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National Museum of Australia

Collection Explorer



  • Springfield - Faithfull Family collection(3501)

    Pencil sketch depicting the ruins of a church
    Page three of Jim Maple Brown's speech at his wedding
    Christmas card with message from Governor-General William Slim, 1959

    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.

  • Ben Chifley collection no. 3(53)

    Six letters to Mrs Chifley
    Bushfire Appeal
    Bathurst Eisteddfod Society
    Australian Red Cross Society

    The objects in the Ben Chifley Collection refer to the lives of Ben and Elizabeth Chifley, primarily from the Chifleys' days as Prime Minister and Prime Minister's wife, but stretching beyond Ben's death in 1951 until Elizabeth's death in 1962. Significant objects include a letter of condolence to Elizabeth Chifley from Elsie Curtin (former PM John Curtin's wife) on the death of Ben Chifley (above), photos of Chifley as a young boy and a bible on which Chifley was sworn in as minister in the short-lived Scullin government of 1931.

    Joseph Benedict Chifley was Australia's sixteenth Prime Minister, leading the Australian government between 1945 and 1949. This period was one of particular importance in Australian history, being the time during which many of the contours of post-War Australian social and economic development were established. Chifley also articulated the values of the reforming Labor Party in his "Light on the Hill" speech of 1949. However, the election of December that year saw the beginning of a drastic re-alignment of political allegiances in voting behaviour, leading to over twenty years of conservative dominance in Australian politics. An understanding of Ben Chifley, in both his private and public guises, illustrates much about this crucial era in post-War Australian history.

  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7553)

    Old Government House, Parramatta Park, N.S.W
    Model showing infantry action, Dernancourt, France, 1918
    58 - Nouvelle - Caledonie - Caledonienne Toubo [a woman from New Caledonia]
    G. Landsdown's 'Display' Eight Hour Day / Goulburn 19-10-08
  • Timothy Millett collection(314)

    Convict love token from Issac Farrow, 1841
    Convict love token from J. Gollar, 1837
    Convict love token from D. Fleming, 1834
    Convict love token from John Giddens

    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.

  • Canning Stock Route collection(124)

    'Purlpa' by Dadda Samson, 2007
    Fibre basket by Janice Nixon, 2008
    'Warla' by Billy Thomas, 2008
    'Kiriwirri' by Jan Billycan, 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..

  • Florence Gaby collection(34)

    Round coiled woven basket and coasters
    Coiled basket
    Ivory and amber-coloured armband made from two pieces of curved shell attached at their tapered end
    Conical basket

    The Florence Gaby collection comprises thirty-four objects from Australia and Melanesia. It includes weapons from south eastern and central Australia, and basket-ware, sculptures, weapons and sacred objects from Goulburn Island. Two sculptures are possibly from south eastern or southern central Australia. The Melanesian collection comprises lime gourds, body ornaments, a bone dagger and scraper and the dried skin of a puffer fish. Nurse Florence Gaby's was appointed to Fiji in May 1939 and she was on the staff of the Ba Hospital for Indian women and children when she retired in June 1945. Her life and work within the Methodist Overseas Missions included service on Goulburn Island in the 1940s.

    The strength of the collection lies in its connection to Australian Missionary Societies and the nature and diversity of their work with Indigenous people. The National Museum has strong collections, mostly early twentieth century, representing Missionaries and Australian Government officials living and working with Indigenous people in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Western Polynesian. The Florence Gaby Melanesian material will complement these collections as little has been added in the past few decades.

  • Tony Hill collection no. 4(11)

    A folder for a letter
    Letter from Stephen White to his son George, 1860
    Letter from Stephen White to his sons, 1862
    An envelope
  • Alex and Paddy Stitt collection(14)

    Life. Be in it. Exercisements
    Life. Be in it comic strip featuring Norm, 902
    Life Games
    Life. Be in it comic strip featuring Norm, 904

    The Alex and Stitt collection comprises a number of objects relating to the Life. Be In It public health campaign of the late 1970s and 1980s. In the collection are one T-shirt bearing the Life. Be In It logo, worn by Alex Stitt, the animator of the original Life. Be In It campaign, T-shirt bearing the Life. Be In It logo, produced in association with World Cricket series, three original Norm comic strips, drawn by Alex Stitt, seven Life. Be In It posters promoting exercise and a healthy life, one Life. Be In It book describing games to play, one Life. Be In It book titled 'Walkies' detailing walks in Victoria where pets can be taken.

    The Life. Be In It public health campaign was initiated by the Victorian state government in 1975 and then taken up by the Federal government in 1978 and introduced throughout Australia. Life. Be In It aimed to educate the Australian public about exercise in a fun and non-threatening manner, making it part of everyday routine. The campaign was developed by the advertising group Monahan Dayman Adams and promoted through community announcements on television, cartoons in newspapers and also through community groups. Life. Be In It achieved a 94% recognition rate in 1984 and represents and important collaboration between government an advertising in creating awareness about the importance of public health.