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National Museum of Australia

Collection Explorer

4

Collections

  • Alexander Mussen collection(33)

    Letter from William Mussen to Alexander Mussen, September 1864
    Letter from Samuel Bromley to Thomas Mussen, Jan 1867
    Letter from William Mussen to Alexander Mussen, May 1863
    Letter from Joseph Sharpe to William Mussen, March 1867

    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.

  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7551)

    Australian Aborigines Camp, NSW.
    Corra Lynn, North Esk River, near Launceston, Tasmania
    A bedroom with patchwork bedspread and curtains
    Commercial Bank, Blayney NSW
  • Elizabeth Kay collection no. 2(19)

    Dance card from the Seventh Annual Ball of the Commonwealth Forestry Bureau in 1933
    Scout jamboree service program from the Australian Jamboree on 30 December 1934
    Invitation to a Garden Party on 14 May 1937 to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth
    Photograph of Harry Hawker and his Sopwith aircraft at Caulfield Racecourse 1914

    The Elizabeth Kay Collection consists primarily of early Canberra tourist ephemera, dance cards and invitations for Canberra events during the 1930s, and a variety of other items dating from the 1920s and 1930s related to aviation, Boy Scouts, Commonwealth Railways and anthropological research. The material relates to Kay, her family and their interests.

    Mrs Kay (nee Moss) moved to Canberra in 1926, after completing her education in Melbourne, joining her father Mr HP Moss who had been working in the position of Chief Electrical Engineer in Canberra since 1912. The objects relating to aviation, the Commonwealth Railways and anthropological research came into Mrs Kay's possession through her father, who collected Aboriginal artefacts from a number of sites in the Canberra area. A program from the 1934 Australian Scout Jamboree Sunday service was given to Kay's brother, John Maxwell Moss, who attended the event. Kay's aunt, Hilda Maxwell (later Lyall) and eldest brother, James Maxwell Moss, are pirctured among the crowd watching Harry Hawker flying over Caulfield Racecourse in 1914. The invitations and dance cards for balls held at Old Parliament House and at the Forestry Commission during 1933, 1934 and 1936, relate directly to Mrs Kay and her husband, Cecil Kay, dating from before their marriage with 'Miss Elizabeth Moss' favoured for numerous dances on Mr Kay's dance cards. The Canberra tourist ephemera belonged to Cecil Kay and were likely purchased in 1932. The open letter written to Prince Edward of Wales on his Royal Tour in 1920 expressing the importance of patriotism towards the British Empire was given to Mrs Kay at her primary school in Melbourne.

  • Nettie McColive collection(189)

    Certificate
    Certificate
    Certificate
    Certificate

    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.

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

    Eddie Marbo, by C B Robinson.
    Bark painting of birds, fish and snakes
    A tea set with ATSIC logos
    Painting of a landscape

    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.

  • J Davidson collection no. 3(319)

    Dhuwa Ngarra  ceremonies.
    Painting depicts hollow logs, flying foxes and human figures
    Fire dreaming
    Painting depicts butterflies and human heads
  • Canning Stock Route collection(124)

    'Warla' by Billy Thomas, 2008
    'Lipuru, Kukupanyu and Wajaparni' by Kuji Rosie Goodjie, 2007
    'Minyipuru Claypan' by Bugai Whylouter, 2007
    'Blood on the Ground, Wells 33-41' by Clifford Brooks, 2007

    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..

  • Springfield - Faithfull Family collection(3501)

    Hand-drawn map of the original land ownership in the Springfield area
    Length of linen tape
    Cote D'Azur. Cueillette du Jasmin
    Clarice Anderson as a young girl.

    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.

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