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National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer



  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7550)

    Parramatta as it was 100 years ago
    Postcard featuring racehorse - Gladsome
    Newspaper Vouchers - Final Notice
    Palm Beach NSW
  • Springfield - Faithfull Family collection(3499)

    Word game about cats and dogs
    The Explorer's Tree Katoomba.
    Chemin de fer Glion - Rochers de Naye.  Altitude 2044 metres.
    Ford Abbey, Oakhampton, Devon

    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.

  • Aboriginal Arts Board collection no. 2(573)

    Painting depicts Namarrkon, the Lightning Spirit and dancing mimi spirits by Jimmy Nakkurridjdjilmi Nganjmirra of Gunbalanya, 1970
    Bark painting 'Two fish' by Bardayal Nadjamerrek, Gunbalanya, 1974
    Glazed ceramic bowl with a narrow base
  • Judith Samson collection(1)

    'Footprints on the Rabbit Proof Fence' by Judith Samson (Anya)
  • Noelle Sandwith collection no. 1(111)

    Aboriginal encampment, East Moree. August, 1952
    Said Goolamadeen, retired camel driver, Marree, S.A. February, 1953
    Keera blacksmith. September, 1952
    Shearing shed, Keera, N.S.W. September, 1952

    A collection of 101 sketches drawn in 1952-53 by Noelle Sandwith, an English artist visiting Australia who was intent on drawing 'unusual subjects' and set her sights on the Australian outback. A wide variety of groups and people within the Australian community are examined through the sketches. These include Aboriginal people and their involvement in missions, life on the outskirts of town, incarceration and the role of the Protectorate. Post-war immigration is represented through the involvement of Greeks and Italians running cafes in small country towns. Community groups representing rural and outback people such as the Australian Inland Mission, Salvation Army, Country Women's Association and the Flying Doctor's Service also rate a significant mention. Other issues and people who are explored include Afghan cameleers, social events such as rodeos and drinking, life in the shearing shed and the role of the local police to name a few.
    On the recommendation of the Australian Inland Mission, Ms Sandwith set out for south-western Queensland and down the Birdsville track to Marree in South Australia. She undertook this journey on her own, allowing her the freedom to travel where she wanted and to record the lives of people in the outback as she viewed it. Great changes occurred in Australia in the 1950s. Society changed relatively quickly with the influx of immigrants following WWII. Policies of assimilation were at their height and this extended to both the indigenous people of Australia and the newest groups of immigrants. This period of contact between the various sectors of the Australian community is one which of great interest to us today. The sketches provide a view of outback society at this time and chronicle the relationships between various groups and people. There was great interest in the treatment of Australia's Indigenous inhabitants during this period. The sketches provide a personal view of the perceptions of European people towards Aboriginal people. Several of the sketches slip into caricature when dealing with Aboriginal people and this also provides us with Sandwith's view. Several poignant comments are made regarding the lifestyle and expectations of Aboriginal people. Whilst these seem dated now, they are powerful reminders of the attitudes which prevailed at the time of sketching.

  • Daisy Bates and Herbert Browne collection(12)

    Asymmetrical brown boomerang
    Shield with incised and pigmented zig zag pattern
    Asymmetrical brown boomerang
    Spearthrower with carvings and fibre on hand grip

    The Daisy Bates - Herbert Browne collection consists of twelve Indigenous objects which belonged to Herbert Browne. Browne acquired a collection of objects from Daisy Bates while she was living at Ooldea in the 1920s and 1930s. The collection is comprised of eight boomerangs, two spearthrowers, a shield with a painted and incised design and an adze with a stone flake mounted in resin. Four of the boomerangs are small and light, typical of so-called 'returning' boomerangs, the other four are larger and heavier, typical of the hunting and fighting boomerangs of inland regions. One of the spearthrowers is plain, the other incised and has pigment staining consistent with use as a palette.

    Daisy Bates and her relationship with Aboriginal people in Western Australia and at Ooldea are an important part of Australia's history of settler-Indigenous relations during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. These objects are significant for their link to the story of Bates and her sojourn in Ooldea. Their links to Herbert Browne also make them significant for understanding the history of the theatre in Australia during the early twentieth century, and the way in which theatre moved around the country. These objects are also significant for demonstrating the economics of material culture and artefact manufacture at Ooldea and the early development of Aboriginal arts and tourism industries in Australia.

  • National Sports Information Centre collection(37)

    Black and white photograph of US swimmer Lucy Freeman
    Black and white photograph of US swimmer Olga Dorfner
    Black and white photograph of Australian swimmers Fanny Durack and Mia Wylie with British swimmer Jennie Fletcher
    Black and white photograph of women's swimming team, possibly Ella Smith, c.1920s
  • James Sprent collection(7)

    Box for engineering documents
    Ruler belonging to James Sprent
    Map of Tasmania by James Sprent
    University of Glasgow Private Humanity Clasf [sic]

    The James Sprent collection comprises a large and very early map (1859) of Tasmania, a sealed parchment manuscript contained in a zinc document case (Sprent's degree certificate), a Reeves parallel ruler, three small certificates for short courses at the University of Glasgow dated 1822-23 and a wooden box. The objects relate to James Sprent's distinguished career as a surveyor in Van Diemen's Land from 1830 until his death in 1863.

    During the first 50 years of settlement in Van Diemen's Land, the production of maps was haphazard. Increasing disputes over property boundaries were causing friction between landholders and so the government recognised the need for an accurate map. In 1833, Assistant Surveyor James Sprent embarked on an ambitious task to produce a trigonometrical survey of the whole island. The survey took over 20 years to be completed and the results were used to produce the first precise map of the colony. Sprent was the first surveyor in Van Diemen's Land with formal qualifications; he initiated
    the first steps towards the founding of a professional body for the recognition of the professional standards for surveyors in Australia. In 1858, he was the first civilian appointed to the position of Surveyor-General. This marked a major change in the philosophy of governing the colony with a move away from an expensive military presence.