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National Museum of Australia

Collection Explorer



  • Colledge Family collection(296)

    Invitation addressed to Mr and Mrs Burton for the wedding of Elizabeth Duffield and Howard Dossor, 1958
    GRANVILLE SHOW 1952, blue felt show pennant with gold-coloured block text
  • Neil Jensen collection(72)

    Weight and Centre of Gravity Schedule for G-AERD, 16 March 1980
    Letter from Percival Aircraft Co. to Mons. F. Dufaux
    Approved Certificate / Advice Note from British Aerospace re dispatch of spare parts
    Letter to Light Plane Services from the C.A.A.

    The Neil Jensen collection consists of a Percival Gull Six aircraft, G-AERD, and associated archive. Made by the Percival Aircraft Company at Gravesend in Kent, England, in 1936, this aircraft was first purchased by Ariane Dufaux of Switzerland and registered as HB-OFU. After passing through several owners in Switzerland, the aircraft was sold to a collector and restored by Cliff Lovell in England where it was featured on the air show circuit and registered as G-AERD. Neil Jensen purchased G-AERD in 1983, and while it was based in Redhill, Surrey it was awarded the Percival Trophy by the Cotswold Aircraft Restoration Group.

    Born in Albury, New South Wales, in 1897, Edgar Wikner Percival served in Europe and Egypt with the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War. Returning to Australia after the war, Percival operated a commercial aviation business while pursuing opportunities to design and manufacture new types of aircraft. In 1929, he travelled to England to work as a test pilot for the Bristol Aircraft Company, and in 1930 designed and manufactured the first low-wing cantilever monoplanes in the British Commonwealth. Percival formed the Percival Aircraft Company in 1932 and named the new aircraft series 'Gull'. Characterised by their graceful lines, the Gulls had light wooden frames covered with doped (lacquered) fabric and powerful four or six cylinder engines. PercivalÂ?s Gulls quickly established a reputation for high performance, with Percival designing racing versions named 'Mew Gulls', which won acclaim in the Kings Cup Air Race.

  • Torrens Island Quarantine Station collection(203)

    Timber rat trap
    Commonwealth quarantine station flag
    Bundle of 10 round metal identity tags imprinted with individual numbers

    The South Australian Government established a quarantine station on Torrens Island in 1877 (although there had been a quarantine camp on the island since 1855). It operated as a quarantine station for humans to 1980 and for animals to the mid 1990s. The last large group of people to be isolated at the Torrens Island Quarantine Station were the passengers and crew of the P&O liner Straithaird in 1954.

    For over a century the Torrens Island Quarantine Station endeavoured to protect the population of South Australia from yellow fever, cholera, plague, smallpox, typhus fever, leprosy and influenza. In 1911-12 the Commonwealth government took over the management of the quarantine station and greater cooperation and coordination with other stations around the nation was achieved. The Torrens Island Quarantine Station collection contains objects from most of the phases ofthe quarantine process employed at Torrens Island Quarantine Station during the middle decades of this century.

    Most of the collection dates from the period beginning with the influenza epidemic that followed the Great War (1914-1918) and was used through to the end of post World War migration in the 1960s. Two obvious 19th century exceptions to this are the book Mayhew's German Life dated 1864 (seven years before the creation of the German nation) and a mid 19th century government issue bed believed to have come from the Port Arthur penal establishment in Tasmania. The closure of Port Arthur and the establishment of Torrens Island Quarantine Station were barely 12 months apart and it is possible that government stores were transferred from Port Arthur for use at Torrens Island Quarantine Station.

    The number and comprehensive range of objects in the collection allow a wide range of possibilities for interpreting the collection and for displaying aspects of the role of quarantine stations in Australia and the experiences of those who passed through them as inmates and as quarantine staff.

    The collection includes objects from management of the arrival of the suspect vessel and its passengers, crew and cargo; from the fumigation process; from the accommodation and treatment of both sick and healthy people undergoing quarantine; and from the general administration of the station, its hospital and equipment.

  • Timothy Millett collection(314)

    Convict love token from Maria Hunt, 1848
    Convict love token engraved with the initials H.D. and S.S.
    Convict love token from C. Perkins., 1843
    Convict love token from G. Holt, 1822

    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.

  • Springfield - Faithfull Family collection(3501)

    Springfield Garden - gravel path and garden with female figure on path in the background
    Children's sports Empire day 1908
    Names and wages

    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.

  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7553)

    Arrival of Part of Wirth's Circus at Ipswich
    P.J. McGann's Phegans' Estate, Woy Woy
    Barren Jack looking downstream from Contractors Tramline
    High Beam Trade-mark Gas fire
  • Embroiderers' Guilds of Australia collection(138)

    Newspaper clipping and three handwritten notes
    Photocopy of technical diagrams for installation and display of Parliament House Embroidery, front elevation
    Handwritten note found with sampler in folder
    Handwritten note found with sampler in folder

    This collection of fabric samples, stranded wools and cottons, samplers, seams, design cartoons and transfer material, mounts, needlework equipment, notes and photographs details the process of the making of the Parliament House Embroidery by members of the embroiderers' guilds of all eight States and Territories.

    The Parliament House Embroidery was created in a community gesture as a gift to the nation, one of many such initiatives around the time of the Bicentenary of European settlement in Australia. However, the scale of the embroidery was without precedence in Australia and the process of its making could be considered a historic event. The collection documents the extent of research, practice, experimentation and discussion undertaken by the highly skilled and imaginative needlewomen - all of whom were volunteers - as they evaluated materials and explored techniques to best interpret designer Kay Lawrence's painted cartoon. In charting the realisation of the Parliament House Embroidery, and its own concepts of national identity and relationships to land, the collection also provides opportunities for discussions of the art/craft debate, women's creative expression, collaborative and community art, and the nature of volunteering in Australia.The collection is additionally invaluable in documenting the evolution of a traditional craft practice into an art form in twentieth-century Australia.

  • Neville Locker collection(29)

    Black leather lash with wooden handle
    Convict leg irons
    British Pattern 1842 .75 smooth bore percussion musket used by the 12th Foot (East Suffolk Regiment)
    British Pattern 1842 .75 smooth bore percussion musket used by the 12th Foot (East Suffolk Regiment) with bayonet

    This collection comprises objects relating to the colonial period of Australian history, particularly the convict era, the gold rush, and nineteenth-century policing. They include a record of punishments meted out to the inmates of the Point Puer Boys' Prison, the Empire's first juvenile detention centre; a waistcoat worn by a convict assigned to work at a Hobart inn; a bullion box used to transport gold from the diggings to the Sydney Mint; a musket belonging to a soldier of a regiment deployed to quell miners at the Eureka Stockade and Lambing Flat riots; and a spring gun of the kind used to kill thylacines (Tasmanian tigers).

    These and the other objects in this collection help to tell stories of the development of wider colonial and post-colonial Australian society, including the emergence of Australia's financial sector, transport networks, representational structures and police services. The convict-era objects also help chart how successive systems of discipline, influenced by the latest concepts in penal reform, transformed the convict experience over the years. The collection documents the changing way in which Australians and others regard this nation's convict heritage, and how this heritage has been represented in museums and the media. It also demonstrates the often misguided approaches used by settlers to manage Australia's natural heritage.