page loading
Menu toggle

National Museum of Australia

Collection Explorer



  • Nettie McColive collection(189)

    Patchwork quilt formed in a mosaic pattern of squares and pentagons

    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.

  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7553)

    Kingsclere. Greenknowe Ave, Potts Point
    Postcard featuring a printed pen and ink drawing of  (soldier's) feet clustering around the central ridge pole of a large bell tent
    Melba Falls, Lorne
  • Canning Stock Route collection(124)

    'Kiriwirri' by Jan Billycan, 2008
    'Lake Disappointment' by Yanjimi Peter Rowlands, 2008
    'Puntawarri, Jilakurru and Kumpupirntily' by Dadda Samson and Judith Samson, 2008
    Majarrka shield by Yanpiyarti Ned Cox, 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..

  • Aboriginal Arts Board collection no. 2(561)

    Ceramic glazed vessel tapering to a long narrow neck with a pouring lip and a handle
    The Two Women Dreaming by Shorty Lungkarta Tjungurrayi 1974-75
    Painting depicts five animal figures
  • Springfield - Faithfull Family collection(3501)

    Cream-coloured dance program titled
    Greetings from Yass
    The Tourist.

    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.

  • Irrigation (Deniliquin and Tatura) collection(12)

    Water order card
    Reg Dunn's pushbike
    Flow calculator - Billabong offtake flow calculation
    Flow calculator

    The Irrigation (Deniliquin and Tatura) Collection consists of a range of objects relating to the practice of irrigation in the areas of Deniliquin (NSW) and Tatura (Vic).

    Australia is the driest inhabited continent. In the face of this environment, Australia has developed agricultural production through utilising limited water resources via irrigation and other schemes. Irrigation accounts for 25-30 per cent of Australia's gross value of agricultural output. The collection objects are all from the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB), and the MDB accounts for 71.1 per cent of Australia's irrigated crops and pastures. About 74 per cent of all water used in Australia is for irrigation. The collection illustrates a number of significant aspects of the irrigation industry and the distribution and use of water in irrigation areas. It also reflects changes that have occurred and are continuing to occur in an industry which represents a major slice of Australian agriculture and food production. Some of the processes and activities represented by the objects are now redundant or obsolete, and the objects help to capture a significant time period in Australia's irrigation history which has now passed. Water is one of the biggest issues facing Australia, and problems like salinity (which irrigation has in part contributed to) are major concerns. How to sustain agricultural production based on irrigation is a challenge for Australians.

  • Camberwell Trash and Treasure Market collection(16)

    Stereo photograph depicting the Swearing in Pavilion, Commonwealth Celebrations, Sydney, 1901

    Stereo photograph depicting the Landing Pavilion, Duke of York Celebrations, Sydney, 1901

    Stereo photograph depicting the German Arch, Commonwealth Celebrations, Sydney, 1901

    Stereo photograph depicting the Children's Fete, Cadets doing Exercises, Duke of York Celebrat...

  • Adrian Quist collection(2)

    Note from Adrian Quist to Mr Hart regarding the auction of Quist's tennis racket
    Adrian Quist's Wimbledon doubles final tennis racquet 1950

    The Adrian Quist Collection comprises a Dunlop tennis racquet used by Quist to win the Wimbledon Doubles Championship in 1950 and a handwritten note establishing the racquet's provenance.

    Adrian Quist was one of Australia's finest doubles players, winning the Australian doubles title for ten consecutive years (with a break during the Second World War), as well as the Wimbledon doubles title twice, once before the war (1938) and once after (1950). He also played in a record 28 Davis Cup ties for Australia and won 42 of his 54 matches. Quist regarded the Wimbledon win of 1950 as a highlight of his career due to the length of time that had elapsed since he first won the title, his age at the time (38) and the strong field of competition. This Dunlop Maxply tennis racquet also illustrates the relationship between Quist and the Dunlop Company throughout his career. It was common in the days of amateurism for top sportspeople to work for a sports related company, and Quist's relationship with and contribution to the Dunlop Company illustrates this trend. Quist also contributed to Australian culture through his introduction of the 'herringbone sole' to the Dunlop Volley shoe. This is still Australia's biggest selling sports shoe and a cultural icon.