoking pipe bowl, carved from dark wood used by Ben Chifley
    Smoking pipe mouthpiece used by Ben Chifley
    State Express Ready Rubbed Virginia Tobacco Ardath Fine Cut tobacco tin used by Ben Chifley
    Paper insert for tobacco tin used by Ben Chifley

    The M J Brown collection contains five objects related to former Australian Prime Minister, Joseph Benedict (Ben) Chifley (1885-1951). The collection includes a felt "squatter" style Akubra gardening hat, hexagonal wooden smoking pipe bowl, smoking pipe mouthpiece, State Express tobacco tin and detachable paper lining for tobacco tin. The items were donated for inclusion in the National Historical Collection by Queensland amateur historian, Mr Michael John Brown, who presented them to Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser at Lennon's Hotel, Brisbane, on 5th June, 1980.

    Ben Chifley, Australia's 16th Prime Minister, and one of Australia's best-known leaders, was born in Bathurst, NSW. Though his early years were ones of hardship, he went on to become AustraliaÂ?s youngest first-class locomotive driver, union delegate and worker's advocate. Elected to Parliament in 1928, he became Prime Minister following John Curtin's death in July 1945. Chifley's achievements include establishing the Snowy Mountains Scheme, the founding of ASIO, the Australian National University and Australia's post-war immigration program, the establishment of Trans-Australian Airways (TAA), as well as key social reforms including the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, the first Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement and the Commonwealth Employment Service. Chifley led the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party till his death in 1951,and remains an icon of the Australian Labor Party. The objects in this collection are a record of Chifley as most people knew him - a humble and "unpretentious" man, and an "average Australian bloke". Biographical sources reveal that Chifley seldom used his ministerial car, preferring instead to walk, and knew most staff by their first names. According to an interview with Chifley and his wife Elizabeth, conducted by the Australian Women's Weekly in 1945, gardening was among Chifley's favourite hobbies, although his duties in Canberra rarely allowed time for this activity, nor for relaxing with his trademark pipe and newspaper by the fire at his Bathurst home.

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

    Poster featuring a seated man making fire surrounded by hand made objects
    Bark painting 'Kindaagi the old red plains kangaroo' by Yirawala
    Photograph of a group of people holding a sign saying 'Black Control of Black Affairs'
    Bark painting 'Djang'Kawu Sisters at Gariyak' by Valerie Munininy 2

    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.

  • Olive Pink collection(77)

    Pigmented oval shield
    Head ornament
    Head ornament
    Head ornament
  • Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton collection no. 1(3)

    Dress worn by Lindy Chamberlain at Federal Court, 1983
    Dress worn by Lindy Chamberlain at the first inquest into the death of Azaria Chamberlain, 1980
    Dress worn by Lindy Chamberlain at the second inquest into the death of Azaria Chamberlain

    The Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton collection no. 1 contains items relating to events surrounding the death of Azaria Chamberlain. This includes items of clothing worn by Michael and Lindy Chamberlain, props from the film 'Evil Angels' and gifts sent to Lindy and other objects relating to her time in prison.

    The disappearance of Azaria Chantel Loren Chamberlain (11 June - 17 August 1980) has become one of the most infamous events in contemporary Australian history. The explanation of her disappearance, that she was prey to a dingo at Ayers Rock (now Uluru), was soon treated with suspicion by the general public. After two coronial inquests, Lindy Chamberlain was convicted of murder and imprisoned for over three years, until mounting evidence forced a royal commission that ultimately resulted in the exoneration of Lindy and Michael Chamberlain by the Supreme Court of Darwin. The National Museum holds the largest public collection of material culture relating to the case.

  • W Herbert and C Peters collection(52)

    Knitlock corner brickmaking machine designed and used by Walter Burley Griffin
    A corner knitlock brick still in its mould.
    Brick was made using the 'Knitlock' brickmaking machine
    Brick was made using the 'Knitlock' brickmaking machine
  • 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.