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National Museum of Australia

Collection Explorer



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

    Bark painting 'Kindaagi the old red plains kangaroo' by Yirawala
    Letter from Reserve Bank to ATSIC
    Fish scoop
    Dot painting depicting three cross shapes

    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.

  • Joan Richmond collection(50)

    Envelope to Mrs John Richmond
    Letter with envelope from Joan Richmond - Darwin
    Letter with envelope from Joan Richmond - India
    Letter and envelope from Joan Richmond - Baghdad

    The Joan Richmond collection consists of items related to the motor racing career of Joan Richmond. These include a racing suit, goggles, a trophy, number plates, a personal journal, letters, photographs and newspaper clippings.

    Joan Richmond (1905-1999) was a successful racing car driver at a time when women racing drivers were not only a rarity, but competed in the same events as men. Richmond's first major event was the 1931 Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island in which she drove a Riley and placed a creditable fifth. Shortly after, Richmond and four friends embarked on an overland journey from Australia to Europe in order to compete in the Monte Carlo rally. This journey is credited as the first international overland tour to have originated from Australia. Following the group's successful completion of the rally, Victor Riley offerd to sponsor Richmond and in 1932, she supported the English racing car driver, Elsie Wisdom, to win the 1000 Mile Race at Brooklands. Throughout the 1930s, Richmond stayed in England and competed in more motor racing events, including several Monte Carlo rallies and the Le Mans 24 Hour race. She returned to Australia in the 1940s but was unable to continue her motor racing career due to a lack of money and sponsorship. Joan Richmond died in Melbourne in 1999.

  • Petronella Wensing collection no. 1(229)

    Certificate of naturalisation for Michael Victor Wensing
    Pattern for knitting machine
    Oil painting of Mount Ainslie viewed from Russell Hill, Canberra, 1955
    Envelope addressed to Petronella Wensing
  • Winifred Hilliard collection no. 3(185)

    Winifred Hilliiard and Nyukana (Daisy) Baker standing in front of plane.
    Small wooden animal carving next to a brass coin
    Two people looking at various drawings and paintings
    Uluru with blue skies in background and several parked 4WD's on dirt road
  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7553)

    Parliament House, Canberra
    Botanical Gardens, Sydney
    The Butcher
    QSL card for VK-2-10
  • E Milne collection(652)

    Top grinding stone [stone implement]
    Aboriginal breastplate for Jemmy, King of Bolara Maneroo
    Aboriginal breastplate for Joey, Chief of Petraman
    Aboriginal breastplate for 'King John Cry, Chief of the Duedolgong Tribe, Argyle'
  • Ben Chifley collection no. 3(53)

    St Stephen's Women's Guild fete
    Six documents, and a lace sample
    Presbyterian Church
    Seven Christmas note cards and four envelopes from Mrs Laura Wilkins to Mrs Elizabeth Chifley

    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.

  • Ted Pritchard collection no. 1(1)

    Hand-crafted model steam 'donkey' engine on a blue painted wooden board base

    The Ted Pritchard Collection comprises one model steam-powered engine. It was made by Arnold Pritchard for his two sons in 1945/46.

    This model steam-powered engine is a material representation of Ted Pritchard's lifelong passion for steam-power. At age 16, shortly after his father built the model, Ted purchased a Stanley Steamer motor vehicle, which he and his father restored to working condition. In the course of his almost 60 years work as a mechanical engineer Ted designed, built and demonstrated several revolutionary multi-fuel steam engines. Most notably, he and his father built a steam-powered engine that was suitable for use in mobile applications. The engine was first road-tested in a Chevrolet truck and is now in the National Historical Collection.