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National Museum of Australia

Collection Explorer



  • Dr Helen M Wurm collection no. 4(75)

    Painting depicts a large shark & lizard
    Painting is divided into 8 sections with 4 birds & 4 lizards
    Bark painting 'The Djanggawul in Djabu mada [language] territory' by Mutitjpuy Mununjgurr, Yirrkala, 1967
    Bark painting 'Death and Mortuary Rites' by Mathaman Marika, Yirrkala, 1967
  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7553)

    The Blue Mts The Bluffs Mt Victoria
    Wellington, NZ - Jervois Quay
    Mine shaft
    Bronte Beach
  • Margot Child collection(1215)

    Wedding invitation
    Transcription of Hobart Monument
  • Nettie McColive collection(189)


    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.

  • George W Barber collection(47)

    Discussion Poster No.15 - The Menace of Inflation -  August 9, 1948
    Discussion poster No.61 - Can we develop our empty north? - May 15, 1950
    Discussion Poster No.21 - Where Your Taxes Go - November 1, 1948
    Discussion poster No.20 - Fuel and Power plans - October 18, 1948'

    This collection consists of forty-six colour paper wall posters and one A5 paperback booklet, 'This Changing World: An Atlas of Current Events - No. 1: The Pacific', issued by the Commonwealth Office of Education between 1948 and 1950. The heavily-illustrated posters present simplified viewpoints about world and national events and were designed for group discussion in schools, adult education organisations, community organisations and private enterprise. The booklet is a ready reference to post-war social, political, economic and geographic data on nations in the Asia-Pacific region and Antarctica. The objects were salvaged from the Maryborough Technical School, Victoria, which provided classes for ex-service personnel under the Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme (1944-1950) as well as general vocational training.

    The Commonwealth Office of Education was created in 1945 under the Chifley Government as an agency of the Department of Post-War Reconstruction. The posters and booklet provide insight into a society undergoing profound change and embody official efforts to explain Australians' socio-economic and political position. Imaging an increasingly independent Australia forging a new role in the global and regional community, the collection documents the nation's industrial expansion and social restructuring at a time of full employment, a booming population and an increasingly sophisticated urban society. It also represents the Chifley Government's drive to stimulate post-war intellectual life and to reassert the concepts of democracy, egalitarianism and social justice. The posters additionally demonstrate contemporary ideas and techniques in pedagogy and graphic design.

  • Timothy Millett collection(314)

    Convict love token captioned
    Convict love token from W. Palmer
    Convict love token from Josh Smale, 1834
    Convict love token from J.M., 1838

    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.

  • Union of Australian Women collection(247)

    Poster promoting a peace march in 1986 for the international year of peace.

    Don't mix stars with wars


  • Robert Gillen collection(1)

    Sketchbook containing 23 sketches depicting camp life during the Spencer and Gillen expedition to the Gulf of Carpentaria in 1901