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National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer



  • Timothy Millett collection(313)

    Convict love token from Thomas Smith, 1844
    Convict love token engraved with the names H. Hale and Mary Eater, 1794
    Convict love token from 1830
    Convict love token from W.R. McKay, 1835

    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.

  • Joe Ngallametta collection(9)

    Fire stick set
    Kang'khan Brothers story
    Fire stick
    Fire stick

    The Joe Ngallametta Collection is comprised of the following:
    * Three contemporary examples of the Taap Yongk (Law Poles), 1840
    * Two works of paintings with ochre and acrylic binder on Belgian linen
    * A fire-stick, made from wood, native-bee wax, palm leaf and giddy-beads.

    The Taap Yongk (Law Poles) and the paintings relate to a Story (ancestral beings) and a specific story place where the Story (called the Kang'khan Brothers) fought before going their separate ways. This is a major song cycle of the Wanam group with the specific story set at the Thuugu River (Holroyd River). Currently the National Historical Collection has one of the most significant collections of Wik material held in any national or international collection.

  • Warakurna Artists collection(1)

    Keeping Culture Strong - collaborative painting by Warakurna Artists, 2008

    The Warakurna Artists Collection consists of a women's collaborative painting titled "Keeping Culture Strong" produced at Warakurna in 2008 by Eunice Yunurupa Porter, Molly Malungka Yates, Judith Yinyika Chambers, Anna Porter, Maisie Nungarrayi Ward and Polly Pawuya Jackson.

    This collaborative work by artists from the Warakurna community proudly proclaims the coming into being of Warakurna Artists as a thriving Indigenous enterprise. The work documents art-making and its central relationship to governance and life within the community. The work is an early example of an emerging figurative style which differs from the traditional Tjukurrpa paintings for which Western Desert artists are better known. The emergence of this new painting style at Warakurna coincides with a broader suite of changes in the Western Desert. "Keeping Culture Strong" highlights the work of a generation of Warakurna women who grew up under mission and government authority, and their desire to tell their own stories in their own way.

  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7550)

    Double storey building with three female nurses and three other people standing on the upper storey veranda
    Operating Theatre, Lewisham Hospital
    Xmas Greetings & Good Luck
    Houses of Parliament, Macquarie Street, Sydney
  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 4(7)

    State, Municipal & Civil Luncheon at 1pm, Town Hall, Sydney, 7 January 1901
    The Commonwealth of Australia Inaugural Celebrations at Sydney under the direction of the government of New South Wales Official Programme
    State Banquet to Commemorate the Inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia, Town Hall, Sydney
    Menu for Commonwealth Inaugural Celebrations dinner, 8 January 1901
  • Alexander Mussen collection(33)

    Letter from Samuel Bromley to Thomas Mussen, November 16th 1864
    Letter from Joseph Sharpe to Thomas Mussen, November 14th 1864
    Letter from Samuel Bromley to Thomas Mussen, June 1865
    Letter from William Mussen to Alexander Mussen, September 1864

    The Alexander Mussen Collection consists of 3 sketches, one ambrotype portrait, newspaper clippings, 13 letters and a death certificate relating to Alexander Mussen, his time on the NSW goldfields and his death, in 1864, at the hand of bushrangers. Alexander Mussen was a young Canadian, the son of a well known merchant in Montreal. It seems he fell into some disrepute and debt in Canada and travelled to the NSW goldfields to both try his luck and redeem the family name.

    The gold rush in Australia had a major impact on society, culture, the environment and politics. The population increased dramatically, society became more diversified, colonial governments had to respond to the changes and the rest of the world became increasingly aware of Australia's wealth. The Mussen collection provides a personal and intimate insight into the practical workings of some New South Wales diggings, society more generally, law and order on the goldfields and the continuing connection between those who came to Australia and family left behind.

  • Maningrida Arts and Crafts 26/11/1973 collection(25)

    Bark painting depicts two saratoga fish
    Painting depicts a spirit in a round waterhole, humans and log coffin (or a fishtrap)
    Stingray (NGO-AIA).
    Painting depicts a large fish with a long narrow jaw
  • Springfield - Faithfull Family collection(3501)

    Exercises for Ladies to Improve and Perfect Beauty
    Envelope addressed to Mrs Maple-Brown, Springfield, Goulburn, NSW
    Black peaked jockey cap in silk satin
    Handwritten document titled 'The Old Maid's Thermometer'

    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.