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National Museum of Australia

Collection Explorer



  • Graeme Rex and Jane Avril Niehus collection no. 1(4)

    Large metal lamp with a glass front and the interior painted in reflective silver
    PS 'Enterprise' built in Echuca, Victoria, in 1878
    Hand-drawn chart of the Darling River
    Ships wheel from P S 'Enterprise'
  • Josef Lebovic Gallery collection no. 1(7553)

    Macquarie Street from Sydney Harbour showing the Conservatorium of Music, Sydney, NSW
    A baby
    Postcard with photograph captioned Haymaking
    Australia, GPO Sydney
  • Aboriginal Arts Board collection no. 2(561)

    Painting depicting modjarki, freshwater crocodile, by Dick Nguleingulei Murrumurru
    Bark painting 'Head of Animal (Kangaroo)' by Yuwunyuwun Marruwarr, Gunbalanya, 1974
    Ceramic glazed vessel tapering to a long narrow neck with a pouring lip and a handle
    'Travels of Mala the Hare Wallaby', painted by Timmy Tjugudai Tjungurrayi, 1981
  • Ben Chifley collection no. 3(53)

    Bereavement card, newspaper clippings and four telegrams
    List of donations for 1957 to 1959.
    United Hospital Auxiliaries of N.S.W.
    Six letters to Mrs Chifley

    The objects in the Ben Chifley Collection refer to the lives of Ben and Elizabeth Chifley, primarily from the Chifleys' days as Prime Minister and Prime Minister's wife, but stretching beyond Ben's death in 1951 until Elizabeth's death in 1962. Significant objects include a letter of condolence to Elizabeth Chifley from Elsie Curtin (former PM John Curtin's wife) on the death of Ben Chifley (above), photos of Chifley as a young boy and a bible on which Chifley was sworn in as minister in the short-lived Scullin government of 1931.

    Joseph Benedict Chifley was Australia's sixteenth Prime Minister, leading the Australian government between 1945 and 1949. This period was one of particular importance in Australian history, being the time during which many of the contours of post-War Australian social and economic development were established. Chifley also articulated the values of the reforming Labor Party in his "Light on the Hill" speech of 1949. However, the election of December that year saw the beginning of a drastic re-alignment of political allegiances in voting behaviour, leading to over twenty years of conservative dominance in Australian politics. An understanding of Ben Chifley, in both his private and public guises, illustrates much about this crucial era in post-War Australian history.

  • Timothy Millett collection(314)

    Convict love token from R.S.
    Convict love token from Edward Kershaw, 1834
    Convict love token from Henry Teague, 1845
    Convict love token from 1829

    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)

    School report
    Page one of Jim Maple Brown's speech at his wedding
    Wrapping paper
    Coloured postcard depicting the North British Station Hotel, Edinburgh

    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.

  • Canning Stock Route collection(124)

    'Lake Disappointment' by Yanjimi Peter Rowlands, 2008
    'Cattle at Durba Springs' by Mervyn Street, 2007
    'Nyaru' by Charlie Wallabi, 2007
    'Parta' by Veronica Lulu, 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..

  • Sir Roland Wilson collection no. 2(17)

    A toy wagon constructed from a Vehicle Construction Kit
    Two wheeled trolley constructed from a Vehicle Construction Kit
    A toy car constructed from a Vehicle Construction Kit
    Tricycle constructed from a Vehicle Construction Kit

    The Roland Wilson Collection represents Wilson's private hobbies rather than his long and successful position as Secretary to the Treasury. The collection includes a Vehicle Construction Kit which Wilson developed in the early 1950s, notes and photographs related to the kit, a range of drawing instruments, and a homemade radiogram and wooden cabinet that were constructed in the late 1940s. The key object within the collection is the Vehicle Construction Kit which was patented in the United States in 1956. The kit was one of Wilson's many inventions, and when assembled would form several wheeled vehicles for children. Most of these vehicles were modelled upon adult objects of industry or modes of transportation, and were possibly designed to familiarise children with adult skills and chores. The Roland Wilson Collection represents the creative spirit in Australia, and also reveals the private hobbies of a public Australian individual.